Over the past 16 months, I have spent time with a lot of families. Most of the time we chat on the phone for a few minutes, we discuss meals, posture, and I get to hear stories about amazing little kids. Some days I get to drive across town and spend a few minutes with a family in their home. These are my favorite days! When I arrived on this particular day, in the middle of a blazing hot summer afternoon, these two little boys were out on the sidewalk coloring with chalk. When I got out of the car, they greeted me like I was a friend they hadn't seen in forever--I was quickly caught up on the events of the day and informed about the hail storm that had just passed through the night before. I was able to share a few minutes with them, talking with their Mom about feeding, about what life is like when we struggle at the dinner table, and I helped make sure both of their chairs were adjusted. I know the chairs we provide aren't the answer to all of the problems--it takes a team of parents, kids, and professionals and a chair that supports their goals--all working together.
We received this email from Mom recently and I wanted to share it. I love receiving emails like this one! It absolutely makes my day!
"Today, I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old who are both improving steadily in their ability to sit at the table and eat a meal. Six months ago, I had two sons who were struggling to eat a healthy meal or try anything new. They both preferred to eat food that comes from boxes and bags while sitting on the couch watching shows. As a parent who values nutrition for their bodies and for their minds, I was deeply discouraged by this TV dinner (and breakfast, snack and lunch). Every time we tried the healthy home-cooked dinner at the table together, any number of us left the table in tears, plates still full of cold food.
I didn't attribute these challenges to needing therapy feeding support. But when my younger son began receiving speech therapy, we soon realized that his delay in talking and his challenges eating are related. Our therapist helped us learn about the steps to eating and all kinds of tricks of the trade that help kids feel more comfortable with food. Still, he seemed very uncomfortable at the table, wiggly, putting his feet and hands all over the table and chair, eager to get down to go play. The therapist recommended that we look at getting a more supportive chair. The price seemed unreasonable as we were already dealing with so many other costs, but she recommended contacting Charlotte's Day.
From the first email with Austin at Charlotte's Day, I felt understood, supported, and cared about. I was reminded that we aren't the only family with these struggles. Charlotte's Day had a chair on hand that Austin thought would be a good fit, and he even took the time to deliver it to us, set the chair and foot support to the correct height for our little guy, and encourage us with ways to help our son settle into eating at the table. It was such an encouraging experience from start to end!
We bought a slightly used Keekaroo Height Right chair for our older son. The first evening that they both sat in their Keekaroos, I told my husband I hadn't realized we had been sharing meals with air dancers (those waving inflatable guys at car dealerships). I could not believe how still and peaceful and pleasant our dinner table had become! Our boys just needed a safe, sturdy, supportive seat before they were comfortable enough to focus on their food.
As advertised by Charlotte's Day, the Keekaroo has NOT fixed all of the eating challenges we come up against. But it does feel like the foundation that all our other therapy efforts stand upon. They sit now at the table for most meals and take steps toward eating. Whether scoping food to serve themselves, playing with food to make it more fun, shocking us by gobbling up a non-preferred food, or saying, "This food doesn't work for my body today," we are all having more fun and nutritive eating at the table - together. I can't remember the last time one of the boys fell out of his seat or someone left the table crying. Our family breakfasts are one of my favorite times of the day, thanks to Charlotte's Day."