When I ask you kindly to put the ketchup on the bottom and the cheese on the top of my dear son’s cheeseburger, please do not look at me like I’ve sprouted 3 heads. It’s so much more important than you realize: ketchup + cheese = slippery. And slippery is something he CANNOT eat. No, he’s not being difficult, he’s coping. And I’d like him to eat more than french fries today!
My Booga is a 4-year old, sensory seeking, but texture sensitive little boy. In the world of SPD, I am very lucky as far as food issues go. Booga actually likes most every vegetable he’s ever met, and he loves protein bars, so even when we’re having a bad day, I know that he will get everything he needs. But we do have our little “preferences”. I actually don’t like to use that word, because it makes it sounds like he could choose to ignore those preferences and just try it like any other kid. Those of you with kids like mine are laughing, because that’s just not possible. He may try, just to make me happy, but in the end, the stringy, slippery, or messy just gets the best of him, and he will start to shut down.
Actually, when we eat at home, he does very well, and we don’t make special plates for him; he is expected to eat what we eat. We make adjustments when possible. Booga doesn’t like anything slippery, slimy, stringy, or that will make his fingers messy. I try not to make things that I know he won’t eat; if we’re having shredded (stringy) chicken, I cube some just for him. He’s learned that finger foods that make his hands messy can easily be cut up and eaten with a fork. Leftovers are a dream come true for him, because they are either cold or slightly warm, and will not bother him. Coffee filters are my best friend, because they keep his fingers clean and he can eat tacos and other messy things. So, all in all, he eats VERY well for an SPD, texture-sensitive child.
But eating out is a different story. And in a family of 6, with several sports, church activities, and extended family activities, eating out happens more often than it should. For the first 3 years of Booga’s life, he really only ate french fries at restaurants. Unless, of course, they were too salty or too greasy. It was so confusing at first, why he would eat something one day, but not the next. Then we discovered *why* he was turning his nose up at food we knew he liked, and started making small changes. Like making sure chicken nuggets are not fresh; he’d really prefer to take them home and eat them cold or slightly warmed. Or making sure his ketchup and cheese do not make his burger slide around. Seems so simple now, but I still get those looks…
So, yes, I am the strange mom asking you to make a cheeseburger a different way. But at least my boy will eat his lunch today!