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.

talk-to-the-hand

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.

yogurt-rules

(also, could Alex and Amelia look any more alike?)

I.was.thrilled.

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!

alex

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.

alex-as-a-hot-dog

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-regards-an-edemame

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.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

49 Responses to The Thrills I Once Found On Blueberry Hill Have Left The Building

  • Lu says:

    I feel your pain. My 2 year old is the exact.same.way. Maddening! I am at the white flag phase also. So sick of having hotdogs hurled at my head. Fine, ive on bananas and chicken nuggets. I can’t deal anymore. He must be getting enough somehow, he is the size of a 3 to 4 year old. Good luck.

  • Badass Geek says:

    I want a hot dog suit.

  • Kristina says:

    He is unequivocally paying you back for the weiner suit. And for posting pictures of it on the internet.

  • Anjali says:

    It drives me crazy when I KNOW they will like something but they refuse to try it. UGH!

  • tina says:

    Ah yes. I have a 2 year old who refuses to eat anything but smoothies. I blame teeth.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have a 9 year old that won’t eat anything that may be considered kid food, a 21 month old that won’t eat the same food more than once a week and a 5 month old that won’t eat anything solid and still wants a bottle every hour and a half. They wonder why I *forget* to feed them until their so hungry they’ll finish anything put in front of them.

  • Mwa says:

    That’s the funniest baby suit ever!

  • Kat says:

    I have all but given up with my 5 year old. She just does not like veggies at all. It really is a shame. Oh well.

  • jenni says:

    My son is one of the few I know with ASD who will eat ANYTHING. I am actually blessed, my kids love everything from pizza to Moroccan food. BUt there are other battle issues that I have said fuck it on. For 3 years Noah insisted on wearing his clothes backward and shoes on the wrong feet. We couldnt go to Walmart without someone pointing it out. “Umm miss your kid’s clothes are on backward.” Really? NO shit? I never look at my kids before we leave the house. Sheesh.

  • andy says:

    I hear ya! Liam is the same…except he had sensory issues AND stubborness. Hilary and I used to joke that we would have to get him in a full Nelson just to get something into his mouth!

  • GingerB says:

    I think they absorb calories through osmosis, or some super secret process not discernible by parents. I hear some toddlers exists on three noodles and a kiss a day.

    You know how amoxicillin is absorbed through the chin?

    And calories fall out of shared cookies?

    Same thing.

  • Ms. Moon says:

    I always just cooked what I wanted to eat and if the kids didn’t like it- fine. They could eat some yogurt and peanut butter or whatever their diet consisted of that week. Eventually, bored with that, they decided to try what the grown-ups were eating.
    And they mostly liked it.

  • a says:

    My daughter has several food groups: peanut butter, lunch meat, granola bars/pop-tarts, fruit, cheese, and the all-time favorite…whatever mom is eating. Yeah, I want some of that, because I can tell she doesn’t want to share! Actually, control freak that she is, I’m suprised she eats as well as she does. I can’t complain about her eating habits. She does eat every 2 hours though. That’s a little weird for almost 3.

  • lady lemon says:

    That hotdog baby was the cutest thing I have ever seen! Tell me you kept it for Amelia??

  • Suzy says:

    Oh honey, I feel your pain. I have a TWELVE-year-old who still only eats a minimal number of things. One time he gagged on a SINGLE piece of corn. So, he gets lots of vitamins (in non-food form). But of course my six-year-old likes and actually REQUESTS plain lettuce, raw broccoli, carrots, celery, strawberries, grapes, etc. Go figure.

    The hot dog outfit is priceless!!

  • swirl girl says:

    I am sad to say – I don’t feel your pain on this one. Nor would I try to make any suggestions about healthy diets or any of that crap.

    Do what you can – they will eat when they are hungry. And if they live on gummy bears and Capri Sun…so be it.

  • I am not and never will be the type to chase a kid around the table with a spoonful of something. It is like asking to engage in a game that you are predestined to lose. Kids taste waxes and wanes over the years and I try to go with the flow. When it comes to choosing a battle, this one ain’t it for me.

  • Betts says:

    I have a kid who will eat almost anything and enjoys trying new things. “Mom, when can we have octopus?” I’d like to say I’m skilled, but since I have no idea what I did, I’ll have to say I was lucky. I don’t agree with sneaking in healthy foods. What good is it if they don’t know what they’re eating. If you sneak broccolli in their brownies, they’re not going to suddenly sit down and tuck into a big bowl of the stuff and say, “yum!” I know a few parents that have had luck with the reward system for trying new foods. But I’ll bet they’ll grow out of it eventually.

  • Jenn says:

    As usual, Ben reminds me of Riley (the only things he ate for almost an entire year were bananas, applesauce, bread, and cheese… barely anything else) and Alex reminds me of Aislyn (she will like something one day and then two days later act like I’m serving her dog shit). Kids are awesome. :)

  • Hope says:

    You never hear about kids that come from large families being picky eaters and at this point, your brood is starting to resemble a large family. Here’s what someone once told me about feeding children: put the food you want them to eat on their plates. Then, don’t talk about it. Give them a reasonable period of time to eat it. When the time period is over, remove any food that’s left. Serve nothing else until the next meal.
    I know it sounds harsh, but with 1 kid or 2, you can be more flexible, with 3 it gets ridiculous! I think you know that your family has already crossed over to the ridiculous side.

  • Coco says:

    Oh, lover, let me regale you with the list of foods Bean will eat, because the list of MUST NOT TOUCH MY LIPS EVER foods is too long and depressing.

    Keep in mind, he reserves the right to eat a food on the Short List one day and refuse it another, and may enjoy a new food once in every five months when he tries one, but then refuse to eat it ever again, including an hour later and/or after he’s asked for it.

    crackers in most forms
    milk
    fries
    chips
    bread – must be thin sliced bread with fake buttery spray
    scrambled eggs
    pancakes, though mostly for the syrup
    deli ham
    chicken nuggets – rarely, if starving
    ice cream – vanilla only
    yogurt – cherry, strawberry or blueberry only and only two expensive brands will do
    muffins – rarely
    apples – sliced, rarely
    pasta with red sauce
    bacon
    rice – rarely

    Some days, I feel the stares of the parents whose children are chowing down on plates of veggies and curry and fish and even hot dogs and I want to scream “Fine! YOU figure out how else to get calories in him, damn you!”

    So here we all are. And our kids are growing okay. So the cookbooks and Martha Stweart and whatever her name is who wrote the cutesy kid cookbook can all suck it.

  • Coco says:

    Oh, and Hope? Children with sensory issues are not being “ridiculous”.

    Congratulations on having a perfect life and being a perfect parent. Sorry some of us aren’t as perfect as you.

  • My second son had food issues for years – we also thank the OT for getting us over many hurdles. Now at 7 he still will not eat certain things, especially if they are grainy – like grits, oatmeal, certain breads.

  • I’ve been dealing with the food thing since they each turned about 15 months old. My little picky eaters. My karma. Somedays I’m all “whatever. eat it or don’t” and somedays I am all “Damnit you will eat those 3 peas or we will sit here until hell freezes over! I have nothing better to do so get comfy!”

    Results are pretty much the same…one pea gets eaten & then there is much wailing & gnashing of teeth either by me (in option 1) or them (in option 2)

  • I think my 9-year-old is the only kid in America who doesn’t like fries or chips. That doesn’t mean that he will eat vegetables, I just think it’s weird that he doesn’t like those “kid” staples.

  • Fancy says:

    From what I understand that pediatricians say these days, you’re doing the right thing by not worrying about it too much. Kids will eat as much as they need to consume on a daily basis, and will almost never overeat unless forced to.

    Also, Coco, the response to the ridiculous comment = well played.

  • amelie says:

    Ahh, the white food diet… Even at 16 LittleRedRidingHood favors white food above all else. Plain pasta (even in Italy!!), potatoes, crackers, bah. She would actually eat quite a few veggies tho – but nothing with calories and no protein. At 3 she weighed only 23 pounds. We tried with pedi support the whole eat what is on your plate or go hungry that was suggested above. Apparently that doesn’t work with ASD – she just chose to go hungry and after 3 weeks was down 20% of her body weight. Pedi freaked -said to feed her McD’s every meal if she would eat it – trouble was she wouldn’t even eat that! Luckily you can grow on white foods and she is perfectly normal sized now. I wish I had skipped the worry and just cooked separate meals.

  • SciFi Dad says:

    We’ve been pretty lucky with both kids so far… they love meat AND cookies, preferably together.

  • Paula says:

    A friend who’s a dietitian gave me this book as a shower present: Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense (Paperback) by Ellyn Satter (http://www.amazon.com/Child-Mine-Feeding-Love-Sense/dp/0923521518). I can’t say I followed it religiously and my kid certainly has her picky issues (and is sort of Asperger-ish), but it gave me a lot of confidence in feeding my daughter (who’s 6 now). Satter’s premise is that you decide what and when they eat and they decide how much they eat. I haven’t seen it, but she’s got another book titled: How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much (Paperback) (http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Your-Kid-Eat/dp/0915950839/ref=reg_hu-wl_mrai-recs).

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. It looks like your kids are thriving.
    Paula

  • Tanya says:

    Now I… I have a child that won’t eat anything I cook for him… when it’s served at home. Send him leftovers for lunch the next day for lunch and he eats it.

    Well except today, today he tried putting the cabbage I sent in his lunch in his mouth and promptly gagged and spewed everything he’d already eaten… I’m sure the babysitter appreciated that.

  • Emily R says:

    i speak from experience when i tell you that kids’ eating habits are far, far beyond their parents’ control.

  • Kim says:

    I JUST adore the photo of Ben.

    xoxo

  • Meghan says:

    I my friend have resorted to Pediasure for Ryan to ensure that I don’t get wopped by a flying filet drenched in Ketchup…which is the only thing he will eat anything in/with/covered in….need I say more???

  • The Poose will eat anything, as long as it is vienna sausages with kechup, those Lightening McQueen gummy bites, french fries, Yoplait strawberry yogurt, and my homemade sweet tea. And then he’s like a lizard – eats his weight in food one day, then eats nothing for the next couple days, just drinks tea. He’s at 50% for weight and 45% for height (he comes from short people). I’m sure some day a vegetable will accidentally sneak into his mouth. Hell, he might even like it. His 8 year old half-brother & 13 year old half-sister are broccoli FREAKS. And not with cheese either.
    By the way, I lurve the hotdog suit. Where can I get one of those?

  • mumma boo says:

    I’ll make a deal with you – I’ll come over, whip up the cardboard meals for our collective spawn, and keep them entertained while you create fabulous meals from your cookbooks for us that we will enjoy with plenty of wine. Sound like a plan?

  • Coco says:

    I’m coming over with Mumma boo. I’ll bring the wine.

  • Kendra says:

    I’m so glad to hear from so many people (with and without kids with diagnoses) that have kids with food issues! My 5-year-old is completely on the normal spectrum, with just the normal kid problems–but food with unacceptable textures are a constant battle. Bananas are completely out of the question, and I gave up on them a long time ago. But he loves tomato soup (which he calls “apple soup” because of the color), so I made some squash soup (same thing, just a different color!) and insisted that he try just one bite. After a long battle, he finally took one bite–which he promptly vomited all over the kitchen. So I haven’t tried that again. But I feel like I see these kids who eat a whole variety of healthy foods, and my kid won’t even consider it! Faux-tay-toes? I’d be delighted if he’d eat anything resembling mashed potatoes! No jelly on his peanut butter sandwiches, no cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, applesauce, berries… (Sorry, I guess this one struck a nerve!)

    My 3-year-old is the most willful person I’ve ever actually met–more than my husband, even. (Wouldn’t he and Alex have a good time together?) And my 15-month-old just had her checkup, and we’re supposed to keep an eye on her portion sizes because she’s a little chunk (at 15 months? I thought we were still in the “glad she’s putting on weight” stages; it’s not like she’s living on Mountain Dew–no more than a couple of cans a day for her). So I’m ready to open the refrigerator and tell them they can all eat whatever they want; I’m ordering takeout.

  • kalakly says:

    Our food issue: 11 year old sneaks an orange up to his room for a late night snack and then in an attempt to hide the evidence of this egregious crime, proceeds to place the entire peel, in one piece, in the tidy bowl. Guess what? Turns out you can’t flush a whole orange peel, it gets stuck somewhere about half way down the pipe in the bowl and no contraption, man made or body part, including the arm of said 11 year old, can remove it.
    Moral of the story is, small candy is definately better for kids (and plumbing) than fruit.

  • Amy deClouet says:

    Oh my!!!! I love me some Alex pics!!! That child (like his siblings) is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!!!

  • heather says:

    My daughter was never picky as a baby/small child. She would try anything. It was so awesome. As she’s gotten older, she frequently changes her mind about what she will or will not eat. She used to like cheese on everything, then one day – cheese was not allowed on sandwiches or burgers, but ok in everything else. Now she’s back to liking it. She won’t eat tomatoes, but loves anything tomato based. She wouldn’t eat fish or shrimp for a year, now she wants it every day. I can never make ONE meal that everyone will eat, an I’m NOT a short order cook.

  • Angellee says:

    aunt becky your being badly bruised and beaten by the wind in your vagina. i tried to vote more than once using my work email but the internet is too smart!!!!! also it looks like cake wrecks and doooooce are back :( Why would you write about wind in your vagina… or why title it that. i am too afraid to read..

  • sky says:

    My two year old has forgotten how to feed herself. I keep repeating “this too shall pass”.

    Is it any wonder we drink?

  • Candid Engineer says:

    The bacon baby picture is completely adorable.

  • Lola says:

    I bought that stoopid book that made Jessica more filthy rich, and I’ve not made one damn recipe. My kid would spot anything not pasta in one second flat. That’s why god created vitamins!

    Anyone want to buy the stoopid book real cheap-like?

  • hilarious…love the hotdog costume. i’m always amazed at how my kids continue to grow because they…eat…nothing. they are like gd rabbits, nibbling, spitting out, licking, picking…drives me nuts. i think i’m mostly bitter because it’s made me increase my food intake (weight). i end up going after what they haven’t finished and they just stare at me like i’m a mutant (which i am) as i hoover in their mostly untouched leftovers.

    http://chroniclesofmomnia.blogspot.com

  • charmedgirl says:

    i don’t want to be an asshole, but here’s a coupla tricks that work for me:
    mashed/pureed cauliflower in mac and cheese…works best in homemade cheese sauce, but also works well in velveeta. vanilla yogurt and orange juice concentrate make good ice pops. barilla plus pasta tastes most like regular white pasta, and tastes better as leftovers than regular (not as mushy).

    and definitely, no question, if they don’t want to eat, FINE! i hate cooking something good and they don’t want to eat…yet i also don’t want to force them to eat. this whole kid thing is bullshit!!!

    and also, who the fuck would call someone else’s family life ridiculous? that’s why i hate mom’s groups. i moved here three years ago and still won’t even talk to a mom at the park. screw that shit.

  • bri says:

    That edamame picture is just amazing.

    Beck ate (organic) cheetoes and some raisins for dinner tonight. Just saying.

  • Jen C says:

    Chiming in way late here-what can I say I’m reading the archives! Way to be a total crotch waffle there Hope. I guess none of your kids have sensory issues huh? My son has a Sensory Processing Disorder and sustains life on a diet of Chicken Nuggets, Pizza, and PB&J. Thankfully he seems to like fresh fruit so we feed that in lieu of vegetables. My daughter will eat anything under the sun as long as it’s not a baby food like texture so no mashed potatoes, yogurt or anything in the mushy realm for her. They’re kids, they will eat when they are hungry. Vitamins are a wonderful invention.

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