Here are a few crumbs of the last two days of tube weaning…

We made popcorn on the stove and added loads of butter, salt, and food coloring to create pink pixie popcorn. Francesca loved listening for the little pop, pop, pop of the kernels. It was delicious and I have now eaten enough to have a stomach ache two days in a row. Amazingly, Francesca was curious and hungry enough to try it too. She ate 10-12 pieces yesterday and 6-10 pieces today while we watched Scooby Doo.

Slowly, we have removed many of Francesca’s toys, stashed them away for another day, and replaced them with edible projects. We have gingerbread houses (both large and miniature), gingerbread cookies in many different shapes, gum drops, bug shaped graham cracker cookies, miniature pink yogurt covered pretzels, gobs of frosting, gummy bears, dried fruit, and an array of food-jewelry in the family room. There is a bowl of cereal in her crib.

Francesca redecorated the house last night, smearing chocolate frosting all over the walls in several rooms. When we walk through the kitchen, dining room, or entry, our feet stick to the layers of fruit juice, peaches, maple syrup, and pears covering every surface. Pouring from container to container is no longer just a bath time activity, but an all day long activity. To keep up, we run the dishwasher two to three times a day.

All of Francesca’s food is served on princess-style tea dishes. Fortunately they are plastic, as she has recently begun to “clear the table” as soon as the food is ready. She removes the dishes one at a time, in silent protest, taking them to the garbage, dumping the contents, and delivering the dish to the sink. For her, it seems therapeutic and for us, discouraging.

In an attempt to add a few more calories, we added flavorless maltodextrin to her water, but found that it is only mostly flavorless. To a discernible palette, like Francesca’s, it is not only detectable, but also unacceptable. So, it will not be a successful method of decreasing her potential weight loss during these challenging days.

We bake something new every day…cinnamon rolls, cookies, loaves of french bread, banana bread. Francesca has tried many things with baked goods: smelling, disregarding, throwing, smashing, soaking, crumbling, ignoring, decorating, touching, disposing. We patiently await the moment when she will decide to try eating them (and we dare to hope she will get to the point where she cannot stop eating them, like her father).

The primary focus of each day is to make food available and interesting to Francesca. Beyond that, we do not ask, encourage, bribe, suggest, redirect, or recognize. The process is completely child-centered with free reign for her to explore (or ignore) her hunger pains and the properties of food. At the end of the sixth day of tube weaning, Francesca is a little lighter, our floors a little stickier, our eyelids a little heavier, and our hearts a little more hopeful.