Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What's in a Nugget?

Here is a complete list of the things Wylie currently eats:
McDonalds Chicken McNuggets
McDonalds French Fries
McDonalds Apple Dippers
Burger King Chicken Fries
Burger King French Fries
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with the bread lightly toasted
Pepperidge Farms Goldfish preferably out of the giant box
Chocolate Chip Cookies of any kind but preferably homemade
Fruit Snacks
Eggos Blueberry waffles
Belgian waffle if forced to and under threat of no video games
Fruit Loops Captain Crunch Honeycomb cereals dry
Tortilla chips
Club crackers
Carrots (fresh only) if forced to under threat of no video games
Apple Juice
Kool Aid Jammers

Here is a complete list of things Wylie used to eat:
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Chicken strips all makes and models
French Fries all makes and models
Vanilla Wafers
Graham Crackers
Fruit cocktail
Veggies cubed and cooked
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where and when Wylie began to identify certain foods as those that “make me sick”. To be sure, some of the foods on the list above have been added or subtracted from the list only after being spewed forth from Wylie’s mouth into the kitchen trash can. (Yes, I mean vomit—throw-up—puke city). No, this child is not simply being stubborn. Trying a bite of something new for Wylie would be like you or I being urged to try a bite of…caterpillar or cow pie or castor oil. It is not pretty and it doubles the stress of the entire household whenever it is attempted (which explains the dwindling number of attempts!).
Culinary peculiarities are normal with Asperger kids. Eating involves more than just taste; our olfactory senses are operating, our tactile systems are fully operational. In short, there are so many ways a food can prove offensive to a child with heightened sensory processing, that only a precious few make it all the way into his stomach! Mix that in with a normal childhood aversion to trying new things and you get…Wylie’s diet.

I have learned to accept this as part of the adventure. My twinges of guilt only flare when I am hanging out with families whose mothers have fed their children only pure wholesome goodness since birth. (You know the type—those who can tell you with 99% accuracy the amount of sugar and complex carbohydrates their young have consumed by the hour and also manage to have healthy snacks with them whenever and wherever they go). During these associations I try to avoid the subject of meals and diet. And, like a co-dependent relating to their 12 step partner, I’m sure it appears I am in deep, deep denial. But, it is what it is. God was kind to me some time back when I was confessing my maternal food sin to another mother of practical fast-food convenience. I revealed to her that very week I had been to Burger King not once, but two times!
She replied back,
“Oh, my rule of thumb is no more than twice a day so you’ve got a long way to go before a violation in my book”.

Although I immediately felt pardoned and the weight of my guilt was lifted, I can’t be sure she was an ordained official of the motherhood church. It was a bit like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street seeking absolution from Mrs. Fields…

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