A little Thanksgiving miracle

November 30, 2008 at 9:06 pm 14 comments

     I write a lot about C’s eating challenges, and it’s partly because it is one of the biggest struggles we face, but it’s also the most unusual to people who know nothing about it. It’s the kind of thing you never think about unless it’s a problem. And if it’s a problem, then it’s usually an overwhelming problem. People don’t understand why we can’t take C to a restaurant, and I usually let them think it’s his dietary restrictions that keep us away. But that we could work around. It’s the more incomprehensible issues that make restaurants problematic. For a child who can tell the difference between brands of peanut butter, won’t eat a raspberry if it’s unusually large, and eats mostly only single ingredient foods, restaurants are pretty much inaccessible. C will eat one particular brand of deli meat chicken, but putting it on bread for a sandwich makes it an entirely new food, one that requires much effort to add it to the list of things C will eat. And putting it together with avocado or tomatoes, some of his new “preferred” foods, is even more forbidden.

     You can therefore imagine my surprise when he requested a burrito for dinner tonight. Husband and I throw all kinds of things on tortillas, so it’s familiar to C, but his actually eating a burrito is something I didn’t expect for years to come. He won’t eat salsa (too many ingredients and a combination texture that is distasteful to him), and mixing beans and rice would certainly be taboo. Hesitantly, I asked him what he’d like on his burrito, expecting him to give me a single ingredient. “Guacamole (his word for avocado), tomatoes, rice, beans, salt and pepper.”  

     Hiding my surprise, I quickly whipped up a little burrito, with his supervision, and took it to the table. He remained standing, which is his latest comfort spot when faced with a new food. I always envision his body activating the fight or flight response and him sprinting off somewhere safe, but I promised him he would be okay, and down he sat. Teaching him how to hold a burrito is another exercise completely, so instead I held it with him and off he went. It fell apart on the plate, something I had to warn him about in advance (messed up food is generally unacceptable), but he kept at it anyway until the entire thing was gone.

     These are the things we celebrate around here. I doubt that C’s eating something new will ever be something we take for granted, although it is becoming slightly less dumbfounding when it happens as of late. Yet it is always cause for patting ourselves (and C) on the back. All those years of working patiently in feeding therapy might have paid off after all. He’s come a long way from barely being able to tolerate a new food even being on the table, to moving it closer to him, to it being on his plate, to touching it, to kissing it, to licking it, to finally taking that first bite. A process that has finally come down to this. A burrito. But not just a burrito; a cacophony of tastes, textures, colors, smells, and sights that has been thrown together and all mixed up. Just the way life is supposed to be.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

I guess 3rd isn’t so bad All by myself

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hopeauthority  |  November 30, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Well, who knew ‘C’ wanted a run for the border all this time?! Can the fine dining of Taco Bell be far off? (I’m kidding. That stuff’s really only for us stressed and starving parents!)

    Congrats on the buritto experience. We are light years away from that. And we too never go to restaurants, though I imagine a day when I may be able to if I bring my son’s meal from home and have them serve it to him like they made it. Maybe. Someday.

    OHMYGOSH do I MISS Taco Bell since I went GF/CF! I would probably sell my soul to be able to eat there again. I know it’s terrible, but I miss it.

    I bring C’s food everywhere – even restaurants on the rare occasion that we actually go to one. I remember one time not too long ago bringing a baby food jar (he still eats those), and the waitress said something like “Have you ever tried the real peas? I’ll bet he’d like those better!” I happened to be with another friend with a child with eating problems, and we just laughed and laughed after she left.

    I am astounded. He went from being the kid the feeding therapists all said was the worst they’d ever seen to doing this. It really is a miracle.

  • 2. Holly's Mom  |  December 1, 2008 at 2:55 am

    I am amazed. I hope this is one of many “burritos” to come

    Me too – it is amazing, really, given where we started. From throwing up when I’d open the fridge to a burrito. What a journey!

  • 3. therocchronicles  |  December 1, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Way to go C!!! Those accomplishments make up for the hard days don’t they?!

    You know, they really do. I don’t know what it is on days like that – he had an awesome day all around yesterday. Including behavior at home. It was a great day. Love those days.

  • 4. Jesch  |  December 1, 2008 at 9:29 am


    I know, today the kitchen, tomorrow Chipotle, right? If only…but we’ll take what we can get. I keep working on salsa with no luck. Someday…

  • 5. embracingspirit  |  December 1, 2008 at 10:57 am

    YAH! that is awesome stuff!

    It is! It is! I’m thrilled!

  • 6. bqkimmy  |  December 1, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! Amazing progress. How great that he was not only willing to try this but also asked for it on his own. Hope he keeps up this new adventure in food.

    Me too. Between the salmon a couple of weeks ago and now this, I’m once again a believer in miracles, because it truly is one.

  • 7. pixiemama  |  December 1, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Yum. C’s got me craving some burritos!

    I know – it’s such a staple around here that I’m always craving them! YUM!

  • 8. robinaltman  |  December 1, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Wow! Good for C! It makes me want to toast him with a burrito!

    Yup, go on out to Chipotle (do you have those there???) and have one on us! 🙂

  • 9. tiredmama  |  December 1, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Wow! That’s so awesome!!! I hope someday my son will have his own burrito moment!!! 😉

    Yup, definitely a big deal at our house. I’m hoping he’ll just continue to eat them and I’ll be able to sneak stuff in there like other people do with pancakes and stuff. I have high hopes for the burrito! LOL!

  • 10. goodmum  |  December 2, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Way to go, C! From a mom who knows what it’s like, way to go D, too! 🙂 Congrats on this new adventure. I hope there are many to follow.

  • 11. Erica77777  |  December 4, 2008 at 12:09 am

    We are so far, far away from the thought of my 3.5 year old hyperlexic son eating a burrito that I have to just shake my head and smile. Many congratulations to C — what a brave thing he has done!

    The food aversions/phobias are truly something impossible to understand without living it every day, every meal. Sigh. The other day, my son actually licked (still wouldn’t eat) a pinprick-sized piece of string cheese and I was so happy I had to call my husband at work. 🙂

  • 12. Erica77777  |  December 4, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Oh, and I just saw the response from you after my comment on the french fry eating post–I actually think that the bribery thing might be EXACTLY what is needed for my son as well, since the traditional feeding therapy route of touching, picking up, smelling, touching to mouth, licking, biting, etc. is clearly NOT working. Thank you for the advice! You may have GeoTrax, but we are still stuck on the alphabet around here–the primary motivator for my son is a tactile letter of the alphabet (preferably in a different material, different font, etc. than he already has).

    I am grateful because he has expanded this alphabet fascination out to reading voraciously, spelling words in American Sign Language, learning the Japanese alphabets (my heritage), playing Hangman and other word games better than some adults, and using an enormous spoken vocabulary, but some days I get so sick of the damn alphabet and wish so much that his interest would morph into something completely different. He is getting more and more flexible in his play as he gets older, but I wonder if I can speed things up by getting him to play with cars or trains by bribing him with letters! Hmmmm….

    I emailed you a few things about all this. Thanks for visiting!

  • 13. Robin  |  December 4, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Your blog just showed up in my Google Reader recommendations a few minutes ago. I don’t know you, or your son, but when I read this post I wanted to cry thinking about all it must have taken to reach this moment in time.

    For now a burrito (and for that matter guacamole and tomatoes and beans – she’d go for the plain rice) are totally beyond my daughter, but stories like this remind me that progress is being made even when we don’t see it, and that we just can’t know where it’s leading. Yesterday she almost tasted a piece of cheese. Almost. It was something.

    Congratulations on your burrito, may it be the first of many.

    Cheese, huh? That is something. I often think “almost” for our kids is just as good as actually doing. It’s nearly as hard for them, and we should probably celebrate it nearly as much as we do their going all the way.

    Thanks for your kind words. I know others have been through what we have and others are on their way to going through it, and it’s my hope that none of us has to do it alone. Best to you.

  • 14. mommy~dearest  |  December 4, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Wow! That is awesome!!!


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