Part of being a mother is learning to feed your children. Pregnant, we “eat for two”, avoid alcohol, make sure to get in all the vitamins and the green leafies. Nursing, we suddenly realize that breasts have a completely different purpose than the one we’ve been used to as fetching young teens, and the first few weeks are a comedy of errors and false starts as we deal with a hungry baby and very sore nipples. And then the semi-solids and solids and finger food and letting them make a mess and then teaching them to make cookies and do the dishes and set the table and right on up the scale till those little infants are serving a four course meal with grace and elan.
At each stage, we start out inept, clumsy and a bit feckless and end up experts, authorities, the last word. When our kids want recipes, it’s us they turn to first.
Most of us don’t figure on tube feeding in this scheme of things and praise the Good Lord for that. But for those of us who do, praise the Good Lord again, because tube feeding is miraculous, the sweet little technological answer to a host of nutritional nightmares which must have driven earlier generations of parents to despair.
Moy Moy has had a tube in now for nearly five years and initially, we were completely baffled by it. Everytime we opened it to pour the food down, she would spurt the contents of her tummy into our faces. If she coughed, it was projectile. Sometimes we would pour and nothing would move – the food would just sit there in the funnel. I would be in tears at times trying to work it out.
But now it’s hard to even remember those days, so casual and expert we have become. I realized just how expert today when her new tube arrived by courier (we have to change it every six months) and I decided to do it myself.
Sebastian would have been happy to come, but he has just returned from Holland and we have a million other things piled up for him to attend to. Besides, I can do it myself.
And so I did. Sterile technique and all. Withdraw the little balloon full of water that keeps the tube inside her tummy (you attach an empty syringe to the blue thingy at the top and suction it out), pull the tube out (this part takes firm courage), and then insert the new one and put the water in using the same procedure in reverse. It’s an amazing little contraption and I just feel so grateful to have it.
And not to brag, but I feel proud of the endless capacity we all have to adjust to new realities and to learn new skills. Because every mother wants to feed her child. We’ll do anything to accomplish it.