Friday, June 26, 2009

My kids are weird

I was late getting dinner on the table tonight because I got distracted playing in the garden (with Dave). Apparently the children were hungry (there was shredded BBQ beef in the crockpot- I just needed to make buns, cook a veggie, and set the table). Chris joined us in the garden with a bowl in his hand. I didn't think much of it until I made it back into the house to complete dinner prep.

Chris was sitting at the kitchen table with Jake and they were sharing a salad. The salad was full of beet greens and bok choy, butter bib lettuce, nasturtium flowers, tiny carrots, chives, parsley, and basil. It looked kinda weird. However, they'd sprayed it with balsamic viniagrette and were chowing down on the strange greens while they waited for me to finish cooking.

I've heard that kids on the Austism spectrum are picky eaters, rigid in their likes and dislikes, afraid or unable to try new things. Not Chris. If it's green- he'll eat it. If it grows in the garden- he'll eat it. If we see it in the grocery store and it looks interesting- he'll eat it. I know fairly normal grown-ups who don't eat as varied a diet as my children do.

People sometimes ask me how I get my kids to eat vegetables. The only answer I can come up with is- I simply don't care whether they eat them or not. I eat vegetables (but I truly don't like root veggies, which my kids all love). I serve vegetables at least twice a day, fruit three or four times a day. We're always looking for new ways to cook or serve veggies.

The kids enjoy helping in the garden and watching the vegetables grow. I think this makes them naturally curious and open to eating the product of their toil (bet you thought I'd never use that FFA Creed ever again, huh?). We start seeds on the patio in March and then move them to the garden the middle of May. Sam only cares about pumpkins and squash. He doesn't participate with the rest of the garden (but we do have about 16 mounds of cucubit type plants). Jake doesn't really work in the garden, but he likes to help harvest stuff. Chris has his own grow box and portions of two others that he cares for on his own (and he is much more conscientious than I am about caring for the garden).

Every trip to the grocery store we try to bring home something we've never tried before. Sometimes it's a vegetable. Sometimes it's a cut of meat. Sauces, condiments, and ethnic foods have all found their way onto our pantry shelves where they're rapidly consumed. Trying new things has become an adventure, quest, and lifestyle for our family. In the beginning I made up the "adventure" as a way to keep my mind from stagnating (any more than it already had). I needed a challenge that required me to flex my mind without taking any more time or energy than I was already spending caring for my family and house.

Now, seven years later, we see the result of my challenge. My children are weird. But they're weird in a good way and even though I catch myself laughing at them (often) I really enjoy the little people they're becoming.


Amy said...

So did you at least taste their salad?

Marbel said...

I like that kind of weird.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room