We have a drawer behind a cabinet door we call “Narnia”.  A magical world where the foods live that Nani obsesses over. Think of it as where we keep the turkish delight.

Food issues are often BIG for people with autism, and bigger for the people who live with the people with autism. Some are aversions, some are compulsions, some are annoying, and some are dangerous. All will change the way you live.

Putting away groceries has taken on a whole new meaning for our family.

My youngest daughter realized her first week away at college just how different her home life was from her Nani-less peers. Her suite mate put a bowl of apples on their coffee table, just imagine Meghan’s reaction when she saw that.  APPLES RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN??!!! Her first instinct was to hide them. Then she realized that not every one had grown up in an environment where apples were a controlled substance.

This life comes with some funny stories and many of ours are about food. We are not alone.A friend has to use a bike lock on her fridge to keep her son from eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts. I’m sure when he was born she never would have guessed she’d go down that road. I’ll bet Babies-R-Us doesn’t even have those on their registry. Just think, the next time Ann shops for a fridge she has to consider which model has handles that can accommodate a bike lock. Do you shop for appliances that way? I didn’t think so.

Some people must monitor how much water their child drinks to prevent water intoxication which will throw electrolytes dangerously out of balance. One young man I know can consume more than a quart of fluid in basically one long drink and will do so repeatedly if given the opportunity.

We have a one quart limit on milk at our house. That’s right! We not buying into the new “pour one more” campaign the milk council has going. Not anymore. Turns out that milk is good for your bones, but a gallon of milk is bad for your kidneys. Who knew? Not Nani’s mom. But we’re blessed because we don’t have to ration water. Yet. Knock on wood.

Not all the issues are about consuming or not consuming the food.

One friend had the entire length of her piano keys and good part of her living room coated in butter. How do you clean butter off your piano keys? No doubt Rosemary can tell you. Most likely this is knowledge she never expected to possess.

When much younger, Nani took a quart of buttermilk, went to my bedroom and twirled around and around…one week after I had replaced all my bed linens. Why? Why the bedroom, why MY bedroom? Why buttermilk??!! These are questions I’m going to ask her when we are in heaven.

There was the shake- the-egg- carton- until-empty stage. That was fun. While I’m on the subject of eggs…at some point she began gagging (to the point of no return ) at the very sight of scrambled or fried eggs. Oddly, if she sees them she feels compelled to look more closely rather than turning away from what she finds nauseating. We eat our eggs after she’s had her breakfast and left the kitchen. We find them tastier that way.

My oldest daughter, Ashley, home for a visit one morning was momentarily perplexed when Nani came strolling in to the dining room and Frank and I suddenly threw our napkins over our eggs without even a pause in conversation. Ashley’s lucky! She remembered her sister’s egg intolerance before it all came back to her.
Around the age of 7, Nani took a box of donuts to the table, sat down, took a bite out of each one and then placed it on the table. We found her there, grinning, surrounded by donuts, obviously proud of herself. Her sisters were indignant! Frank and I delighted in her opening the box, sitting down at the table and not just shaking them out on the floor. It was progress, though her sister’s could not appreciate it at the time.
Sometimes it’s Nani’s ability to experience food with no inhibitions that I envy. Even though I sometimes say that something is so good it makes me want to rub it on my body, I never do. (For this Frank is grateful.)
Whipped cream on the roof of Nani’s mouth makes her giggle so much she almost falls out of her chair, which makes me want to buy a cow to keep her supplied. For years she would take a warm roll, close her eyes and hold it to her cheek to enjoy the warmth and aroma before she ate it. Come on…who hasn’t wanted to do that with fresh, warm bread? One year the rest of us went on a trip without Nani. We missed her so much that in her honor we briefly held our rolls to our cheeks at dinner one night. (We are rather immune to weird looks by now…)

Just so you know, apples are not the only controlled fruit at my house, you won’t find any citrus sitting out for the taking. If you’re looking for a cure for your scurvy, best to ring someone else’s doorbell.

6 Comment on “Putting Away Groceries

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