Like many other kids on the autistic spectrum, Ben had various and sundry food issues. For probably 3 or 4 years, he’d eat nothing but his White Food Diet. This included AND was limited to: saltine crackers, graham crackers and oatmeal.
Ben was the only kid I knew who had to be forced to try a Chicken McNugget or a slice of pizza, and while you’d probably say to me, “Aunt Becky, why didn’t you try to make him eat something more healthy?” I’d tell you, Gentle Reader, that I’d already tried in vain. That kid food, Gentle Reader, was my best bet for getting him to realize that stuff outside of his diet was a-okay and wouldn’t cause him to explode (or whatever he thought would happen).
Food Issues just became a normal everyday part of my life and we learned to deal with it. Sure, it was (and still is) frustrating, but what can you do? Ben is loads better now than he once was.
Ben says, “Stop, in the name of FOOD.”
Alex was born when Ben was five and by then, many of his eccentricities had been worked out and turned into mere quirks (thank you Occupational Therapy!). Unlike his brother, I have a distinct feeling that Alex would have happily crawled from the womb and found his way up to the boob to eat, had I not been so easily able to expel him through my magnificent pushing prowess.
Alex + Food = True Love
Like clockwork, right about 4 months of age, Alex began to take a decided interest in table food, and the first time I put a spoon with my low-cal, super-fake-sugary yogurt and dipped it into his mouth, he was enraptured (I know. By YOGURT. Ew). I quickly dashed to the store and bought him some full fat, no fake-sugar yogurt, which he devoured by the 6-pack.
(also, could Alex and Amelia look any more alike?)
I had grandiose ideas of having dinners that didn’t taste like cardboard! Dinners that had VARIETY! Dinners that I might be excited to eat! Dinner time, thanks to some peer pressure, might actually cease to be a nightly battle!
Did someone say BACON?
Not so, little grasshopper, not bloody so.
What I hadn’t taken into consideration when I happily pulled my cookbooks from their dusty shelves, is that Alex is the most willful person you have ever met. So the minute the Terrible One’s (now followed by the Terrible Two’s) reared it’s ugly head, food was a battle once again.
Without the sensory issues, but with the iron clad will of a thousand tons of platinum, Alex will simply refuse to eat. He can be presented with the most succulent, delicious morsel of filet, and if he is a particularly obstinate mood (which happens to be 99.9% of the time), he will throw it angrily to the dogs. Or at my head. It’s a battle of the wills with Alex.
Simply put: I’ve given (mostly) up. Not because I really want to admit that I’ve been broken by a two year old whom I outweigh by over 100 pounds, but because I’m just too tired to care. You don’t want to eat? Don’t eat then.
Dinners are once again made of cardboard, the cookbooks gather mold and moss, and I just sigh melodramatically whenever I imagine the foods that other kids will eat. With Alex, it’s not a sensory thing, it’s a control thing and I’ve heard somewhere this is common with toddlers.
So, I say, fuck it. I’m tired of trying to sneak broccoli into mac and cheese only to have one of them notice and refuse it. I appreciate that Jessica What’s-Her-Face wrote a cookbook that suggests great ways to get kids to eat their veggies, I say great. Good for her. My kids? Will notice.
Perhaps this is my comeuppance for dressing the kid like a hot dog.
Someday, they will broaden their horizons and until then? They can eat like freaks. I’ll fill in their nutritional gaps as best as I can with Carnation Instant Breakfast and vitamins.
Alex and an edamame regarded each other for a time in silence. ‘Who are you?’ Asked Alex. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.