Friday, June 15, 2012

Bowlfuls of Love

This is a bowl that my family has had for years, and we all eat from it without any deep thought.  It came in a set with other 3 other expressions, including one that looks love-drunk.  Yesterday, before I filled it up with sugary cereal for breakfast, it struck me how perfectly this bowl exemplifies how I feel about food.  It is cozy, warming, feels like love.  This is the bowl my youngest son, Zach particularily loves to eat from, and he often immitates the face before and during his meal from this bowl. It is a face he used to make long before we had the bowl or knew he was autistic.  But it became abundantly clear that for me, and for him, food
= happy love.  For so many people food is comfort and love and warmth all in one.  For those of us who feel that way, it is really hard to think of giving that up.  To me, it's like being asked to sleep without a blanket.  But that's just a selfish concern, and inconvenience.  I'm worried about Zach.  He is so much like me, genetically, physically, emotionally, and he really watches and copies the things I do.  We have always had a very tender bond, as he is the most affectionate kid I've ever come across.  Watching him grow, is like getting a glimpse into my own growth.  And what worries me the most is that at the age of seven, he is outgrowing a lot of his clothes, and pants/shorts are tight around the waist, clothes that his brother (nearly 2 years older than him) still needs a belt for.  I am starting to see a little pudge around his middle.  His autism plays a huge part, as he is ultra-sensitive to smells, tastes and textures.  The mere smell of eggs cooking makes him gag uncontrollably, so we have to light incense in our house every morning so my husband can eat his breakfast without our son losing his stomach.  There are several things that the rest of us eat that make Zach react this way.  I feel sorry for him.  But because he is so sensitive, he pretty much only eats a few things, and as you might guess, they are not good foods.  His favorite is Hot Pockets BBQ chicken.  It's hard to get him to try new things, and he often spits them out/gags when he does.  My other son, Israel is so adventurous with food, last night he ate coconut-encrusted cod and quinoa with me for dinner.  He has food issues too, but not as bad as Zach, and he loves fruits and veggies.    And Israel has my husband's genetics, naturally skinny, and he tends to want to copy my husband, who is a sparkling example of how we should all eat.  I feel really lucky he has such a strong example to follow.
I've been thinking a lot about my dear, sweet Zach and about his future.  Since he is so much like me, I know he is at risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, it runs on both sides of my family.  He naturally has a lot of muscle, that's part genetics and part autism side-effect.  I don't want him to have food issues to have to overcome.  He sees his parents constantly talking about diets and sugars and he claims he wants to go on a diet, but he doesn't understand what it means.  I would love for him to eat healthier, but I need to be setting a good example myself so he can copy. 
So Zach is one of my WHY's I've been searching for.  I don't want him to have food/health issues.  I want to show him the way.  There have been times when he pretends to be a chef, and shows interest in flavoring foods, this summer might be a great time to get him more involved in trying new things and letting him create new flavors to try.  I will never give up on him, and I will be more mindful of the example I'm setting for him.  And as I make the transition into taking control of my health, I am sure he will make an effort to copy.  It will be good for all of us.
I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend with my family.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

2 comments:

  1. I hope it is relaxing. Zach's attitude towards food sounds similar to a lot of kids. They stick with something they are familiar with and build up almost phobic like reactions to unfamiliar foods. And it always fatty sugary crap they eat. Good luck.

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    1. Yes, kids are tricky! That's why we parents have to be vigilant and creative!

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