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!


Did You End Up On An Unexpected Train?


Floundering Fish
Like a fish out of water

 The Unexpected Train Ride

Carrying twins for my 1st pregnancy experience was one way I broke the mold of typical. Carrying those twins to 39 weeks, when all the books end at 34-36 weeks? That’s a whole other story.

I had no idea what to expect that last month, except to know that it probably wouldn’t go that much longer…but it did.

I longed for the books to tell me what to expect. I may have even begged the books to add a few more chapters to include those weeks!

Even though my pregnancy didn’t happen according to the books, I wanted to read about it anyway. The fog of the future would seem clearer with knowledge, accurate or not.

But no one had written those chapters.

I should have known that this would not be the last time there was no instruction manual in my parenting journey.

Having kids on the autism spectrum that didn’t match “What To Expect The Toddler Years” or later, for that matter, left me floundering like a fish in a new tank.   I wished (and still do) for a manual on how things will go in the future.

I especially would like a manual for my 9 year old, who has baffled everyone who tries to help him—he has a “doesn’t want to” problem:

• Doesn’t want to change.

• Doesn’t want to eat real food.

• Doesn’t want to follow a routine.

• Doesn't want to wear clothes in the house.

• Doesn't want to sleep on a bed.

• Doesn't want to be quiet and calm when everyone else is asleep.

He certainly knows what he doesn’t want!

He has the explosions and meltdowns that sometimes seem trigger-free.  He has an out-of-sync sensory system that bobbles from one extreme to the other without warning, baffling those who work with him.

There is no manual for him. There is nothing that says what I should do when he does that.

I long for something to give me a heads up on what to expect in the next year or two.

I mean, the teen-age years are coming, for crying out loud!


Full Speed Ahead
Full Speed Ahead

Perhaps you have experience this too? Are you are going full speed on a parenting train ride and you don’t know where this train is going?

I have heard parents of typical kids say they wish their child came with a manual, too.  They spend many hours reading all the parenting books and searching for answers.

Often, the advice in those books is not right for our child because it is general advice for all children.

We end up with a false sense of clarity and expectation.

Sometimes that feels better than not knowing at all, but it’s an illusion.

The Upside

The benefit of having a different child, is that we learn a bit earlier that there is only One who really knows our little one.

The Master Crafter himself knows all the ins and outs and He is the one that gently guides us as we raise our children.

No illusions, just perfectly crafted guidance for our child.

I want to share with you a scripture that I have been praying for my 9 year old.

You may wish to substitute his name with your child’s name. The picture this verse paints in my mind induces a beautiful calm amidst all the uncertainty:

“You promise to tend your flock like a shepherd.  Gather Steve like a lamb in your arms and carry him close to your heart. And, just as you promised to gently lead those that have young, teach us, as parents, how to lead, and guide, and care for Steve. (Isaiah 40:11)

The twins first stuffed animal was a lamb
The twins first stuffed animal was a lamb


What is your story?

Donald Miller talks a lot about how well we learn from each others stories.  I wonder what your story is?

I would love to hear from you!