Our occupational therapist showed up yesterday morning with a box of pudding. I'm not a huge fan of pudding myself, so I'm pretty sure my children have never made pudding before. They might have been served some at school or at my parent's house. Perhaps they've tried some at a buffet. We've never had any here at home though.
Our goals for the day were to work on feeding (she came at breakfast time) and to continue to work on sensory exploration. While I made breakfast (eggs, sausage, and dry cheerios) the OT made vanilla pudding with the children. The children enjoyed tasting the dry mix, measuring and pouring in the milk, and stirring the pudding. Then we let the pudding set while we ate breakfast.
Ava likes dry cheerios, tolerates a little egg, and traditionally won't touch sausage. That was exactly the mix that the OT requested. First we got Ava to touch the sausage in exchange for some extra cheerios. Then we persuaded her to kiss a piece of sausage in exchange for more cheerios. Finally, we did manage to get her to lick it in exchange for some cheerios. She did not eat any. However, a month ago, I couldn't even get her to touch something she refused to eat so getting her to lick something is significant progress.
After breakfast, our OT wanted the children to fingerpaint with the vanilla pudding on construction paper. We got all set up. Everyone chose their favorite color construction paper (orange for Michael and pink for Ava). Then the OT put a dollop of pudding on each piece of construction paper. Both kids took one look and absolutely refused to touch it.
The OT modeled making a sun on her piece of paper. The kids were still not tempted. She used some cheerios to give her sun a smiley face. Still no takers on the activity. She offered them a paper towel to help keep their hands clean. Nope. Then I remembered a comment from one of my readers about how her son would only play with shaving cream if there was a bowl of water nearby (Thanks Gentle Blue!). I went and got two bowls of water and finally we were able to get started. Michael went first and Ava started tentatively with one finger. We made dots and lines. We tried unsuccessfully to get handprints. Ava washed her finger off in that bowl of water after every single dot or line.
I got Ava to play a game where I would draw something with the pudding and then she'd "erase" it with her finger. She always enjoys that game. I tried to continue the playful atmosphere by dabbing some pudding on the back of her hand. It was a big mistake. She had a meltdown. We had to clean her hands off instantly and she refused to participate or even stay at the table after that. I felt terrible. Instead of the experience ending on a slightly positive or neutral note, I pushed her too far and it ended really negatively. Lesson learned I suppose.
It is fascinating to see the variety of rather common household substances (shaving cream, cornstarch and water, instant pudding) that the OT is using in therapy. It's been good. I've been very pleased with how things are going so far.