We cooked a chicken and learned some amazing shit.
It has long been a running observation that, beyond nuggets and bacon, it would seem that Mr. Pants is a vegetarian. I am always trying new things with him. Some with meat, some without. He never goes for the meat. Usually he leaves the table with a quickness if he spies meat on his plate. If he stays, he never touches it. Like never ever. There was a time when he ate tacos. That time has sunk to the bottom of the ocean and is lost. I try not to worry about it. That is a battle I chose to surrender long ago with this kid. He eats when he is hungry. But meat? Almost never. And that's cool, man. I don't need to force meat. We could get him the iron and protein other ways. It's cool.
Then Plum came along and she wanted all of the food. Of course she would be the one with food allergies but well, life ain't fair, right? So peanuts and eggs and dairy were out for her. And, by proxy, him (most of the time). Mind melt? Yepper. It totally blew, dudes. The high hard one. Because he chose dairy as his most favorite of all the food groups. Fucknuts.
So we have been juggling the opposite food needs of two kids sooo-oh-oh far apart in their tastes, needs and such that it gets a bit hairy around here at dinner. Oh, if only we could talk with our boy to know what textures and tastes that he likes. But that just hasn't been in the cards for us yet. It's not something he can relay yet with language and we are left to guess and try to understand.
Then last night! Tonight! Tonight, it all began tonight! We made a chicken (not a revelation!). On the fly (duh!). Plum, Daddy and I are eating roasted chicken by the forkful (yes!) while Pants is playing with a new toy from Grammy and nibbling on toast and green beans on the floor (The užshe).
He can't sit at the table when meat is present.
I don't force it, man. He's eating. That's a win. Sure, he started at the table but then he saw the chicken and quickly left for the floor. Meh, it's cool. I'm not gonna force eating. I never will, actually. Not my bag. Sooo.... after getting a belly full, Plum grabbed up a fist-full o' drippy, tasty seasoned and glorious chicken and wanted to join Pants in playing on the floor.
He freaked the hell out.
The hell. As in the literal one. He cried HARD. The real shit, too. There was something so very wrong. Ugh...what?? Dude, just play with your sister! , is what I thought. What is you ever loving problem? But what I said was, "Dude, What is the ever loving problem? She is trying to play with you. Just play with her because she is your friend!" and that's when he said...
"Mama! I can't she have da chicken! She smell da chicken! I smell da chicken. MAMA!!!! I NO CAN'T SMELL DA CHICKEN!!!! Pweese, NO SMELL DA CHICKEN, MOMMY!""
And his tears came so hard and he ran from her. RAN. As far from us as he could. He was escaping from the smell of the chicken. For real. He was hiding from the smell of chicken. Daddy and I paused. Shocked. Not because of WHAT he said but because he SAID SOMETHING about his senses.
The magic was that he told us. He used words. He told us! Holy shit! He TOLD us!
He told us that the smell of roasted chicken was too much for him. That it disturbed him. And that is SUCH a fucking win in this SPD journey. That is THE first time he had expressed in words his reality with his sense of smell. Like, um, ever. And I am so relieved. And I am ready to listen.
I am smiling from ear to ear. All because I know for sure that my boy hates the shit out of the smell of roasted chicken. And while I fundamentally disagree with him and could conduct a seminar based solely on why roasted chicken is the big-diggity bomb, I have never been more happy to know that he hates it.
Tools for the tool box. We gather them as we get them.
So yeah, roasted chicken is for the times when Pants is not around. Or for when I am jonesing and eating it in my car after an emergency grocery store deli run. Regardless, I know now. And that is a gigantic step forward. I love it when this kid tells me shit. I. Love. It.
Bless the Universe that it is becoming more common. So hang in there SPD parents! These kids do eventually tell you what they are thinking and feeling. Sometimes it just takes a roasted chicken to get there. And a baby sister with a fistful of drippy, delicious and savory goodness trying to play with you and waving it in your face.