Food and the art of eating it has always been a contentious issue in our house, long before the children came along. Before I had my epiphany about Mr AUTYnary and his undiagnosed Asperger's I used to think his attitude about food was incredibly unreasonable at times, spoilt, snooty and downright stubborn and when I presented him with a home cooked spag bol and he would only eat the bol! I really did become quite paranoid. He would claim that the pasta was like eating slugs all slimy and I often thought this was quite simply an exaggeration. So many times he used to remove himself from the dining table because the noise of crunchy carrots was like someone running nails down blackboard, or the over dramatic outbursts at the prospect of crisp packet rustlings whilst watching films. The rigidity and inability to compromise was so frustrating to me the dispute would go on for days. I had been brought up with the attitude you eat whatever was put on your plate or go hungry! I wasn't very sympathetic! That was until I had children!
Easy job with our 'Lil' she would try anything, hardly any resistance and loved veg! I became quite complacent when our 'Bob' came along that was until I stopped breastfeeding and tried to bottle feed him. Ewww icky baby! Projectile everything...and I mean everything, everywhere... I didn't know one small baby could hold so much. He must have been holding onto more than his own body weight....Poor mite he suffered dreadfully with eczema and asthma, and ended up only tolerating baby soya milk. By the time he had reached solids and beyond we had a limited palate of taste - weetabix or ready brek, chicken nuggets, loved the taste of fromage frais though we had to be careful not too many, raw carrots if we were lucky, bread and butter, sultanas (they were 'sweets') and if we were in the mood mashed potato. Over time we have added to our list but we are not experimental and have been influenced by Mr AUTYnary's own food issues.
Our 'Bob's sensory issues include food smells - that’s tricky to deal with when your 30,000 ft in an airplane and he's screaming he wants to get off! 'Bob' can't abide anybody eating in close proximity so eats on his own even on Xmas day too! We don't seem to have an 'off' button either so the consumption of a treat, biscuits say, can go on until we have eaten the entire packet in one sitting! Quite recently I entered the dark hole that is 'Bob's room only to find the empty packet 500g packet of sultanas hidden under his pillow. I'd only bought them the day before! I have tried to ask him why he does it but he gets agitated with me, so I've just accepted it one of his 'things' and I will just have to watch him carefully. Pretty difficult though, we also can be very sneaky, and 'Bob' has developed KSM - kitchen stealth mode! So think of the theme tune to the R Whites Lemonade ad...secret lemonade drinker.... we've got a secret kitchen raider!
'Bob's medication for ADHD doesn't help; it suppresses appetite, so when it's worn off he's got the munchies. I cook most meals from scratch because I'm fully aware of the necessity of five a day, but it’s tricky when you have a child who has so many issues with food. Until you start to really think about it, I didn't pay much attention to how much these issues control our lives. Mr AUTYnary and our 'Bob' don't seem to have a food clock either, so if left to their own devices, well quite frankly, they don't eat! Our meals out depend on whether their menu contains cheese burgers! Or how close the tables are! Our 'Bob' has cooked at school under supervision quite successfully, but when we've tried it at home he is reluctant to follow recipe, or has this urge to be creative!! Usually part cooked with some decidedly dodgy mix of ingredients. When I ask him about it, his response is that he just wanted to see what they would taste like....think he's been watching too much Heston Blumenthal! He was quite keen to get his hands on some liquid-nitrogen....the answer was NO!
So as 'Bob' moves into adulthood I take a long hard look at my Husband and our foodie past, because within it is my sons foodie future. Can I change it, not likely but I've learnt lessons, ways of coping and dealing with the anxiety, a life of strategies and hope, hope that at some point repetition will pay off and he can remember to eat breakfast before 10!