Tag Archives: parent

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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Alex & The Time Machine

25 Feb

Alex & The Time Machine

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

I was attempting to nap yesterday afternoon, as I was wiped out from the MRI contrast and as I had to take off the dexcom for the MRI I took the opportunity to test out my old (not expired, just previous) pain meds, which made me quite drowsy – which I do not remember, so maybe I was just drowsy because the pain was low and so manageable…  My eyelids fluttering closed is the signal for kiddo to find the noisiest game or toy to play at this end of the condo, while hubby disappears into the bathroom or suddenly is compelled to do something that he has had years to complete but right now he cannot he break focus from it.

So I usually don’t wind up napping.

Once I was out of bed, and annoyed, kiddo decided that he was going to nap. And he did. We could not get him up for dinner, homework, nothing at all….From 5 until 11 he napped…Jeff carried him to the bathroom at some point and decided that Alex was down for the night and closed his bedroom door…

At 6am today there was a very distressed little boy climbing into our bed. He was losing his marbles because he missed dinner and now the sun was coming up. Alex is very rule and schedule based. The world ceases to turn for him if something isn’t complete, like a ritual, like dinner. The new day starting without him having eaten dinner is somewhat like if you made a non-PDD kid go to school sans clothing. (assuming the non-PDD child isn’t in love with their nakedness the way many in the 2-4 year old set are, of course)… It’s not right, it’s not how things are done.

So he lost it. He sat on our bed and wailed as though someone has stomped on his heart and the pain was unbearable. We had not caught on just yet, and tried to tell him that it was ok, that clearly his body needed rest more than dinner and if he was hungry we could make him some toaster waffles.

But he needed dinner.
And the sun was coming up fast.
And the screaming grew louder.
(sorry to our understanding neighbors who never complain…you have no idea how much we appreciate your kindness.)

I toasted some waffles. Alex looked at them as though they were a squirming platter of venomous snakes.

Finally, absolute brilliance struck Jeff.

He declared that it was still night in our house. He shut the shutters, dimmed the lights, he heated up a slice of pizza and called Alex to have dinner in the den. Alex still wasn’t buying it, but he was willing to listen.

Jeff jammed a few bites of pizza into Alex’s mouth. Alex calmed down and declared that hey could now have breakfast.

*sigh*

But Jeff knows that Alex is more detailed than this and this freakout could potentially drag on for the entire day, or even days. Alex requires so much structure, but the world doesn’t always cooperate. We have been here enough to understand a little of how Alex functions, even if this is one trait I do not share with him, I am his mom and I see how his breakdowns become more than mental or emotional, they edge into the physical (when he was a baby we thought that the crying it out thing was still within normal realms when he was still crying after a few hours… and then he’d vomit… that was a clue that what works for some probably wouldn’t work for us, and not because any of the parties involved were being indulgent, we had a different kid, for better and for worse…This was one of our first clues…I wish we could have interpreted it appropriately…)

Alex’s favorite “game” these days is “time machine”…He pretends that Jeff’s walk in closet is a time machine (it has a sliding pocket door, that fits Alex’s description of a time machine)… Jeff finds it funny that Alex’s time machine doesn’t actually travel through time- but it does go to the moon, to the master bedroom, and to target so we can get more Annie’s Mac n’ cheese in the family size box (yes, this is one of Alex’s gems)….

This morning, Jeff saw the opportunity…He grabbed Alex’s hand and said “no! You can’t have breakfast yet! It’s night! You just ate dinner! We must go to morning! To the time machine!”

So we all got in and Alex pressed the appropriate buttons (pretend buttons) and made the time machine sounds… When we “arrived” he opened the door and stepped out and declared “Good Morning!” and was giggly and happy, like any other morning….

Needless to say, I’m putting “time machine” on our list of tools (which I will share, dear reader, soon…promise)…

The picture on the left is a chalk/chalkboard drawing hubby did of Alex in his time machine…He also made him a “pop up”/moving parts card of the time machine for christmas… There was a home depot gift card inside for Alex, so the two of them can build a model of Alex’s time machine…

I love the two of them so much….

I hope you have a wonderful day…. Perhaps if it’s not going your way, you could try the time machine trick? :-)

Best wishes,
xo
Bek

Checking reflexes…

22 Feb

Today I was talking to Jeff about some spine info I found on the internet.  I haven’t been googling about my shoulder, and my arm being numb and shaky. I was going to do that after the MRI and it has gotten somewhat intermittant rather than constant and constantly worsening… But it’s still there…

And my legs are weak.

So I know something is going on.  So I googled.  I read aloud to Jeff.

And Alex heard me.

He comes in to the bedroom, smiles and me and

“BAM!”

Slams my left knee cap with his solid hardwood toy tool bench hammer.

Shocked the daylights out of me.

He told me “like at the doctors”

I replied “they use a rubber hammer!”

Jeff came to see what the fuss was about and I lost it.  I just cried and cried and cried, while I really wanted to laugh but the tears just kept coming.  It was funny, by itself it’s funny…..But my body does not agree…  My back hurts, it feels like a stack of cement blocks grinding against each other, whittling themselves down to nothing.  It’s not just pain, it’s that nails on chalkboard, things not moving right feeling that won’t quit.  My right arm isn’t working right, it’s numb or all pins and needles and the intention tremor is worse. And now my legs feel like I just ran a marathon and went on a bar crawl- sore and rubbery, wobbly.

Blech.

Kiddo feels so bad about the hammer thing.  He was trying to help. He is always trying to help me feel better.  And that makes me feel so terrible.  I want him to focus on being a kid, I want to be able to enjoy his childhood and his life and I really want to participate.

I hope this is just some temporary swelling thing and nothing that requires anything else to drag the last of my energy and my strength away from me.

Will update soon…

xo

b

Finding their mama…

9 Nov

Ok, so my birthday was indeed on Friday.  I am now 33.

Last night and tonight (we are episodic folks) kiddo watched The Nightmare Before Christmas with me (I had never seen it)… He was fine until…

Oogy Boogy is stripped of his clothes and all of the bugs/critters go running and fall into the fire.

Boy was horrified.

I paused and asked him if he was ok.

He said “They are going to find their mama”

(to deal with his fear of bugs-mostly flies- we have taught him to wave his hands and say “go find your mama”… That little concept has made a huge difference as far as successfully keeping the peace and not having a complete meltdown on our hands when dining at the al fresco eatery that my parents prefer…)

Then he said “they went to find their mama and went into the fire and got burned up”

He was so sad and heartbroken…

All of the horrible things he might overhear in a day- on the news, flipping channels on TV, conversations between adults, and the one concept that always hits him the hardest is the idea of someone trying to find their mama.  The idea that the reunion might not occur is just devestating to him…

Shortly after that he declared that he was going to take a big marker and write a line across the top of his head so he wouldn’t grow any more.  The kid is obsessed with growing up and getting bigger (he is very encouraging when the wii fit tells me I’m up .5 lbs… “Yay Mama, you are growing biggest!”…I have to love that someone is happy about that!) and he has declared that he is going to stay the size he is now so nothing changes anymore…  That and he wants everyone to stop working and me to not be so tired and sick so I can play more.

I tell him every night:

“It doesn’t get better than You”

It’s his little insights on everything that make me feel like I am the luckiest Mama in the world.  His sweetness and insights make everything more manageable.  They make everything sweet and they make the world feel safe and warm….

Quiet….

18 Oct

It’s quiet… The stress of this week, the fight or flight response of Tuesday’s meeting with the school district, has mellowed a bit…

We are not pulling kiddo from his school until we have a better plan in place.  I feel like we were blindsided and given no time to gather people and information as the test results came in and BAM! same meeting we were writing the IEP- with really no idea of what we could include…

So we are on a little mental vacation from planning and researching a change.  Instead I have been strategizing on how to reach kiddo and the three of us have been working together to plan how to help him in the immediate future.  It’s frustrating.  He is overwhelmed, but also relieved…  He told me he was worried about school.

He said, “I fit in.”

I think he fits in right now the way that someone in camo fits in with the forest…I think he blends enough that some of the kids accept him.  If he feels that he fits in then I am so happy about that.  I never had that feeling of fitting in as a kid- not even with my family, immediate or extended, and I struggle with it as an adult, but for the most part I have my tribe. I am loved and I love. And I love that Alex feels loved by the kids at school, even with the constant struggles and the huge differences.  I love that they take him by the hand and sit him down and even though he is often looking off into space (or at the fire sprinklers or ceiling fan), they treat him as an active participant…  When I pick him up from school the kids tell him that I am there and on occasion this one girl who Alex adores will help him clean up his space and remind him to bring his lunchbag to me, at the door to the classroom… She will hold his hand and lead him to me.  Sometimes I get progress reports.  It’s amazing the differences between the two, and he is 5 and she will be 4 soon and there are similarities, but it’s the differences that are so beautiful and startling and it is this difference between Alex and the other kids that keeps him safe in many ways, at least for now.  At least until they start noticing differences as a negative thing.  It happens. It is life. We have so much work to do and what a rollercoaster we are on…

But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world…

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