I’ve got food storage on the brain.
This could mean:
A) My brain is super sexy.
B) I’m a Mormon.
Other reasons I’m stocking up on food:
A) I’m married to Dutch, who is basically The Dude when it comes to readiness. He’s a little bit ancient Egyptian with the plentiful reserves of wheat for times of famine and a little bit MacGyver with the knack for fashioning impressive and useful things out of materials at hand. He once pulled a rare video cable from a hidden crevasse in our car on a family road trip, fixing a portable DVD player situation, and thus saving the vacation for everyone who was riding in the same car as my sister’s two wailing toddlers.
B) Our bishop has been posting memes like this on the ward Facebook page all week:
It’s all part of a neighborhood-wide effort to take inventory of what we have on hand and determine how ready we are for a disaster.
I took inventory of our cold storage room and decided that in an emergency, Dutch and I would eat just fine, but our über finicky children would freak out over the lack of crappy kid food on which they subsist.
“They’ll eat the food storage when they get hungry enough,” you might say. Or, if you are my dad, you might say, “They’ll eat it before they eat their front feet,” which is a strange, nonsensical phrase for bipeds.
But with my kids, desperation does not lead to a sudden willingness to try the things they’ve always rejected due to sensory issues. Before consuming strange new foods, my boys would devolve into a downward behavioral death spiral spurred by hunger, anxiety, and sensory overload. Also, I’ve heard studies which reveal that in times of stress, people will not eat rather than eat disliked foods.
So I went grocery shopping with the hubs on our date night (sexy!) and we made these crucial purchases:
Our shopping cart filled us with:
B) The urge to laugh, and
C) A weighty sense of the ridiculousness of trying to nutritiously feed children with autism.
Whenever I feel bad about my special-needs boys’ decidedly not paleo diet, I always think of our behaviorist, Lacey, who told me about a little boy she used to work with who only ever drank Coke Zero. Morning, noon, and night, it was his only beverage. She spent months trying to introduce water into his repertoire. While I don’t know that boy’s mom, I want to nod my head solemnly at her as a gesture of solidarity. “I get it, Coke Zero mom,” I would tell her if we met.
We spent three years of daily ABA therapy trying to expand Jack’s diet. We tried everything. You know what three years of daily sessions of attempting to spoon-feed a disgruntled nonverbal boy got us? GoGurt. That’s it. We increased Jack’s strange and limited diet with the addition of dyed, sugary yogurt in a tube. At one point, Lacey said to me, “We can keep beating our heads against a brick wall with the new foods program, or we can pick some other battles to focus on.”
She was right. So we accepted our behaviorist’s recommendation to practice acceptance with Jack’s diet and focus our energies on potty issues and not hitting people with flying objects.
Similarly, our pediatric gastroenterologist warned me against removing foods from Jack’s diet in the hope of limiting unhealthy items. “If you take those foods away, he will not suddenly start eating new, healthier foods,” she said. “He will instead become even more limited in his diet. Look at how big and healthy Jack is. He’s a strapping boy! Embrace the fact that he is big, rosy, happy, and nice.”
So basically when I buy Cheetos and Dino nuggets, I’m following doctor’s orders.
The cashier at Ridley’s quietly scanned our cart load of crap. When she got to the end and bagged the lone head of broccoli and three tomatoes, she kindly said, “See, you got a couple of healthy things there. Don’t feel bad.”
There are Hostess cupcakes and Doritos in the house. The special-needs boys will survive another day.