It’s been an almost immeasurably long time since Namine had last had an apple. It’s not that she doesn’t like them; far from it, she loves apples. But she couldn’t eat them, for fear of choking. The skin, especially, posed a problem. But before Namine’s cleft palate was repaired, she could not eat very much. A few bites, maybe, and the rest of the meal would be made up for by a g-tube feed.

Mealtime with Namine, before her palate was fixed, was always a dangerous and nerve-racking time. If Namine managed to eat three or four bites without choking or coughing, we’d consider her lucky. Problem being, of course, that she wanted to eat. She loved to eat. She just couldn’t. Fruit with skin, like apples, had to be skinned before given to her. Even skin on grapes posed a danger. We always cut up her food into tiny little chunks, to accomodate Namine’s small mouth.

But food always managed to make its way up into Namine’s palate. Once that happened, she would choke and cough, and nine times out of ten, she’d throw up. But with liquids, Namine did better. Then one of her therapists gave us a small mesh bag, about the size of a ring pop, in which we could put food. The idea was that Namine could chew on the food, getting the juices and be able to swallow them, without having to worry about getting chunks stuck in her palate.

Obviously, Namine is eating much better now. Not only does she not depend on her g-tube anymore, but she’s due for having it removed soon; probably in the spring. She can eat apples now without needing them peeled (we cut them up, sure, she is only two), and has no trouble whatsoever.

Mealtime is many things to many people. For some, it is merely a means to nutrition. For others, it is more so. For my own part, it is also a chance to sit down with my loved ones, to catch up on their day and spend time with them. But we forget, eating itself is not a right. It is a privilege. There are those who have not been blessed with the ability to eat on their own. Namine can eat on her own now, and we are thankful for that. But we would do well not to forget, and certainly not to take what she can do now for granted.

Also, I uploaded another video. Yes, another. Deal with it. Namine rolled over for the first time the other night, and I got the second time on video. She refused to do it again once Jessica was watching.

Yeah, yeah, you say. Rolling over is no big deal. Well sure, to you it’s not. But Namine’s caudal regression has prevented her from being able to roll over, and her next-to-useless hips have not aided her in this regard. Remember, both hips are dislocated, her left knee bends very little (it used to bend not at all), and so Namine needs to use her arms and trunk to create enough momentum to roll herself over. The fact that she can now do it is nothing short of momentous.


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