Mei swallowed a capsule! I didn’t video the first couple of tries that Saturday night. The ones where she choked, gagged and spat. I was too busy encouraging her to try and try again. Brave girl that she is, Mei tried her hardest. Just as I was about to call it a night, Mei suddenly had this surprised look on her face and yelled “I did it! I swallowed it!” You can just imagine the victory dance we did!
Little sister Min Min ran into the kitchen wondering what the commotion was about. She got caught up in the excitement and wanted to try it too. Big sister Mei decided she was an expert by now and declared that SHE would teach Min Min how it was done. I must confess, I wasn’t sure if Mei could do it again. Perhaps it was a fluke. But I decided to video it this time round. She confidently took the zinc capsule and swallowed it effortlessly. You could probably hear my gasp of astonishment. I had to put my iPhone down before I started jumping up and down. Min Min was so inspired by her big sister that she swallowed a capsule on her very first try! Happy jig, fist pumps and high fives all around! And who said my Saturday nights were boring?
We did the pill swallowing program a few times in the past 2 years. But Mei never went past the swallowing of sago balls, which are smaller than the size of a black peppercorn. Whenever we tried it with a real capsule, although tiny, she just wasn’t able to. I figured, physiologically she was too young for it. Though I’ve heard those legendary stories of 3 year olds who swallowed capsules like a champ. I would give it a few months break before I tried again.
Earlier this year, when we gave it another try, Mei confessed “I’m scared to swallow a capsule Mummy.” When I asked why, she replied softly “Because I don’t want to eat plastic.” So I explained what capsules are made of (I think I got it right), showed her the ingredients on the label and that it was safe to eat.
On Saturday night, I decided to try it with a normal sized capsule instead. She’s nearly 7 after all. This time, Mei confessed “I’m afraid to swallow the capsule because it will make me choke.” I gently explained that a capsule is designed to slide smoothly down our throat. We spent some time touching and feeling the shape and texture of the capsule. I think it helped to alleviate her fears. All this while, I thought her inability to swallow capsules was purely because of non-compliance. Turns out, she had many fears. I wasn’t sensitive enough to realise that little kids can get scared of choking and eating ‘plastic’.
Previously, Mei was unable to articulate her fears. Now, she is very expressive, much more than a typical child her age. It was far too easy for me to underestimate my children because they had autism, just because they didn’t seem to hear or understand. I was too quick to assume she had no real deep feelings, fears or worries. Progress comes every single day, even 2 years after recovery. Even for us mums.
On Sunday morning, I decided to try out tablets. Grapefruit seed extract tablets down the hatch, woot!! And if you’ve ever tried liquid GSE, you can understand what a godsend GSE tablets are. As Mei said “GSE burns! Yuck, ack, bleurgh!!” On Sunday evening, both Mei and Min Min swallowed a HUGE fish oil gelcap. It wasn’t a fluke after all!
As my friend and fellow Thinking Mom LuvBug said, it’s a huge game changer. Imagine, no more opening up nasty tasting capsules, crushing tablets and giant syringes. What luxury!