LIFE IS A SPECTRUM

There was a time, not too long ago, when Billy never asked a question. NEVER. Then, around the age of 3, he started SOMETIMES wondering about stuff that was missing: “Where’s Mama?” or “Where’s Daddy?” or more likely “Where’s Thomas and Percy and Gordon and Rheneas and…?” And another year passed.

I watched other parents roll their eyes as their toddlers badgered them with questions in the grocery store: What is that? What is that? What is THAT? But WHAT. IS. THAT?!

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever hear that kind of passionate curiosity from Billy.

Asking questions can be tough for autistic kids. To ask someone else a question, you have to first be aware they are in the room. Second, you have to understand that they have information you need. And then you need to be able to verbalize your need for information in the appropriate form. It took us several years to make our way through steps one and two.

And I can still remember the moment, after years of speech and ABA therapy, when Billy asked the first question that showed real curiosity. He was in the bathroom, looking at a “magazine” (Toys R Us catalog). Then he pointed at a picture and asked, “What are they doing?”

The floodgates were opened. (Considering the location, maybe that’s an unfortunate choice of phrase on my part. Still, you know what I mean …)

Questions remain difficult. Sometimes they’re quirky and frequently oddly phrased. Sometimes he wants information that I simply do not have. Neither does any other human being on the planet Earth. His curiosity, now unbridled, runs the gamut of its own spectrum. But I take each question, however difficult, as seriously as possible and give him the best answer of which I’m capable:

BILLY: Can I watch Berenstain Bears for one hundred minutes?

ME: No, but you can watch TV for 10 minutes.

BILLY: Is brown angry?

ME: That’s a good question. (Is it? I don’t know, but I’m buying myself time.) Brown is not a very happy color, it must be said.

BILLY: Who was the man on “The Small World?” (We rode “The Small World” 5 times at Disney last summer, and unlike my son, I do not have perfect recall of everyone who rode with us.)

ME: Sorry. I don’t remember. If we see him again, we’ll ask.

BILLY: Can I have one hundred M&Ms?

ME: You can have ONE M&M when you sit down nicely for homework.

BILLY: Why is homework? WHY?

ME: Homework helps us learn new things.

BILLY: Can I have a gun?

ME: No.

lemur8

Question: Are these pets? Answer: NO.

BILLY: Can I have a lemur?

ME: No.

BILLY: Can I have one hundred lemurs?

ME: Definitely not.

BILLY: What are YOU feeling?

ME: A lot of things. Love, a little anxiety, humor – that means something is funny – and happiness.

BILLY: Can we go see Colin Powell?

ME: Sure, buddy. After homework. (Thank you, YouTube.)

Diz0711_PopFountains_Billster

Billy had a week off from Camp Escape last week, so we decided to take a family vacation. Last year, at this time, we chickened out of family vacation, because we just didn't think he would sleep in a strange bed. We had visions of long, screaming sleepless nights that scared us into opting for a STAYCATION. Which turned out great.

We've taken vacations with extended family, so that my mom could sleep with Billy – like our New Year's trip to Disney. But we've never managed to pull off an overnighter with just the four Broadfeet.

But this year, we pulled up our big-boy pants, took a deep breath and headed for Disney World: me, Dave, Billy and Willow.

At first, I wasn't sure how much it sunk in with Billy when I told him we were going to Disney World again. I showed him some pictures and explained that we were going on Tuesday: “Today is Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, we go to camp. On Saturday, we go to gymnastics. On Sunday we go to church. Monday we will stay home and relax. And Tuesday we go to Disney World!”

Each day, I would tell him what day it was, and he would update this mantra to himself: “On Friday we go to camp, on Saturday we go to gymnastics, On Sunday …” and so on.

Diz0711_Teacups

Still lovin' those Teacups!

For many autistic people, mastering the concept of time can be difficult. This was the very first time I'd seen Billy show real anticipation about an upcoming event. And demonstrate a grasp of days of the week!

He also showed that he had memories of his previous trips, because he talked about the things he wanted to ride – in his own way: “The Teacups, the Crazy Train, The Smaller World, The Dumbo...”

We got an awesome deal on this three-day getaway. First of all, our tickets were comped, thanks to the nice people at Disney. And then Travelocity suggested a hotel deal for us: a two-bedroom villa at Orange Lake Resort (part of the Holiday Inn Vacation Club) for about $120/night (there were some taxes and a $9/day resort fee as well). The catch: we had to go on Tuesday and Wednesday night, but that worked fine for us.

Orange Lake Resort has a huge kids Splash Pool complex, a water slide, an enormous one-foot-deep baby pool with sprinklers, pop fountains, a lazy river ride, a putt-putt course, and a bowling alley.

Diz_PopFountain2

We didn't actually visit the golf or bowling, because our kids would have spent the rest of their lives at the pop fountains, given the chance.

 

But Billy did conquer his fear and ride the water slide, which he didn't stop talking about, in wide-eyes wonder, the whole trip: “It goes over your hair!” (His way of saying he got dunked under the water briefly at the end.)

 

We spent all day Wednesday at Magic Kingdom, mostly in the Fantasyland section, and both kids had an absolute ball. They loved It's a Small World, of course (a friend suggested that this ride is much more fun for adults if you imagine you have a shotgun) and Dumbo.

 

With our Guest Assistance Pass (available to kids and adults with all kinds of disabilities), we were able to scoot through lines pretty quickly and get to every ride they wanted to ride on that one day. We only had one Cast Member demand to see our Guest Assistance Pass (which he called the “handicapped pass” in a rare moment of Disney non-political correctness) because I guess he couldn't believe our child had any problems. But I have learned – especially after our last fighty trip to Disney – to take this as the compliment it was not intended to be and just get on the bleedin' train.

 

diz_castleshot

The obligatory "castle in the background" shot. The excitement is palpable!

I didn't take that many photos this trip, because I really wanted to be in the moment with my kids. Too often on any excursion, we spend so much time setting up photo ops that we ruin the fun. And by “we,” I mean, of course, “me.”

We had FUN. The kids were good company. Billy listened, communicated, and didn't tantrum once. He handled all the stimulation with a pretty good humor, only losing it once, on the Pirates of the Caribbean, which I had tried, in vain, to convince my husband was a BAD IDEA. I wish I could feel more triumphant about being right.

One of the most touching things that happened was the way the kids bonded with each other. At ages two and (nearly) five, they don't really run in the same circles, but in many ways, developmentally, they're about at the same level. And in some ways, like communication, Willow is ahead of her brother.

Still, they found delightful ways to play together. With no cousins, grandparents or other adults (other than us, and we're old news) to coddle them, they stuck together like glue. They goofed in the back seat together on the way down to Orlando (when they weren't fighting as violently as is humanly possible when strapped into car seats at arm's length from one another). Once we were at our hotel, there were games involving chasing and hiding and bouncing on the new beds in “their” room (note: Willow did NOT actually end up sleeping in that room with Billy, but it was “theirs” during daylight hours). None of these games did we remotely understand. And all of them were infused with gales of laughter.

We had "circle time" each night as a family, just like we do when we're at home. We thought it would help Billy transition to sleep more easily if he had the same routine on the road -- to the extent possible. And maybe it worked -- he slept through the night both nights in his own room.

And after they went to bed, Dave and I cooked dinner in the condo, which had a full kitchen, sat together on the screened-in balcony to eat it and actually talked to each other. Mostly, we talked about what an awesome vacation we were having, and in hushed tones, used terms like "just like a normal family."

After we'd been home a couple of days, I went into Billy's room one night to tuck him in and found him playing an involved game on his own. He had upturned Willow's doll walker and was placing his dominoes (he LOVES dominoes) in the little trough created by the upside-down plastic toy.

At first, I was irritated. I didn't know why he had taken Willow's toy or why he was jamming in his dominoes inside of it. But before I started cleaning up the “mess,” something stopped me, and I asked him, “Billy, what are you doing?”

diz_billyplaysslide

Can you spot the "yayers?" FYI, down below is The Dumbo, The Smaller World and The Crazy Train.

Billy stared at his little project for a minute before picking up one of the dominoes and pushing it down the little trough. “He's having a water slide,” he informed me matter-of-factly.

And by God, on second look, it DID look like a water slide! He was imagining his trip and using his dominoes to act it out!

One little line of dominoes was separate from the slide. Out of curiosity, I asked him again, “What are these guys over here doing?”

Billy stared at the line of dominoes for a couple of seconds. “They're ...” it was clear he was searching for a word. Finally, he finished, “They're YAYING.” And went back to his game.

They're “yaying,” cheering for the domino going down the water slide, just like he did for each of the kids that went down the slide ahead of him. He was actually acting out a little drama of his own, with characters that had roles, and it wasn't a script he had learned but a story that came out of his own imagination, based on his own memories.

This is me yaying.

Reader Comments

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What a Fantastic Vacation!

I'm so glad you took advantage of the comped tickets! It sounds like you had an absolute blast! Yay!

Snippets 'N Stuff

I'm glad you had a good time. LOVE the dominoes story. Yay for Billy! :)

Awww, what a wonderful story! I'm so glad it worked out so well.

YAY to you guys for giving Disney another try! So happy to hear it was such a success! And I love the water-slide-acting-out-at-home story. Awesome! We're considering a day at Disney later this year. It's so good to hear some tips about making it a great experience.

Yaying Here, Too!

That's one of the best feelings in the world when you realize they're using their imaginations! Yay, yay, yay! Sounds like you guys had a wonderful vacation! I want to take our kids to Disney so badly now that we know about the golden ticket. I love seeing our kids bond and I can't wait to make some fun family memories! =)

Total 5 comments

Camp11_BillyBubbles

This kid NEVER tires of bubbles.

This time last year, I was a crazy person. I didn't realize it, but I was.

I was at home full-time with my four-year-old autistic son and my one-year-old wanna-be Tazmanian Deviless, and I pre-planned every moment of each day in 15-minute intervals. I am not even exaggerating. I wish.

Three weeks into this road map to the nut house, I was actually half-praying to get sick, so that I would have an excuse to go to bed and not sing “5 Little Ducks” again. I was convinced that my children hated me and that my failures amused them.

Things definitely got better once I loosened the reigns a little bit and allowed everyone the occasional half-hour Dora break. But still, I looked on with envy at the parents happily packing their kids off to camp at the science museum or the children's theater or local parks department. Or even those parents that just let their kids spend all day in the back yard without worrying whether they were learning or not. No one had warned them about the dangers of "regression."

FYI, my parents never worried about regression over the summer either. In fact, I can't even remember much about my parents being THERE during the summer. I know they were; somehow we got fed, bathed and put to bed. But summer was spent riding my bike around the neighborhood, playing in backyard forts, digging holes in stuff and generally, avoiding adult intervention at all costs.

Anyway, it's not that "normal" camps wouldn't accept Billy. But in the case of most camps geared toward normally developing children, with staff trained to handle aforementioned normally developing children, I get the impression that they consider the day a success if no one calls 911. As long as everyone's smiling most of the time, job done.

And if I were them, I would feel the same way.

Camp11_Billyruns

I wanted Billy to continue to learn, at his level, throughout the summer. I wanted him to have the chance to work on those areas we've identified as challenges – social skills, expressive language, emotional control, independent work time – but I also wanted him to enjoy himself. Really enjoy himself.

Rather than Camp Stims-A-Lot where he'd be allowed to wander around aimlessly, lost in his own world, so long as he wasn't hurting anyone, I wanted him to be challenged. At the same time, I wanted him to have the opportunity to engage in those activities in which he really excels.

I don't ask for much.

As it turns out, my extremely high expectations are not impossible to meet.

This year, for the first time, Billy's behavior therapy group, BMC Southeast, launched a special summer program, Camp Escape, for elementary- and middle-school-aged kids. During the first three-week session, their theme is “Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Carriages.” The second session will have a “Legends and Fairy Tales” theme, while the final session, running two weeks is all about “Games and Sports.”

The Camp Escape staff are ABA specialists, with the director, Dr. Dawn Bailey, BCBA-D, being a Billy specialist extraordinaire. So far this week, every day in which I've been there, there has been a 1:1 ratio of staff to kids, and they're committed to never having a greater than 1:3 ratio throughout the summer. Because of this strong staff ratio, each child's day can be tailor-made, to some degree, to fit their individual needs, interests and challenges.

Camp11_Billysmiles

Since Billy started working with the wonderful people at BMC about a year ago, he's made remarkable progress. I'm a firm believer that no single intervention has ever been enough for Billy – he has been blessed with a multi-faceted and committed team of speech, occupational, and behavior therapists – as well as wonderful teachers and aides – but the therapists at BMC have been a part of his school day, as well as his home life. Ms. Elyse, his private therapist, has come to church with us and helped us get a haircut. And every time she and/or Dr. Bailey has been involved in some challenge we've encountered along the spectrum, they offered up ideas and the situation has significantly improved.

A year ago, Billy wasn't potty-trained. His functional language was limited. He would eat about three things. He had a great deal of difficulty transitioning from one activity to another, and he rarely played with other children – or even seemed to care whether they were there or not.

On his second day of camp, he apparently approached a new friend, called him by name, and said, “Come play with me!” When the kid in question didn't immediately jump at the opportunity, Billy guided him over to his newly discovered wonder: Zhu Zhu Pets.

The campers' days have been full of music and dance, outside games, crafts, water play, developmental play – all with an eye toward encouraging social interaction, better communication and the kind of learning that happens when they don't even realize it. As Dr. Bailey said to me at the beginning of the summer, “I don't want this to be Camp Therapy.” And it's not.

That being said, at the end of every day, I get an in-depth one-on-one report from Dr. Bailey about Billy's day, the parts of it he enjoyed most, the moments during which he had challenges and how those challenges were approached/handled. A picture choice chart, for instance, has eliminated aimless wandering during free play time. His use of pronouns, I'm told, has been improving steadily. And today he had a full day that was essentially meltdown-free!

Camp11_Billywins

Billy took this trophy to bed with him tonight.

And yesterday, Billy won a trophy for his expertise at “Train, Train, Car” (“Duck, Duck, Goose”). I'm not even sure how one actually wins at “Duck, Duck, Goose,” but the award has joined his Bash and Dash trophy on the mantlepiece nonetheless.

But the greatest reward so far, without a doubt, has been the image of him greeting a new friend with excitement and actually asking him to come play with him. A year ago, I was not sure if that moment would ever come, and if I'd been able to choose one goal for the whole summer, that would have been it. So as far as I'm concerned, this camp has already been TOTALLY worth every penny.

Speaking of our pennies, Camp Escape is $300 per week for a full 8:30 – 3:30 day (after care can be arranged for $75/week.) Session 1 runs June 13 – July 1; Session 2 is July 11 – July 29 and the final session runs August 1 – August 12. They can also arrange half-days, if someone's schedule doesn't permit a full-day program.

The location is at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church and you can find out more at www.bmcsoutheast. There's still room for more campers, if you're in the Tallahassee area, and Billy and I would LOVE to have you join our beautiful little group!

But keep in mind that the competition for “Duck, Duck, Goose” is fierce.

Reader Comments

So the part of me that loves billy almost cried at the part about him asking a friend to play. The part of me that is training to be a therapist says you should JUMP on that train... talk to his parents set up play dates! (Maybe with a behavioral aide or atleast one of each kids parents) and let me know how it goes :)

Camp LuckyDuck

@Cheryl: They work really hard to keep prices affordable, and decided early on that the camp wouldn't be about making money but providing a much-needed service to our community. I can't speak highly enough about the committed individuals involved in Camp Escape and BMC in general. They really really love what they do and their dedication to the kids shows every day ... even at the end of the day :-) My dream would be to do some fundraising over the upcoming year to create some scholarships for families for whom $300/week is still way out of reach.

@Randi: Are you working with BMC through the school system? They aren't allowed to do any "marketing" of the camp through their school system connections, which sucks, because I think there are a lot of people who may not have gotten the message. I passed along flyers to all the parents I could think of who might be interested, but hopefully, by next year, more people will know about this excellent camp!

what?!

We work with BMC and never heard about this camp. Sounds amazing and I am so glad it is working out for Billy......and mommy! Going to check it out soon!

monster beats

It sounds like a dream camp!

Wow!

What a great camp! I can't believe how reasonably priced it is. My daughter is going to a normie camp and it's a lot more money! And there will be about 2 counselors for about 15 kids! Here, a social skills class for an hour or an hour and a half runs at about $80. How can they do this camp so cheaply?

Wow

It sounds like a dream camp! So glad Billy is enjoying it & you can have a few moments free of the 5 Little Ducks this summer!

Camp Escape!

@Noelle: You can contact Dr. Bailey about the camp directly at bmccamp@bmcsoutheast.com. I know she'd be happy to talk to you about the camp and give you any additional information. There is a flyer at the BMC website too: www.bmcsoutheast.com.

@Erika: I'm SO glad Jared is having a positive experience too! The people involved are just so committed to each child having fun and learning that it makes me wish I could spend all day with them too ... especially since tomorrow is Water Day :-) FYI, Billy identified Jared in a picture today and said, "Jared is very good at swords." So I'm not sure exactly WHAT they were playing today!

GREAT Camp

I am loving this camp, and Jared has been remarkably positive about the experience. Last summer, he complained (loudly) every morning about going to Camp Noisy, which was a terrible fit for him. Here, he gets lots of one-on-one attention AND quiet time when he needs it.

Total 9 comments

mandi-invite

Where ELSE were the neighborhood pigeons going to nest??

1. I started a new WONDERFUL job. And thank goodness I work for my sister, because no one else would have put up with my absenteeism this month. Read on ...

2. I had respiratory flu -- twice. The kids had it once, as did Dave. That sort of counts as me having it five times.

3. I had stomach flu. No one else did.

4. Then I woke up and tried to wash my face with Vick's Vapor Rub.

5. Billy's IEP meeting was awesome. (More on that later.)

6. School ended. Summer started. Which brings us to ...

7. I registered Billy for all-day ABA Camp ... they don't call it “Camp Escape” for nothin'. Come on, Monday!

8. My dad went in the hospital (he's fine now).

9. Our van broke down (it's not).

10. Willow got into at least a dozen fights ... with boys.

11. Billy was named "Terrific Kid" (the good behavior award) at Buck Lake Elementary! And no, Dave, it was not because he was out of school sick the week before ...

12. I turned 40 and Dave and I sang a bunch of 80s songs at my party. (For video of this Awsuuuuuum event, click here.)

This is just my lazy way of making excuses for not blogging very much lately. I'm starting to get act together again, so I won't be such a stranger any more, I promise. But the greatest thing about taking a little hiatus is that now I get to go catch up on all YOUR blogs! Thanks for hanging in there with me ...

Reader Comments

Snippets 'N Stuff

Vick's Vapor Rub? Good grief. You must've been delirious!

Ack! Sorry to hear about the bad stuff, congratulations on the good!

Happy, happy Birthday, Amanda! May this be your best decade yet! Congrats to Billy on his award!

Word Nerd

Thanks! I'm the new Communications Director for Pea Green Solutions. Working from home this week, though, because Billy has a week off between end of school and start of camp.

Congrats

So...what kind of work are you doing for your sister?

Congrats!

Total 5 comments

peas

You have no idea what I'm willing to do for my kids' nutrition.

If you'd seen me in Sonny's Barbecue at lunchtime recently, you would have felt sorry for me. You might have thought that the whitest girl on the planet was auditioning to be one of Beyonce's backup dancers ... in a barbecue restaurant, for some reason.

But my goal wasn't VH-1 stardom. It was to get my son to eat chicken.

When my kids came along, along with the last shreds of my career and my pre-baby body went any sense of shame. I'll make an idiot out of myself to end a tantrum and get a smile. And to get Billy to eat? Well, let's just say I've ruined barbecue chicken for a good portion of Northwest Florida. Billy is the only person alive whose appetite is increased by the sight of my booty dance.

I know some of you are probably thinking, "Maybe you could try just being a better cook." But since that isn't going to happen, we've been going with the dancing.

It's working, though. Last night, Billy ate an actual serving of PEAS!

I'm not talking about peas disguised as something else, peas mashed up and hidden under something else, peas baked into muffins (yes, I've actually tried this – don't recommend it). I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness straight-out-of-the-can (do they come any other way?) green peas.

S_billyartraisins

Favorite food: raisins

Like many parents of autistic kids, I have become semi-obsessed with food over the past few years. Heck, who am I kidding? I've been semi-obsessed with food most of my life.

My recent food obsession has less to do with fitting into skinny jeans and more to do with seeing that my son gets slightly more nutrition than what is contained in a Pop-Tart.

When Billy was a baby, he would eat anything. About the time he was supposed to move up to chunky foods, though, he started rebelling. Looking back, it should have been a sign, but we just thought it was hilarious when he would suck the cheese off macaroni and spit the noodle out.

He got to the point at which he'd eat macaroni and cheese, but that was just about all. For a while, his entire diet consisted of cheesy mac, cheese sandwiches, raisins (don't ask me), chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Oh, and peanut butter. Big fan of peanut butter.

An unfortunate symptom cropped up about this same time: When he watched other people eat something, particularly if it were some food he disliked, he would upchuck. Hurl. Any time, any where. It was almost as though he empathized so totally with the person he was watching that he imagined that he was eating the food. And so he did what he would have done had anyone stuck a blueberry in his mouth.

We were introduced to the concept of the gluten-free, casein-free diet and tried that for a while. After all, it made sense. If there were ever a child who had self-limited his diet to carbs and dairy, it was my son. The idea that his food might be serving as a kind of drug to him made enough theoretical sense that we decided to give it a shot.

That was six months of living hell. I am not a cook, but I home-made chicken nuggets and fish sticks every week with gluten-free bread crumbs. (My homemade fish sticks bore an unfortunate resemblance to something you might find buried in a litter box.) I baked gluten-free bread and bought expensive casein-free dairy products. The ninth circle of Hell for me would involve being locked away somewhere endlessly rolling up stuff in gluten-free bread crumbs.

chreese

Get it? Chreese?! Sounds like trees? Cause that's appetizing on your macaroni. (Appetizing = so gross)

We took food with us everywhere we went. Wanna see some black looks? Start unpacking your own picnic at a fancy restaurant serving Mother's Day brunch.

After six months and no real behavior changes – other than those you get when a child ages six months – we slowly started adding first gluten and then dairy back into his diet. Still, we saw no behavior changes.

Now I'm not saying that I don't believe the diet works for any autistic child. It must: There is a certain portion of the general population that is intolerant to dairy and a small portion with celiac disease. It stands to reason that some autistic people would also suffer those intolerances. When you feel uncomfortable – whether you're sick or tired – it affects your behavior. When Billy's sick, things can go completely off the rails: the echolalia gets worse and he's in a bad mood. I absolutely believe that a child with an intolerance to wheat or dairy would feel much better – and behave much better – if those irritants are removed from his diet.

Billy's just not one of those kids.

We decided to make new foods one of our ABA goals. At the prompting of our awesome therapists from BMC, we implemented an eating routine:

At the beginning of every meal, Billy is offered a non-preferred food (non-preferred = loathed), such as corn or peas, in five super-tiny bites on a separate plate. Next to that plate, is his preferred food. For him, that's ice cream in a little cup. For every bite of the non-preferred food, he gets a bite of ice cream. After he finishes his corn (or 15 minutes are up, whichever comes first), then he gets the rest of his meal (bring on the cheese sandwich!), followed by the rest of his ice cream.

For a few weeks, every dinner (we only did this one meal a day) felt like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. But he ate his tiny bites in order to get his ice cream.

I was so excited by his progress that when the therapists weren't there, I added extra rewards for each bite: a YouTube volcano video for every bite ALONG with the ice cream, a few minutes on the iPad, and then, I started dancing.

The dancing had a miraculous effect. He started laughing and eating things that prior to this had made him scream like he'd been poisoned. He ate pizza and peanuts and barbecue chicken. He suffered through bananas, though we've since decided he just doesn't like them – which is fine.

S_BillyBday10_LUN2

I'm trying to figure out a way to disguise nutritious food as birthday cake.

My dancing got more elaborate – until the day our ABA team put the breaks on it. Apparently, dinner isn't supposed to become a poor off-Broadway musical. And apparently, it could cause other problems later if I had to follow him around everywhere doing the Roger Rabbit or The Sprinkler. He's going to have enough challenges in the school cafeteria without having to explain that to his classmates, I guess.

I was convinced that the second I stopped entertaining him with my nightly one-woman show, he would stop eating. In my mind the only thing motivating him was my Humpty Dance.

But no. Ice cream is apparently as motivating as The Worm. Which is probably no bad thing. I got close to injuring myself a couple of times.

One of the biggest realizations I'm come to through this process is that Billy's self-limited diet was, in his case, behavioral and not related to any physiological problem. That being said, I think he started limiting himself because he used to suffer much more pervasive sensory problems related to smell and taste and texture. So we take it very slowly.

And it's been great to see him add things to his diet that he has discovered he likes. I don't force him to eat. I encourage him to eat. My job is “attaboys” and the ice cream currently provides the motivation to try.

Our New Year's resolution has been to eliminate the words “stick” and “nugget” from our kids' diet, to eat fresher, less processed food and to try and bridge the gap between “Billy” food and our food. It's been more successful, more quickly than I could have imagined. Tortellini has replaced mac-n-cheese; soy nuggets have replaced those containing Frankenchickens, and vegetables are easing their way into the rotation on a small scale.

I still occasionally break out my Cabbage Patch, but now we save that for dessert.

Reader Comments

LMAO

This is hilarious; that 9th circle of hell line: GOLD!

We tried the diet, too, but not nearly as long as you did. I just didn't have it in me to keep it up for very long, especially since at the time the only thing he would eat was Mac & Cheese and this was before GFCF stuff was trendy so there was no rice pasta alternative. Luckily it made no difference, I can't even imagine being GFCFSFEFWFTFRFQFFF

Sprinker vs Grocery Cart

Aww! Look at that face?? He's lovin' it... Ok, so you do the sprinkler, I'll do the grocery cart and he may just eat an entire thanksgiving dinner! Btw, I once heard of a kid who would only eat when he was sitting on his dad's shoulders. So every morning for breakfast the kid would sit on his shoulders balancing a bowl of cereal on his dads head... so when you put it all in perspective, you don't have it so bad!! ha! Good luck!

Cheesy Mac

Oh, Amanda, I can really relate to this. Lately, I can't talk Henry into eating anything but carbs. But I have someone to blame; me likey the carbs myself.

I'm so glad you're having success. Peas? That's a real milestone! If your dance is working the magic you're describing above, then I'm going to have to insist on a vlog where you show us the steps...

Please come over to our house and dance... ;)

Peas!

Have you tried frozen peas with Billy? Canned peas make me want to upchuck...gross!

One extra benefit of the dancing is all the exercise you're getting!

Wendy

Hmmm....

You MUST do the Cabbage Patch for me!!!! Bahahahaa...love it! Great post. =)

I'm so glad he ate peas! What a victory! My husband is gluten free, and for awhile we tried going dairy-free, too. It was REALLY hard. It was a relief when we realized dairy doesn't affect him.

Apparently, I need lessons...

I tried the dancing thing tonight and for all my efforts, there is a stone cold pork chop sitting on my table... my son was not impressed at all. I am thinking we need video of the dinner dancing! On the bright side I laughed myself silly reading this post! This is so our life right now!

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