Our older son is a pretty picky eater, so when David was born I really tried to do everything I could to make him eat a variety of foods. I introduced all of the baby food vegetables before any fruit and for a while, he ate pretty well although he never was very fond of green vegetables. Like many kids with autism, however, food he had previously enjoyed started to disappear from his diet. It is now a constant struggle at mealtime.
David will be in school full days next year and I have been worried about what I am going to send for lunch each day. I mentioned this to his teacher and she suggested that I start sending a cold lunch with him to school. They serve hot lunch now, but since I knew there was no way David would ever eat a burrito with chili and cheese sauce and kiwi, for example, I have been feeding him lunch before he leaves for school each day. I managed to find Andrew's old Thomas the Tank Engine lunch bag and sent David to school with his lunch. That first day, he got tears in his eyes when his teacher made him try two bites of banana, but since then it has gone pretty smoothly. He now eats bananas regularly, has tried sliced cheese again and will even tolerate eating pears. I am trying not to introduce too many new foods, but am amazed at how well he has done.
The past two weeks, David has been more short tempered than usual and generally grumpy. My sister asked if I thought it was the stress of eating lunch at school and I dismissed the suggestion because the new lunch routine had been so easy. The next time I packed David's lunch bag, I left it on the counter while I went to get his backpack. I came back and the lunch was missing, but David was peering around the corner from the dining room, eyes beaming. He had stolen his lunch and moved it to the dining room table, hoping I wouldn't find it. As I took one step toward him, he slid the lunch bag all the way down to the other end of the table. I thought the new routine had been easy--easy for me. But, what is easy for me is sometimes very difficult for David and in his own way, David had just reminded me of that.