Welcome back, and if this is your first time joining me, welcome. Today, it’s all about picky eating. My little red-headed grand nephew is what some would call a picky eater. I have heard of kids eating few things, but I never experienced it personally until now.
Jaxon is known to be a picky eater. What makes his eating more unusual are the colors and textures of the food. He first started getting picky last year. I never really paid attention to it before, knowing some kids are picky eaters, and eventually, they grow out of that phase.
But what I started noticing several months ago is he has an aversion to specific colored foods and certain textures of foods. If any food is brightly colored, like blueberries, strawberries, grapes, oranges, or anything green, he refuses to eat it, and he won’t even try.
He will eat most foods that are yellow or light brown. We might be able to get him to eat white rice, but not every time. His favorite yellow food is french toast sticks. Surprisingly, he likes those even though the color is a tad darker than what he prefers.
Kids love mac and cheese and Jaxon does too. But if the mac and cheese has been reheated and is a little on the dry side, he won’t eat it. The mac and cheese must be fresh, and Kraft is usually the only brand he likes. Velvetta shells are usually a no-go.
Jaxon loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he will not eat the crust of the bread.
I mentioned the textures of food. Jaxon will not eat food that has certain textures. He freaks out with applesauce on a spoon or oatmeal. He won’t try jello, and he does not like pasta of any kind. We have tried spaghetti, elbow macaroni, swirls, rigatoni, and bowtie pasta. Jaxon won’t put it in his mouth. The textures of the macaroni in his hands bother him. And forget the red sauce. It’s a bright color, so he won’t eat it, let alone try it. He will eat Kraft macaroni and cheese noodles, but no other kind of noodle.
He does love Chik Filets’ mac and cheese and their french fries. Who doesn’t?
Jaxon is also a huge fan of GoGo squeezes and yogurt pouches. But if he can see the color of some of the yogurt squeezes or other fruit pouches, he won’t eat them. He is also particular about the color lid on the yogurt squeezes. If it’s a color he doesn’t like, he won’t eat it.
Some days we can get him to eat scrambled eggs. Other days he eats Little Bites chocolate chip muffins. He likes pop tarts and other foods, like nutragrain bars and Zbars. He especially loves sweets. Most kids do.
His addiction? Orgain chocolate protein drinks for kids from Costco. We had to put a lock on our refrigerator to keep him out of the bottom drawers. We store his drinks and pouches in the bottom drawers of the refrigerator. He figured out how to open the fridge and found his favorite drink and snack.
I thought it was cute at first. He stands there with the fridge wide open and dances in place with excitement. He figured out how to open the drawer but hasn’t been able to close the drawer. There’s been a few times he has slammed the door shut with the drawer still open. Yikes!
It wasn’t a big deal until he started going in there every 10 minutes. Three applesauce pouches later, it wasn’t cute anymore. Needless to say, he isn’t happy with the lock.
I had to add a lock to my pantry door to keep him out of the breakfast bars and other foods.
We used to throw down some veggies and meat on his tray, but he gets upset, and sometimes it ends up on the floor or in the dog’s mouth. The only meat he will eat is the occasional dinosaur chicken nugget. The only veggies we can get him to eat are in pouches.
We tried to make smoothies thinking he would get his nutrition that way, and those were a no-go.
Between Orgain protein drinks for kids and Pediasure Grow and Gain drinks, we hope he gets his daily dose of nutrition.
Get it off the tray.
When Jaxon doesn’t want food on his tray, especially something he dislikes, he makes every effort to give it back to us. He will pick the food up and hold it out until you take it from him. He doesn’t want it on his tray or the table next to him. The unwanted food must be out of his sight or he gets upset. If Jaxon doesn’t want his cup on his tray, he will not settle down until the cup has been removed from his sight. Sometimes he goes into a rage, rocking back and forth, side to side, slamming his head into the back of the chair. I had to pad the back of the chair to soften the impact.
What is it about the colors and textures of food?
When Jaxon first starting doing this, I thought he was a picky eater. Now I am beginning to understand that there is a reason for what he does with certain foods. If you haven’t figured it out by now after reading my blogs on Jaxon, he was recently diagnosed with Autism.
I was finally able to get someone local to do an assessment. While it is a preliminary assessment, many of the posts I read online all speak of similar behaviors I see in Jaxon. So, not only am I starting over at 54 raising a little boy but I am being introduced to a huge community of moms whose children also have Autism. I am learning a lot from those moms. Believe me, when I say there is a lot to learn.
In hindsight, I should have seen it last year. If I had, I wouldn’t have been so frustrated with his behaviors. I could have sought help much earlier.
Last month, I was able to get the preliminary evaluation done on Jaxon. I still need to take him to a doctor for an assessment. I would like to have a few opinions. Not only that, but the doctor can recommend the therapies I need. At least, I think so.
One of the things they listed in the report was Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). What is that?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), according to one of the books they gave me to read, is “difficulty in using the information that is collected through the senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, movement, and body awareness) in daily life.”
There are several categories of SPD. I need to read more about this to share the information with you, but the book is 140 pages of information and I have made it to page 11 so far and have barely touched the points. I have a feeling I am going to learn more about picky eaters.
Starting over at 54 is challenging. Not only am I raising a little boy, but I am learning how to raise him. My ways are not always the best or right way for what he is experiencing daily. The way I parented my daughter doesn’t work in his case most of the time.
Admittedly, I was frustrated before because I couldn’t understand why eating certain foods was such a hassle or why Jaxon gets so upset when certain foods or dirt leave a residue behind on his hands. He wants whatever has made him uncomfortable off his hands and will not rest until they have been wiped clean. I used to think it was ridiculous. Now I am learning there is something to it as to why he is that way.
I am so thankful for the information I have found so far. A few friends guided me to a couple of Facebook groups specifically for Autism. I have found great comfort in knowing I am not the only one struggling to understand what is happening in this little boy. Reading stories from other moms experiencing the same things is comforting, and the well of knowledge among them is precious. It’s also heartbreaking to know so many children are experiencing similar things.
The Lord has provided so far for what we need to raise Jaxon. I have a long way to go and some hoops to jump through, but I choose to trust in the Lord. He brought me this far. I believe he will see me through.
Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I remind myself each day – The Lord loves picky eaters too.
The Teaching Lady