The moment when your ASD child refused to eat fruit cocktail because she didn’t like it “mixed”. Diva LOVES fruit. All my children do. I may not be able to get them to eat veggies, but with fruit there is no argument. However, today there was. I didn’t realize what a issue serving her fruit cocktail would create to a child who likes to color code the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
She refused to eat lunch and threw a 45 minute tantrum to let me know so. She got down and after about 10 minutes told me how hungry she was and asked for fruit snacks. I offered her grapes. She refused, stomped her feet, huffed and puffed and walked away.
So here in lies my problem. I am asking for some suggestions on how to handle this. Do I feed them or do I let them go hungry for “lesson’s” sake?
First some background- My children have some massive food issues (beside SB). They only eat about 5 specific foods per kid. It has to be the same, shape, brand, smell, look and taste or they refuse to eat. I have been battling getting my kids to eat new foods since they turn about one. So we instituted a rule long ago that once you leave the table you are done. They have a tendency to not eat their dinner (especially if we are trying a new food), tell us they are full, walk away and about 10 minutes later are screaming they are hungry. I am sure even “normal” children do this. My theory is they do this for one reason- they think if they might have a chance to get something they actually want to eat. Oh, like candy. That is the first thing my two ask for after walking away. And they are crazy for doing so. Why would I reward you with candy when you just threw a fit because I asked you to try round waffles instead of square ones (yes they are that annal)?
So my question to you- knowing what you know now, would you feed your child another meal after they refused to eat the one that was already prepared. As of right now my protocol is this- I offer them a non-preferred food (go ABA training!). But at times I feel I should not even be doing this.
I have always been against cooking multiple meals for multiple family members. I have envisioned, since I was a small child, having our family sitting around a large old wooden table. Food would be displayed in cute bowls with steam spilling off. The room would be filled with giggles and laughter from sharing our stories of what we did that day.
Instead reality goes like this: Three screaming children. SB has devoured everything I put on her tray. Trying to prepare two separate meals for Diva and Bug, I don’t have time to stop and peel a third orange for her. The kitchen smells like burnt chicken because while waiting for Bugs waffle in the toaster I forgot to stop the timer on the microwave that was cooking Diva’s nuggets. I place two peas on each plate and hope they don’t see them, but at the same time I hope they by some accident try the peas and like them.
We haven’t eaten a “family” meal (all sitting own at one time) in over a year. I am normally cleaning or trying to straighten up the house, while Hubs is feeding SB and the other two are whining and complaining about the two peas we want them to try. This battle of control over food has been waging in our home for years now. Some people tell me this is a battle over control and not food.
Children can control only a few things in their tiny lives, from what comes out of their body to what goes in. Which is why potty training can be such a big ordeal. We cant force a child to go potty; just like we cant force them to eat. It is they only thing they know they have control over. Im just trying to do my best. My thought is eventually they will try those two peas and might like them. Furthermore, expanding their variety of foods they eat, which might lead them to realize new foods are not always scary. One day I pray Bug will eat a square waffle; and like it.