Riding the wave of my previous day’s success, I fully expected to come home last night to find Emma agreeable to whatever was placed on her plate. With visions of cheerful family dinners in my mind I set about making Hollandaise Sauce (with those duck eggs and Ghee). Making hollandaise is a meditative endeavor, I’ve learned. I cannot carry on a conversation with someone else while preparing it. I must be focused, attentive with a certain amount of serenity or the whole thing curdles or separates. I didn’t have any lemons, so I used a lime instead and all went fairly well, though it wasn’t as thick as the hollandaise I usually am able to whip up. I steamed the asparagus, cooked the salmon steaks, drizzled everything with hollandaise and called everyone to the table where upon Emma took one look at her miniscule serving and said, “No! I don’t want to taste it. It’s okay. It’s okay. Just lick it. You have to put your finger in it to taste. Just one bite. Taste it. I don’t want to taste it! I don’t like this.” And then she began to whimper.
It was one of those Sybil moments, with Emma scripting using her “stern” voice, then mimicking a TA at her school to take one bite, just one bite, then Emma’s own sad voice pleading and on it went. Finally I said, “Em you have to taste it, then you can have some grapes and apple (skinned).
“Okay, okay, okay,” she said, dipping her finger into the hollandaise. “Taste it!” She smelled the hollandaise, then tentatively licked her finger before looking at me with an expression of pure misery. “I don’t like it, Mommy. I don’t like this.”
My family dinner a la Norman Rockwell fantasy fizzled and I felt an overwhelming desire for someone to come and feed her for a month or two – get her eating a whole variety of lovely, nutritional foods before disappearing again.
Later Nic came over to me and put his arms around me. “Hey Mom?”
“I don’t mind this diet so much. I still get to eat all my favorite things.” He smiled at me.
“Oh, Nic. That’s so nice of you. You’ve been such a trooper with all of this.” I gave him a hug. “Thanks for being such a good sport. It means a lot to me.”
“It’s no problem, Mom.”
This morning as I made my way to my studio I thought about when we tackled Emma’s bedwetting. We did our homework, found an alarm to alert us to when she’d peed, whereupon we rushed her to the bathroom and eventually she was out of diapers, sleeping through the night with no accidents. All of that seems like ages ago, but in fact it was just over a year now. It took three solid months before she learned to use the toilet without incident during the night. I expect it will take that much time or longer for her to become accustomed to eating new and different foods.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com