I told you this would be all over the place. But hey it’s been almost 14 years of this adventure so gotta start somewhere.
So why not start with food. You know when your hungry you go to fridge, pantry, or even hit up a fast food restaurant for a quick snack. But having a child who is disabled, on the autism spectrum well it is not that easy. Heck its not even close to that easy.
When your child only eats mainly 5-7 foods on a regular monthly basis. Well that is Zeq and this month is a combination of Salisbury steak, donuts, hot dogs on a bun(not bread, not on a plate) homemade spaghetti. Oh.. and he only drinks sweet tea, again not just sweet tea either homeade/sheetz/or McDonald’s. Do other sweet teas taste good and maybe even sweeter why sure they do. But not to Zeq. He doesn’t associate that tea with anything other than a brand, a packaging, as simple as a styrofoam cup that McDonald’s used to use.. when they switched over to a plastic cup recently it took a lot of convincing, smelling, and feeling the cup to make sure it was ok to drink. Same as sheetz at Christmas time have fancy cups…why oh why sheetz do you have to do this to me.
You think ok so well just have these things on hand and readily available all will be well. Sure it would be amazing if life worked that way. I mean you can look in my freezer and see all these cases of specific brand of corn dogs just laying there waiting because 2 months ago he would only eat corn dogs for breakfast lunch and dinner. But just like that the light switch flips, I take him a corn dog and black out rage ensues because why on earth would I try to put this garbage in his body. Why do I hate him. Do I want him to starve. Why no I don’t want any of that. But that’s what he sees and feels. Then the meltdown begins. Punching, kicking, screaming, throwing, hurting himself, to the point of restraint. Sometimes this restraint last just a few mins when we are lucky. Other times restraint last upward of an hour. Until his body finally let’s go and can be trusted to be released. Then what many don’t understand or even seem to want to understand. He has no clue what happened.
Then the questions start. Why are my things everywhere. Mom why is my mouth bleeding. Why is there tea everywhere. Why.. why.. why..
Well I have no answers just the same and have my very own questions. Why did you eat corn dogs for 5 months straight, then look at me as I was an alien when I gave you one? Is it Zeq who doesn’t like corn dogs? Is it one of his many personalities who came to visit at dinner time? What will I make you for dinner now? My freezer is full of corn dogs. Will the whole list of foods change this time like it did last time or just corn dogs?
Those questions I ask everyday. Because that’s how fast life in our house can change. That’s the extreme of what a simple dinner can bring.
So as we sit down and have our favorite oreo or chip and we look at the package and think oh cool they changed the package. It looks so nice. Remember some people may see it as a foreign object. When you associate something good with what you see and you feel safe enough to eat or drink it. Then boom a new cooler slicker prettier package that person feels unsafe and assume it is something horrible..
So next time you think of food and what you wanna eat. Maybe just try and think for a second that it isn’t that easy for everyone. Not everyone has the option of grabbing just whatever. Zeq doesnt have that simple ability. The fight between personalities or whatever fight is in his head that day makes something as small as a snack a mountain to climb.