Tag Archives: mom

Adventures of The Sneaky Chef in the Cave of the Aspie Kid

15 Jul

Boy Genius

A couple of months ago I intended to blog on this fabulous book (The Sneaky Chef) we had bought, hoping to increase nutritional value for our whole family, particularly Alex. I mentioned Alex’s food quirks and “rules” a little in my post “Islands in the Stream” and promised to check back in about the book.

Well, here I am. A little older, a little wiser, a lot more cooking under my belt than I typically do. I enjoyed my experiments and the creativity exercised in the kitchen. I really enjoyed that because of my abnormal level of fatigue and pain (yay, isn’t arthritis fun!) Jeff did the dishes and the grocery shopping so I could focus on inoculating tasty and fun foods with extra nutrition to make one of kiddo’s primary personal goals (and one of our goals as his parents) come to fruition.

Alex wants to grow up big and strong and healthy.

And we want him to grow up big and strong and healthy as well. (By big we mean: Not frail)

We have always avoided the concept of “the clean plate club” as in my million plus years of Weight Watchers meetings I had seen and heard of the fallout of such parenting & nutritional methods. And, as someone who has been on a diet since 3 weeks old (yes, you heard me: weeks) and I am still experiencing the fallout from that (I’ll cover that in another entry, at another time. Promise.)

So I am particularly sensitive to not taking the warden approach to nutrition. Our goal for Alex, in all aspects of his life, was to give him the tools to be able to make the best decisions, for himself, in his life. This applies to work, health, his personal life, etc… I do want to thank Early Intervention for asking us the important question of what we want for him and his life. We learned to keep it non-specific enough that we don’t suffocate him with our expectations, but enough that we can build goals. Good and important stuff.

So, we decided to start “Sneaky-cheffing” more nutrition into his regular foods and he even helped me (we both got so messy! he didn’t freak out completely! it was wonderful!) prepare a few recipes.

But guess what we found out? Our experiment reiterated that kiddo will probably never eat a casserole or anything remotely resembling a casserole- even homemade macaroni & cheese with real cheese rather than packet of powdery stuff is too much of a multiple texture experience for him. He’ll eat Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese but not the stuff I spent so much time planning and prepping and cooking. He also won’t eat any whole vegetables other than carrots. Think about it: Carrots are the same consistency all the way through- I can’t think of another vegetable that does that…Maybe peeled and cooked potato chunks-but then there’s a certain graininess, and with sweet potatoes a certain stringiness… Anyway, this goes beyond regular little kid dislikes and pickiness- these textures actually make Alex dry heave (or barf. Depending how deep we are into the meal.)

Some ideas from The Sneaky Chef worked beautifully- the idea of adding extra nutrition everywhere has stuck with me- even as far as adding water to a recipe (or instructions on a box)- I don’t add water (well not every time, I still need to work on the planning thing!) but use a nutritious liquid instead. I learned that blueberry juice doesn’t curdle milk and makes a fun colored alternative to plain white milk (or soy milk…Alex seems to change his preferences every couple of weeks)…

I also learned that we can sneak some of the purees suggested in the book into some foods, without objection.

Then Alex saw the jars. Ok, when I first started using the book I made my own purees. But as backups we had the recommended jars of baby food (not all of the purees are available as baby foods, and the homemade purees and mixes are much cheaper and not difficult to make and freeze).
Alex saw the jars. I took a deep breath. He voiced a little panic about baby food being for babies.

So I asked him (remember, he is deeply logical and literal and rule based. Think Spock to the nth power):
ME:Who eats baby food?
ALEX: Babies
ME: Are you a baby?
ALEX: No. I’m a big guy. BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGG! (makes war face and flexes and almost knocks himself over)
ME: What do you eat?
ALEX: Big Guy food.
ME: If you eat a cracker is it Big Guy food?
ALEX: Yes.
ME: So if you are not a baby and you eat the stuff in this jar then what is it?
ALEX: I’m not a baby!
ME: That’s right! You are a big guy! SO, if you eat the stuff in this jar & you are not a baby then the food in this jar cannot be baby food! It’s only baby food if a baby is eating it.
If a BIG GUY is eating it, it’s called “PUREE”!
ALEX: I like puree!
ME: YAY!

So, after all of our experiments trying to sneak “puree” into his foods we found out that Alex doesn’t like it mixed in. He likes it plain and separate from his regular food.

Of course, he has to announce, at the start of the meal, “It’s only baby food if a baby is eating it. If I eat it then it’s puree!”. Seriously. He says it every time.

Perhaps, if he adjusts to the taste this way, he’ll be more accepting of various textures eventually. Until then, I’m happy to serve him his vegetables in this manner.

A wise person once said, in regards to parenting, “Pick your battles”.

As he slugs down jars of summer vegetables (a sneaky way of disguising what actual veggies are in there- summer veggies are ok, broccoli & spinach, etc -not so much. Don’t forget, on top of our Adventures with Asperger’s, our Alex is still a kid. Sometimes, I guess that maybe it’s like having twins.) I realize that we both are winning and we can focus on moving forward to bigger and better things. I try to point out that it’s like a bisque, but he corrects me “Puree!”

I still think The Sneaky Chef is totally worth the purchase (Amazon has copies from <$2.00 + shipping to brand new…any which way, I think it's worth it) it was a great jumping off place for figuring out some small ways to enhance nutrition for the whole family.

(We have been getting various supplies through Amazon.com lately- yes, the Prime program is awesome! They do carry Earth's Best in 12 packs and Annie's Mac n' Cheese as a 6 pack- actually, with Prime, it winds up being less expensive than our chain supermarket and they are delivered right to our door. I'll post a link to my amazon store soon, where I'll have all of the things I have mentioned with links, to make things easier for everyone!)

xo
Bek

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Alive and Chicken.

26 Mar

(misheard song lyric)

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I am still here, but energy has been spewing everywhere but the blog! I’m caught mid-xfer…Trying to move everything to typepad, but don’t have the energy to reformat posts and deal with the tagging/category translation screwup… Soooo… I’m still here…Still updating here… Posting occasional photos over there… Trying to decide if I should separate my art and my adventures in healthcare and parenting, but at the same time they all co-exist, maybe not so happily all the time, but I never intended for this blog to be a pristine studio portrait, I wanted it to be a pile of polaroids, fingerprints on the lens and all…So I am still on the fence…Will announce the big move more officially soon.

The universe just keeps dropping traffic cones and those Bob’s barricades hurdle-y mini-fence things (pylons?) everywhere I turn…Just enough so I can put up my arms and say “why!” but then it dumps piles of paper in those outstretched arms, honey gets somehow dumped over my head, and then the freaking universe turns a fan on. A FAN! What the #*@&? (see I have been working on my potty mouth)

Wish I could handle all of this with zen like grace and a serene moon-like glow, wish I could post an entry about managing stress, illness, parenting a special needs kid, financial drama at homeplate, and how it’s all a great big fabulous TA-DA! learning experience, but we all know that when you are eyeball deep n the big steamy, chunky stew that insight will happen eventually, learning may be around the corner, but right now you’ve got to grab on to that carrot wheel and kick because your life, or at the very least your sanity, depend on it.

No really. I’m ok. I am. or at least I will be.

*insert primal yell here* (yeah, not really me…maybe that should read *insert slightly operatic and comedic bellow*)

Huge hugs all around…
xo
B

Pop-up Love!

18 Feb

Valentine’s gift

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Alex and Jeff made me a pop-up book for Valentine’s Day!

I can only imagine the amount of effort both of them had to conjure up to complete this treasure…. They both worked so hard…

Mama & Me

This is Mama & Me. We do fun stuff together. (the pulltab makes us stir the pot on the stove together)....

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is brave.

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

My Mama is smart. (pulltab makes a lightbulb appear over my head)

She gives hugs and kisses.

She gives hugs and kisses.

Mama is the best mama in the world!

Mama is the best mama in the world!

copyright Alex 2009

copyright Alex 2009

Am I the luckiest mama in the world? I think I must be!

The Best Mother’s Day Gift…

20 Apr

If you get the mother in your life a gift certificate for spa treatment(s) or something else requiring time away please please please make two things also a part of that gift… Generally, the two extras are free in regards to cold hard cash (or a swipe of the credit card) but they are worth more than money to an exhausted and hard working mom…

1. Help the mom, especially if she has responsibility to other creatures- be it small kids, a high-needs pet, an ailing relative, or is generally feeling frazzled and spread thin- help her find and make time to use the gift. That means, when you hand her the gift certificate say, or put a little note in it, that says “you rock, you work hard, I’ll watch the kids, you sit back and enjoy it…”

2. While the mom is away enjoying the gift certificate/experience that you so thoughtfully chose for her that you do everything in your power to make her return home a smooth one that doesn’t instantly negate the effects of her relaxing experience. You could, depending on what you have planned with the kids, strip the bed, wash the sheets, make the bed… put out fresh towels… Clean the bathroom counter and sink… Load the dishwasher…. Vacuum. Enlist the kids to put away some of their toys (they don’t have to be precise about it- give them a bucket or box or laundry basket and have them fill it)… You don’t have to do all of this or any of this. But I highly suggest at least NOT making extra mess and extra stress while she is away…

Trust me. She will remember her relaxing time, but most of all she will remember how good it felt for her family to show how much they love her, which is something that money can’t buy…

A friend of mine bought a pack of 10 cleaning services for the home for his wife for Mother’s Day one year- which is a really great gift but also a loaded one- anyone could take that the wrong way…. He turned it into an unbeatable gem of a gift by writing a little note about how the gift was so she could focus on things she wants to do (rather than the million things she has to do with kids and house and work and pets and relatives) and so they could stop fighting about the cleaning and reconnect with each other and as a family. He then helped her get the house ready for the first cleaning (you have to put as much clutter away as possible- you don’t have to sanitize from top to bottom as that would be redundant, but removing clutter from surfaces- even just stashing them in boxes to go through later, helps the cleaning folks do their job, and gives you a visual clean slate that is inspirational as far as trying to maintain it…). He also took the kids out while the cleaning folks were there so she could talk to them and keep an eye (she’s a nervous gal in general)… And when they left he brought food in so nobody would have to cook or mess up the sparkly kitchen until the next day…

That is thoughtful…

Us gals tend to overthink things and overanalyze… I think the best mother’s day present is when guys (and grown kids) put themselves in our shoes and overthink and overanalyze to prepare… That shows true appreciation (in my opinion)…

Of course, jewelry is almost always appropriate and you can find some gorgeous pieces at:  Clevergirl.Etsy.com

xo

Bek

Leaps and bounds….

5 Mar

Just a quickie… Doing research on Alex’s thing… Going to docs appointments… Alex came home today with bruises on his knees and shins.Bruises!I couldn’t be happier!As we pulled into a space at school, this morning,  so I could walk him to his classroom  he pointed (accurately! this is new!) at the big slide. His nemesis.  And announced that the big slide is the one he went down at school the previous day (I assumed he went down the small one- which is still a pretty big accomplishment)  He ran around and fell and got banged up today.  Like the other kids. All of a sudden, and it is sudden-since the weekend- he is doing so many amazing things he didn’t do before…  He is working on self-regulation of the things he does in endless repetition- no prompting or assistance from us- he picks a number on the microwave clock for when he will stop doing whatever he is doing (running around the kitchen island with a pinwheel a million times…I’ve seen him do it until he was so exhausted I had to pick him up off of the kitchen floor and put him in bed…) and then he…. drumroll please…. stops. He STOPS!  He even got a bug bite at school today (although, depending on how you ask him, he was bit by a small mosquito, a tarantula, or a scorpion…. Any which way it’s a teensy little bite- and he wanted a bandaid for it- which he usually freaks out about… He asked for one. )….All of this is so huge and wonderful….I made him a label with the labelmaker that says “Mama loves Alex” and stuck it on the inside of the little fence thing that keeps him from rolling out of bed every night… He sounded it out this afternoon and turned to me and said “You love me”.  and once again I had to explain how silly mama cries when she is happy.(he has never been able to do the whole you/me thing….)Huge. Gigantic leaps.  

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