Monday, February 15, 2010

The St Valentines Day Massacre

Valentines Day was ROUGH !!!! Not because of candy or disappointments or unrequited love , but instead because I am a mom and while going on this journey for me, I am also having to mentor a young man who is differently abled , also on the journey. As we go along, there are great improvements in his different ability. Improvements, like honors, bring with them great responsibilities.

I have noticed over the last few days that Nick has been making HUGE strides in his academic work and in his cognitive senses. He is really clicking with some of his struggles with math, spelling, and is suddenly able to hold a conversation that is at least 15 sentences long. He has also , suddenly, been able to put his feelings into words- something that he has NEVER done due to his autism. ( Nutrient dense eating is working to address this issue as well). The past week has been a HUGE anticipation of Valentines Day on his part, and the day before he kept sneaking off to make me cards ( daddy does not get cards in his mind, just a lot of wrestling) a, sending me ecards and posting cute food pictures on his facebook page and saying they were for me. Then he kept playing Guitar Hero , dedicating every song to me - it was sweet and cute and funny. So I made him cards and for breakfast on Valentines Day I made Overnight Steel cut oats with molasses and blueberries, decorates with fat free whipped cream and a spoon of all fruit strawberry jelly.
He was thrilled, and then we announced we were going to go out to Lunch at Sweet Tomatoes- a place that is full of nothing but excellent choices for this way of eating. For some reason, he thinks eating out is the absolute last word in entertainment.

We went ( I forgot to take pictures) and all agreed that we would have a big salad and soup lunch there, and then just eat a light snack for dinner when we got hungry. I had two plates of salad, a cup of sweet potato corn ham chowder, a strip of potato foccaccia, a mini bran muffin, mini Strawberry fields muffin and 1 quarter cup Eddy's Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogert. I was stuffed, and the guys also had their fill. Nick had two big plates of salad, 3 bowls of soup ( about a cup serving per bowl) , amount 10 mini muffins and two small bowls of tat free vanilla yogurt. I had to caution him to go easy on the ice cream and muffins, but no big deal. We stopped off at Target on the way home for some necessary supplies and he had determined that we were going to stop for coffee . No idea where he got this idea ! We did this ONE week some time back , and he has it in his head that if you go to target, you stop for coffee. It was late in the day and I told him no, and he started looking and acting really disappointed ( with Nick it manifests as a really angry tone, absolute nonsense babbling and he becomes physically aggressive. You do NOT want to be battling a 350 lb toddler in a public place) My mind went into battle mode to figure our an alternative before the situation got out of hand, and I quickly calculated that one of these boxed Valentines day hearts would possibly be less calories, cheaper and satisfy his want of something "fancy" . Found one with Ghiardelli Chocolate that fit the bill, and he seemed happy with that.

So we come home and he is a little off in behavior- not in a bad mood but not in a good mood. He occupied himself with different activities till the clock said dinner time, and then he stopped and began to think outloud , reminding himself we were just eating light, and made a peanut butter sandwich. Then wanted cherry tomatoes. Then wanted fruit. Then wanted cherry tomatoes. Then a fruit snack . Then....

I asked him if he was really hungry and he turned into the verbal meltdown mode where he was babbling angrily about things that make no sense . Example - "Nick, we eat because we are hungry , not bored." Nick's response"You go do the laundry TOMORROW!!!! I don't know my head .The library IS THIS SATURDAY !!!!" When these thinga happen I have to reach out with my feelings to try to figure out what world he is lost in, help him calm down enough to find himself and THEN figure out how to correct the situation. Bob, who is not around as often to see these moments with him ( someone has to make money), does not understand and becomes very much like a normal parent, and starts verbally positioning his authority. Which only makes the situation worse. So , Nick is close to full meltdown mode, Bob is frustrated and I am trying to channel Dr Spock. Nick storms out of his room , with instructions to "apologize to your mother", and I get him to hug me and i start giving him reiki to calm him down. It's not the first time I have used reiki to help him get a grip. He softens and finds his center and we start to talk. I tell him is is okay to eat if he is really hungry but if he is eating because he is bored, he has to find other things. He starts to cry and tell me that he is incredibly bored ( cabin fever will definitely do that) and for the next two hours we talked about things he could do, make plans for the week ahead( beyond the existing plans on the calender ) , and he chose a book to read. Out loud. To Me. While I was trying to watch the season Premire of Ruby. A cookbook .

Yea it is food, BUT it is a great way to talk about words from different languages and more.Eventually he stopped reading and we switched to the Olympics and he was my shadow for the rest of the night, deciding on other "important " things we needed to discuss. He was calm, happy, centered and did not eat. About 8 I realized I was very hungry and I grabbed some carrots, celery and hummus. Earlier I had 3 peices of the chocolate from the heart, but it was milk chocolate and it instantly gave me horrible heartburn so I left it alone. The heart only contained 4 servings of chocolate, so it was not a bad hit for the guys. It broke our house rule of dark chocolate only, but it seemed better to break that rule than to have my son become verbally and physically aggressive in a store and perhaps have a security guard intervene. You have to pick your options.

So while emotional eating is not an issue I deal with, i have to think about strategies to deal with this and mentor my son on it. Eventually he will get it, but at the moment his brain is processing so many new things I cannot expect him to discern these behaviors on his own. It's another form of parenting.


Enz said...

Nick is incredibly lucky to have you.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Diane, it sounds like you handled it so well. You are obviously well equipped emotionally and physically to make decisions on the spur of the moment. Like Enz said, he is a lucky young man. And the fact that you are seeing so much academic progress has to make you really happy.