Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Princess and the Pea

For those of you who don't know our sweet Sophie all that well, amongst all of the other weirdo eating-related issues that she has associated with her reflux, she is a bit of "princess" when it comes to taste.

Since she was an infant, she has been able to detect the teeniest change in her food. Seriously. We're talking - if I add just 1 Tsp of whole milk to her formula (to try to ease the transition), the instant it hits her lips, she's making a frumpled face that clearly means "It's YUCKY, Mama!"

So, this morning when I was making her formula (it's this elaborate cocktail of things to help her get the right amount of carbs, protein, fat, etc.), I realized "Oh, crikies. We're out of vanilla Pediasure." (This wouldn't be a problem for a normal kid. You'd just plunk down a glass of milk and a peanut-butter sandwich and BAM. Crisis averted.) But Sophie is not a "normal" kid. And since she lives off of formula, having her whip out "Eeeew" and clench her jaw closed and refuse to eat is a bit of a problem.

I immediately went into "sneaky" mode. Tip-toeing out into the garage to scan the back-up pantry for something similar enough to vanilla Pediasure to fool the most discerning palette. Ah, ha! Vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast. Presto! So I made her formula the normal way, and then I added one packet of CIB to the 34 ounces of "cocktail" to give it that slightly vanilla flavor that the Pediasure has. (One packet of CIB is basically like adding half a teaspoon of vanilla powder to a big glass of milk - in that much liquid, one packet should blend right in). Should. And it would have. With a normal child. Then I blended the dog out of it, so it was nice and silky smooth. Man, it was smooth! Because texture is another big issue. If so much as a grain of anything touches the back of her throat, it's all over. She starts gagging like a cat with a furball, and yep, it's rocket launch time.

I was pretty proud of the end result. I mean, I know we're not talking gourmet cooking here, but the Art of Formula Deception is kind of a tricky thing. I even tasted it (being a bit of a princess myself) and, to me, it was a spot-on match. It was actually pretty tasty. YES! So, I sat down to syringe Sophie in her highchair. She looked over the edge of the tray at the formula sitting there and said, "What is that?" (Are you kidding me? She's has had the exact same thing for the entire three years of her life, so I was confused.) "It's your milk, Sophie." "But it looks funny, Mama. Is it medicine?" (Okay. I kid you not. It was the exact same as it has always looked - same color, same bowl, same everything.) So, I thought, we're pressing forward...

I squirted in 5 ml, and immediately she looked at me like I'd given her rat poison. "What is that, Mama??" So, again, I told her it was her milk - slightly different, but still just as good. Mmm. Nice and vanilla-y. She said (and I quote): "Mama, slightly different is not just as good."

Oh, really?

So then I whipped out Mean Mommy. "That's too bad, Sophie. It's time to drink your milk." (When she wasn't looking, I eased the barf bucket over a little closer to me. Just in case.)


Poor Princess Sophie. Finding a pea in your milk is just the wrong way to start your day.

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