Tag Archives: food

Can You See Me? I’m Here In The Darkness. (Part 1)

22 Feb

I had the AMAZING opportunity to eat dinner last night at the Blind Café. Dinner and music in the complete darkness.

“Hold on to the shoulder of the person standing in front of you. Okay. Everyone ready to experience the Blind Café?” The woman at the front of the line leading us into the darkness has an advantage. An advantage that normally, in the sighted world she lives in, is a disadvantage. The woman in the black dress, holding a long white cane…is blind.

I quickly introduce myself to the woman in front of me and hold tightly to her slim shoulder.

The line begins to move. I walk behind a heavy white curtain and am immediately plunged into pitch blackness. As I took my first blind steps into the café my heart started pounding in my chest. I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t know where I was going. I simply had to trust the woman in front of me and hope that I didn’t walk into anything or fall over.

“Watch your head!” the woman in front of me suddenly shouts.

“What? Where?” I am ducking my head and swerving to avoid an unseen attacker.

“Left? Right? Where is it? What am I watching out for?”

No details are given. Those were the beginning moments that made me acutely aware of the importance of descriptive details when speaking to Oli about her surroundings.

We all follow in line until we reach our table. Our blind waiter begins to help each of us find our seat. We were told that our food would already be waiting for us on the table. I cautiously sit down and move my hands across the table.

What am I touching?

I have no idea.

There’s some squishy stuff to my left at 10 o’clock. There is a bowl of little balls and a short, fat, cone shaped object beneath the squishy stuff. The plate in front of me has a large, papery thing on it with a stick poking out of its center. Above that is more wet squishy stuff on little flat circles. Someone at my table said that there was bread in the middle of the table. I slowly reach my hand out and above my plate. I find more little balls. I move to the right. What is this? It’s slimy and wet. Now my fingers are dripping with a slimy oily substance. Where is my napkin? Did they give us napkins? Do we have utensils?

I search to the right of my plate and thankfully find my napkin. I also find a plastic fork. I contemplate using my fork to try and stab at some of my food and then quickly realize how pointless that seems. It will be way more efficient to use my fingers. Beside how will I know what I am eating unless I actually pick it up with my fingers? I find the bowl of little balls again and search for the cone shaped thing. I find it and decide to pick it up and smell it. My senses should be enhanced right? Since my vision is gone. Wrong. Total myth! I can’t smell it at all. It smells like something, but I have no idea what? It smells like my fingers and whatever that slimy stuff was.

After touching everything on my plate and probably everything on my neighbor’s plate too, I couldn’t tell where my food stopped and hers started, I decided to taste something. I find the squishy stuff on the flat circles and pick one up. I identified the circles to be crackers. I could feel the salt and circles. I raise it to my lips and take an apprehensive bite. Olives! Aaaccckkkk!! I HATE olives. The squishy stuff was some kind of spread. I don’t know what else was in it, but I could taste olives. I put the cracker down. Do I have a drink somewhere around here to wash the nasty olive taste from my mouth? I feel my way a little farther to my left, past my plate. I find a water bottle. Of course, I didn’t know it was water until I took a sip.

Moving on.

I’m really getting brave with my hands now. I find the bowl of balls again. I pick one up and pop it in my mouth. A grape. Yay! Win!

I pick up another ball. I think it’s another grape. Wrong. Olive! What-Is-With-The-OLIVES!! Tricky, sneaky, blind café.

FYI. An olive feels like a grape.

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You Want To Put WHAT In My Mouth?

13 Feb

“Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.”

― Khaled Hosseini

One of the most difficult things I ever had to teach Oli was how to eat solid food.

Seems like a pretty simple thing doesn’t it?

Just open up the little jar of green, orange, or tan puree. Get the spoon ready. The baby, at this point, is watching in anticipation because they probably know what is happening. They get that look of excitement on their face like, “Really? It’s my turn?”

Usually by the time the baby is old enough for solid food they have been watching big people eat for a few months and know what to do.

See food.

See spoon.

See mommy scoop up food.

See the spoon coming towards mouth.

Greedily open mouth as wide as possible.

Get food in mouth and then immediately insert fist in mouth too.

Because really, what goes better with baby food than baby fist?

At least this was my experience with my son.

I’m sure you spotted a few obstacles that I encountered when I attempted this technique with Oli.

I got the baby food jar out and the little rubber spoon and set them on her tray. I opened the jar and had the camera ready to snap the classic baby expression that comes with the first bite of real food. I scooped up the green mush, brought it toward her face and…nothing.

My face fell when I immediately recognized my mistake.

I put the food up to her lips and watched as she clamped her mouth shut when she realized that I was trying to put something in there.

“It’s food Oli. Food like mommy and daddy eat.” I gently try to coax her into opening her mouth.

Nothing.

My baby had absolutely no frame of reference for the word “food”. She’d never seen people eat, had no idea that this was something people do, and had no clue that she was supposed to open her mouth and chew when I spoke the words “food” or “eat”.

When Seth came home that night I greeted him at the door with a bewildered look on my face.

“She doesn’t understand what food is. She doesn’t know that she’s supposed to eat. All she knows is the bottle and milk. The spoon and baby food feel nothing like these. How do we teach her to eat?”

Seth just shrugged his shoulders and gave me the reassured look that only a father who has no idea of what to do, but is confident he can work it out, can give.

“We just do. We have to show her.”

Over the next week I tried to do just that. I tried to show her that I ate food and did not drink from a bottle. I would take her little hand and raise it to my face as I ate. I let her feel the fork or spoon layered with food as I raised it to my mouth, feel the motion of my jaw as I opened and closed my mouth and then chewed.

Then I would sit her back in her highchair and attempt to feed her again.

“Come on Oli. Open your mouth just like mommy does.”

Nothing.

Eventually I was able to squeeze past her tightly closed lips and get a small amount on her tongue. She immediately tried to spit it out and stuck out her tongue. I quickly jumped at this opportunity and put a spoonful on her tongue. Unable to spit out the entire glob she was forced to close her mouth and got a chance to taste it. She realized that it tasted pretty good, but then she thought that that was the way she was supposed to eat. Every time I fed her she would stick out her tongue and expect me to put food on it. This technique soon became frustrating for her because she never got much into her mouth and most of it ended up falling off and onto her tray.

I was frustrated and again met Seth at the door after work. This time with an exasperated expression.

“I don’t know what else to do. This is not working and I’m out of ideas. Tomorrow, it’s your turn to try.”

“Ok.” He answers with that confident look on his face again. But this time rather than finding it comforting or endearing I just fine it annoying.

I’m thinking, “You think it’s going to be so easy and I’m going to laugh when you figure out that it’s more difficult than you realize.”

The next night I get everything ready for Seth’s feeding attempt and get the “I told you so” look on my face.

He sits across from Oli and then does something completely unexpected. He takes her face in his hand and gently pry’s her mouth open and puts the spoon inside.

“Open your mouth Oli.” He says as he gently taps the spoon against her lips and then opens her mouth for her.

At first the food comes right back out being thrust onto the tray by her tongue, but after a few more attempts she starts to open her mouth on her own. Soon afterwards all we had to do was ask her to open her mouth and touch her lips.

Apparently his interpretation and my interpretation of “We have to show her” were completely different.

Thanks to Seth’s straight forward attempt to show her, my girl learned how to eat.

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