Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's a Rule!

If something happens repeatedly, then in GL's mind, it's a rule. He is very rigid about keeping rules, and gets very angry when others break them. The problem is, his idea of the rules is a bit muddled. For example:

He can only tolerate a limited selection of flavors and textures, and they change from time to time. When they change, he will taste, but not eat, until he finds one or more new foods he can tolerate. Hunger has nothing to do with it. The conventional wisdom is to withhold the foods he wants, and eventually he'll get hungry enough to eat whatever we give him. That might work with most kids, but not GL. When he couldn't find a new food, he once went three weeks on nothing but milk and water. He was four.

During another of his periods of not eating, we were beginning to worry. He had stopped eating his usual foods one after the other. He was down to Kraft macaroni and cheese, Jif peanut butter and Great Value strawberry preserves on Sara Lee 100% whole wheat bread with the crusts cut off, and Dean's chocolate ice cream. Yes, he was that specific, and it was becoming hit or miss whether he would eat at all. He was already near the top of the charts for height, and near the bottom for weight when he grew an inch and lost five pounds. That was nearly ten percent of his body weight at the time. So, if he wanted ice cream, we gave him ice cream. He needed the calories.

Eventually, he started eating again, a few of his old foods, and a few new foods. He rapidly regained the weight he had lost, plus enough to put him in the normal range. But he wanted ice cream all the time. We couldn't keep it in the house. And while his weight was now normal, the rate of gain showed no sign of slowing down. So whenever he asked for ice cream, we started telling him to eat something else first. Now he insists the rule is that whenever he eats a peanut butter sandwich, even if it's for breakfast, he gets ice cream.

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Blogger Brownie said...

Thought you were describing my husband there for a bit. All he eats is: meat (beef, fish fillets, chicken), potatoes (most any kind but not with anything added unless it's garlic)peas (must be the frozen Bird's Eyes) frozen corn, and bread - must be Sara Lee's classic white.

He's very boring. I told him he would never know that I'm a good cook because he limits my creativity.

My little Red has a limited range of things he will eat - but it sounds a bit more than yours. And the removing food until he's hungry will work for him still.

I read a book about a mother and how she changed her autistic child's diet. I'm sure you have had many people offer suggestions and you've looked into absolutely everything - so I'm certainly not offering advice - I have none.

I was reading this book because a MH professional is thinking my Red might be PDD - and that's in the autism spectrum. So I read this book and it really was fascinating and what made me think of it while reading your blog was the three weeks when he only drank milk. This author said her child had far more autistic behaviors when he drank milk. Just weird how things work.

February 20, 2010 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

GL has autism. His suddenly refusing to eat any but a limited selection of foods was one of his first symptoms. To read about some of his other symptoms, click the tags "autism" or "weather report". When he was first diagnosed, we had plenty of people tell us that all we had to do was take him off milk and wheat, and he would be cured. Maybe, but I'm not willing to kill him in the process.

I don't mean to suggest you were saying that, and I'd actually be interested in reading the book if the mother found any way of changing his diet other than cutting off all other choices.

BTW, GL no longer drinks milk. Six years ago, my dad told him it was healthy, and he hasn't touched it since.

February 20, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

P.S. Your husband sounds all right to me. Except the peas. Frozen peas smell like dirty feet.

February 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM  

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