A Granny Smith Breakthrough: Success with A New Food!

A Granny Smith Breakthrough

Bright green, shiny apples. They must have been speaking pretty loudly in order to get Stevie’s attention amidst the cluttered kitchen.

Stevie doesn’t eat fruit. Or vegetables... or protein for that matter.  He’s a crackers and cereal kind of kid with his super restrictive and self-imposed diet on top of a few food allergies that restricts him even more.

Stevie has autism, which includes a heavy dose of Sensory Processing Disorder.  He stopped eating all but a handful (literally) of foods between 18 months and 2 years of age. Restrictive eating is a very common symptom of autism spectrum disorder.

But the other day as I was picking up some toys my 3 year old had strung across the floor, I happened to glance over at Stevie.

He looks at me with that look that says, “I’m doing something and I might get in trouble for it so I’ll hide it.”

“What are you doing, Stevie?”  His look begged the question.

“Eat the apple?”

“Are you really going to eat it? As in, put it in your mouth and sink your teeth into it kind of eat it?”

He puts it up to his mouth and bites just enough to make an indentation as he continues to look at me.

I watch a tiny drop of juice dribble down the side of the Kermit-colored apple. I see him sneak a taste and I wonder what he thinks of it.

“Eat it.  Goodbye Mommy!” (This is his tactic to get rid of us when he wants to do something he isn't supposed to.)

I honestly didn’t think he would eat the apple. Usually, if he has a piece of fruit, he plays with it until it is destroyed into looking like a decomposed bruised and mushy mess.

But this apple must have been begging to be tasted, so Granny-Smith green and tart. And that one enchanting droplet of juice just sealed the deal for him.

I leave him alone for a minute and return to spy him biting all the way through the crisp green skin, chewing, swallowing and biting again as he contemplates this new experience.

The tart.

The sweet.

The crunchy.

The irresistible!

Not only did he eat the one apple, but he asked for another one and ate that too!

And not only did he eat an apple for the first time in years, but he ate it whole!  In the past, it had to be cored and cut in thin slices and he’d eat just the middles.  But this time? He sat at the table like the 10 year old that he is, and ate the apple whole. One big teeth sinking sensory bite after another.

It was a beautiful sight.

I always thought he’d eat new foods (eventually) in the same accidental way that the chocolate fell into the jar of peanut butter to create the concept of the first Reese’s Peanut-butter Cup (or so the commercial led us to believe) and he’d realize that other foods really do taste good (and that maybe it is ok if foods touch)!

Maybe this is the start of a sensory turn-around in the food department. Stevie started this life as extreme sensory aversive and defensive, but in the last few years he's been experimenting with more things in a sensory seeking style.  So maybe this next couple years will bring some experimenting with food!

Now It's Your Story Sharing Turn:

For those of you who have a restrictive eater, how do you introduce new food or encourage him or her to taste something new?

What was the turning point in your child's eating behavior if they have successfully expanded their diet?

For everyone else:  Don't you just want to go eat an apple? Remember to send up a toast to Stevie when you take that first bite!


When Your Eyes are Wet

It's quiet today, When Your Eyes Are Wet. Usually the driver honks the horn to alert us that he has driven by, but not today. Today it's silence was loud enough to make it's presence known.

I put on my fleece-lined jacket and step through the cold breeze that nudges me to the end of the driveway and wait. It has been a long day.

Even longer for my boy.

His teacher rode with him, her arm comforting him as his eyes leaked wet down his face.  His eyes are red, his face so sad.

He stands up and and leans in to me as I squeeze him tight.

"He's had a rough afternoon" his teacher says. "I think it's just catching up with him."

I just feel his sadness. His overwhelming sadness.

We walk into the house and with a voice straining to  pull through his tightened neck, he asks for the iPad.

He walks straight to his room, covers himself with his blanket and cries, sweet sad tears.

I just rub his back. I have no words.

He asks for the iPad, again and I show him it is right beside him.

He lays his head on me and we just sit. I wait for him to talk and he rubs the wet off his eyes. "Blow-dry eyes please?".

I get the hair dryer and blow dry his eyes.  His face starts to relax, and the stress blows away with the air and tears.  His eyes closed, he looks like he did when riding with Daddy in the old white Miata with the hood down.

He plays with the iPad, and slowly gets back to his happy place.

45 minutes later, his body has calmed and I hear his giggling coming through smiling eyes...and the call of the peacock. He does an excellent imitation!

It is so hard, to not know what to do, or what happened, or what is wrong when your child is so distraught.  I didn't know what to do, but I felt the whispers to not talk. Just be there.  I felt the pull in my heart to do whatever he asks and when he asked for blow-drying his eyes,  I just did it.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

I didn't know that blowing dry his eyes would blow away the hard parts of the day and lead him to his happy place, but God did.


When we hit rock bottom, God holds us.  And He rubs our back and comforts us and just lets us be with Him. He knows just what we need, even if it's blow-drying our tears away.

He holds our tears in his bottle and they are precious to him even more than my boy's tears and sadness are precious to me.

There is nothing I'd rather do than just be with Stevie when he is sad, and I'm sure, that more than anything, God wants to be with us in the same way.  

He wants to dry our eyes, and give us comfort and peace.  

Will you let Him?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)