Weekend Archives: The Specifics of Eating.

[Just a quick note to let you all know – T’s MRI results came in and there were NO intracranial masses!!  Yay!  No tumors!  I got my Christmas present early!  …  Now in choosing an old post for this weekend – I’ve been forced to confront the eating issues again- still, whatever you want to call it…  So, I pulled up this old post because, basically?  Nothing’s changed.   Happy Weekend to you all!  This post is from May 2, 2011. ]

Does a lot of food get consumed in the back seat of your car?  With the amount of distance I cover just going to work and school each day, I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car with my son.  With that kind of time in the car, I cannot tell a lie.  Food ends up getting eaten there.  My car, sad to say, is kind of gross. Take a closer look at that seat belt.  It’s got the DNA of an Oreo McFlurry on it in this picture.  This is because, yes, I admit it, I do not have a lot of time to keep the car immaculate.  And food gets dropped and drinks get spilled.  As soon as I clean it, the next spill occurs.  So, I‘m just not concerned with it anymore.

My son does not consume many different foods.  He is a very picky, junk food eater.  I know children on the spectrum have gastrointestinal and allergy issues and must have very specialized diets.  My son has no gastrointestinal issues.  He will, though, eat GFCF (gluten free/casein free) anything if it falls within his weird sense of foods that are okay to eat.  It’s just that his list of foods is limited, to say the least.

One of the many strange rituals surrounding food for my son is that the bites must be sized just right.  He will not take a bite off of a larger whole and eat it.  I don’t know what his thing is about it.  The only things he will take bites of himself are tacos and ice cream.  Hand him a burger – no, he will not take a bite.  He will ask you to tear off a piece and give it to him but if it is not the right size or evenly distributed between bun and burger, he will refuse it.

He will not bite cookies, candy, donuts, muffins, bagels, pizza, bananas, strawberries, or  a sandwich.  He will eat all these foods if they are cut into the right size and shape bites.    An oddity is chips.  He will eat chips on his own but it’s like a chips war zone when he is finished.  He breaks off his own bite size pieces of Doritos.  If he does not like the size or shape of the break – he will discard it – on a plate or on the floor, either way suits him, and move on to the next one.  Unless the bite size is right, the Dorito becomes an orphan.

He is currently in a new foods program with his therapists.  It is going very slowly.  It’s almost laughable.  So far, he’s working on eating a Cheez-It.  A Cheez-It people!!  Before ABA, he would beg me to buy the Cheez-Its for the box.  (He liked the giant wheel of cheese on the back).  He would refuse to eat any of them once the box was opened.  He will not eat any kind of cracker at all.  ABA introduced the Cheez-Its and he gagged.  He did it on purpose so he wouldn’t have to eat them.  He’s worked up to eating one.  While grimacing but no more gagging.  The new goal?  Four Cheez-Its.

At this rate, I have no idea how long this program will take.  They are still working on finger foods that he refuses to eat before moving into foods that require a utensil.  This is not easy going.  Here’s a small list of what he will NOT eat:

Oatmeal

Cereal – any kind.  Not a single type of the hundreds of cereal can be consumed.  He likes to buy cereal. For the toy.

Chicken – No matter what form it takes, including chicken nuggets, he will not eat it.

Popcorn

Mashed Potatoes

All other vegetables

Macaroni & Cheese – Yes, it’s true.

Any other kind of pasta.

Eggs

Pancakes

Waffles

Toast

Peanut butter

Hot dogs

Pretzels

Nuts

If he spills anything on himself in the car, whether it is an entire milkshake or a tiny drop of water, he will immediately yell “CLEAN!! CLEAN!! VAC- UUM!” repeatedly until someone (me)hands him a napkin to clean the mess.  After using the napkin, he either tosses it on the floor or yells, “MOM!” and tries to hand the soaked, stained remnant back to me.

Yes, the clean versus dirty irony abounds in my child, in my car.  Someday, when he’s old enough to eat without spilling everything, I may look back and laugh at the specific eating rituals that are part of our lives.  Someday.

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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33 Responses to Weekend Archives: The Specifics of Eating.

  1. Oh, the stories we could share on eating, Karen! As you well, know, Little Miss had severe feeding sensitivities in the past and was in occupational therapy before her first birthday just to get her to eat baby food! (She never did eat baby food purees, by the way. We used to mix them with milk in a bottle and feed her “smoothies” until she was ready to move on to solids.)

    We also have a “bite” problem and are working with our OT on it now. Little Miss will cram an entire mini pretzel into her mouth without a second thought, but when faced with a sandwich, chicken nugget, banana — whatever — the most we can get from her is a tiny nibble about half the size of my pinky fingernail. Unless things are cut up into tiny pieces, meal times can take HOURS (well, they usually DO take hours, but this would be hours more!).

    Little Miss also has a problem with food temperature. Anything above room temperature is immediately declared “TOO HOT!” and discarded. LOL. Does Tootles do that one too?

    • solodialogue says:

      “Too hot” is common in my household only instead of telling me it is hot, I hear “OWL” – yes, didn’t you know? That’s code for “hot”. 😉

  2. P.S. LOVE the shades! Tootles is TOTALLY rockin’ it OLD SCHOOL!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks Karla! That day I was trying to see if he was light sensitive. I found out only that he is “head” sensitive. Will only wear things on his head for 30 seconds or less (hats, shades, headphones)…

  3. eof737 says:

    Yep… I remember the days when my kids used to snack endlessly in the back seat. We kept them happy and busy with their little stashes of snacks and cleaning up the spills and crumbs was a hassle…but it does pass. I promise it does. 🙂
    Enjoy the time and one day you won’t have to think about it anymore. 🙂
    Eliz

  4. Sometimes I wish I would have never been introduced to Cheez Its- let’s just say I can’t limit myself to four.

    My son won’t touch a lot of the foods on that list either. I wish I had a dollar for every person who said “don’t all kids love mashed potatoes?”

  5. Flannery says:

    Funny, about all my son will eat is Cheez-Its. He will only consumer chicken nuggets, no chicken of any other kind. No veggies. No corn or corn products (tortillas, chips, etc.). Isn’t it fun? Not.

    • solodialogue says:

      Strange, but I feel better knowing I’m not alone with this weird food thing. Look at all these lists! Connor can share the Cheez-Its with Christy and my son will give him all the chicken nuggets he can eat. Connor can then give my son the tortillas and chips… Eventually, we stop all food waste! 😉

  6. C... says:

    My son still likes his food cut up for him but he’ll deal with it if we don’t more and more. My son’s list of what he will eat is very short. This is all he will eat ever.

    Peanut butter sandwiches (only for lunch at school)
    Mcdonalds’ plain burgers (no cheese) and fries
    cheez its
    tostitos
    honey roasted peanuts (has to be Planters)
    strawberry milk
    Mini reese’s cups
    cinnamon toast
    Blue powerade
    orangeade
    Frutopia -Strawberry passion flavor

  7. Lizbeth says:

    Ahhh, food. It was/is easier to list what he will eat versus what he will not eat. Alex actually used ice tongs for a while so he would not have to touch his food. Totally sensory. He did not like the feel of the food on his hands or certain textures in his mouth. Still doesn’t to this day.

  8. Lynn says:

    What is it with the mashed potatoes? Audrey will not eat potatoes in any form except French fries. She doesn’t seem to have any other textures issues except that one. She’s a terrible self-feeder though and I find myself still feeding things to her like she’s a baby. I’ve never heard of the shape of the bite thing…learn something new everyday!

    • solodialogue says:

      So glad I’m not the only one still spoon feeding the kid. My son will not use the spoon unless it’s ice cream and even then, it’s a fight. Maybe Audrey and my son will date each other someday and they can feed each other (although I hear she’s already betrothed to Billy). 😉

  9. Danica says:

    Ahh YES…. The whole food thing is something we struggle with too. Like Karla’s little Miss & your son, PA is also an extremely fussy eater. PA has a list of maybe four things at any given time that she will eat. She also will only eat things above room temperature (preferably right out of fridge) & has to be cut up to specific size & shape. She will eat mashed tatoes (as PA calls them) & french fries (only McDonalds & only the soft ones). PA also will not eat meat at all, unless it is a McDonald’s chicken nugget & yes, I have tried fooling her she is a nugget snob. Do not get me started on veggies she will not eat them at all.
    PA has severe GI issues and will not eat anything they tell me I should give her. Therefore, the GFCF diet is out. We have spent many an hour and day in specialist office about her GI issues. We have spent days in hospital & many visits to the ER getting her cleaned out.
    PA eats better in the car and we have a seat saver under her car seat, but food does get everywhere. We suspect that she has it in her head that if it is not take out it is not food.

    • solodialogue says:

      Haha! Dani – I love that line that if it is not take out you suspect she thinks it is not food! That’s my suspicion about my son too (except for ice cream and chocolate – he has no problem eating these!) There goes the temperature thing again too! My son does not like actual meals any warmer than room temperature also (of course ice cream, water and other drinks and applesauce can be cold). Seat saver, eh? I think if the garbage can liners are too slippery I may look this up. 🙂

  10. Danica says:

    PA also fusses about getting food on her. She will stop eating all together if she gets food on her. She will scream or fuss till I clean it for her. She will not do it herself.

  11. Teresa says:

    It is amazing how picky our children can be. When my son was 10 he had so many illnesses he weighed only 50lbs and was 50 inches… One loving doctor (who had raised several children) just said to let him eat what he wants and to not worry so much. He was right. Son did finally grow and his picky-ness got less.

    • solodialogue says:

      Whoa. That is very slim. I’m glad to hear they grow out of it! Teresa, how old was he when he grew out of his pickiness?

      • Teresa says:

        You know I can’t say for sure when things changed. When he was 10 we began a very strenuous program that included ALOT of exercise. (http://www.iahp.org/) The program also removed lots of artificial foods… A simple diet and a hungry boy probably was much of the difference. Of course, some things (textures, heat, etc.) were much slower to change. He still leaves to the end mushy foods like mashed potatoes and complains if something is remotely hot.

      • solodialogue says:

        Oh goodness!! If we removed all the artificial foods, I’m not sure what would be left!! Lol! I can see how the textures and the temperature might be more difficult. Thanks for the info, as usual, Teresa!

  12. Kelly says:

    Ted and AJ nearly vomit when faced with mashed potatoes. Ted is a stuffer. He will pack food into his mouth until he gags. When he is angry with me he tries to vomit. Somehow, someway, I think these things are related.

    Also, we have the clean issue, too. In fact, Ted has some serious food-related control issues. Whenever he takes a drink, he wants me to take the cup he is insistent upon it. I am just as insistent that I will not take it. He wants me to take the napkin after every use. He wants me to immediately take his plate when he is finished. He fires orders like a little general. He demands refills, and when given, refuses to eat or drink them.

    In short, he is Napoleonic.

  13. Heather says:

    Some of Brian’s oddities:

    -Will only eat scrambled eggs if they are in a perfect circle (like an omelette, just not folded over)

    -Won’t eat sandwiches, burgers, etc. without taking it apart and eating them separately (okay he did eat ONE burger a while ago that I bragged about big time- but it hasn’t happened since)

    -Won’t touch any thing that resembles milk- no cows milk (we’re dairy free anyway so that works), almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc., etc.

    Plus he knows instinctively if I’ve added anything to his food. I thought I was soooo smart to puree cauliflower and stick it into his mac n cheese- I tasted it and you could not taste the cauliflower. I pureed it soooo well that there were no particles of cauliflower- it blended right in. He won’t eat it. It amazes me.

    • solodialogue says:

      I love the circular scrambled eggs! How long has that been a demand? Brian is highly sensitive to taste, isn’t he? He could probably guess ingredients in recipes like they did as a challenge on Hell’s Kitchen… you know? They blindfold the potential chefs and ask them what they are eating and usually they can’t tell by taste! I bet Brian could win that one!

  14. Big Daddy says:

    This sounds so much like my boy when he was 5 or 6. He outgrew a lot of the food issues and expanded his menu quite a bit. But it still looks like a warzone after he eats chips.

  15. Grace says:

    I laughed out loud at the very first line of this post. My back seat is currently covered in fruit roll up wrappers, half eaten pop tarts, and at least one empty lunchables tray. It looks like a family of hobos has been living in there for months.

  16. bbsmum says:

    As you may know, our issues are the opposite (compulsive over-eating) EXCEPT mashed potatoes. BB absolutely hates them, but will happily stuff himself with anything else. Funny, eh?
    If it makes you feel any better, I used to work with a child who ate nothing but sausage and fries. Nothing else. Nothing. No ice cream, chocolate, cookies, sweets, and definitely nothing ‘healthy’. And sometimes he didn’t even eat the sausage.

  17. Pingback: Eating Quirks – More than Meets the Eye. | Solodialogue

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