I spoke to a woman this morning who put her child with autism on a gluten free/ casein free/ phenol free rotation diet over a year ago. About two minutes into the conversation she asked, “Have you seen any changes?”
“Maybe an increase in eye contact, but I’m not sure.” I paused. “She seems a bit more affectionate. Not sure if that’s wishful thinking, but it seems like it’s true.”
“You have to give it at least three months,” she said.
“Three months? Please tell me you’re joking!”
She laughed. “I know. It’s so hard.”
Then she gave me a couple of tips, like making meatballs, then steaming vegetables and pureeing them to hide in the meatballs and serving them with hummus. I’ll give it a try, though the idea that Emma would even taste such a concoction seems far-fetched. Then she told me about some rice tortillas from Trader Joe’s that I can make a quesadilla with, again, I’ll try it. Who knows? Maybe Emma will like them.
At a certain point in our conversation, she was asking whether Emma liked any number of things to which I was answering no, no, no, she started to laugh. “You have to laugh, it’s so awful.” And we did. We both just began laughing, because what else can you do? When I told her Emma won’t drink anything other than apple juice, which she can no longer have because they don’t skin the apples before they juice them and she cannot have any red skinned fruits or vegetables, she asked about water.
“Emma will only drink water that comes from a water fountain,” I told her. “I guess I’ll have to install a water fountain in our home.”
“Maybe you could hook up a hose or something,” she suggested. And then we both began laughing again. For some reason the image of me attaching a hose to our sink faucet and having Emma drink from it, struck both of us as hilarious. All the more so because we aren’t talking about a house in the suburbs, but an apartment in New York City. Hoses and apartments are not things that go together. I was grateful for the laughter.
Then my sister called to discuss menopause and how and when that might occur – she’s older and I look to her to advise me on such things, but that’s a whole other conversation.
Last night I had Emma help me make a rice milk/almond butter smoothie. She loved making it, helped me pour the rice milk in, added ice cubes and then when it was all blended and frothy I said, “Here Em! Look how yummy it looks!”
Em took one look at it and said, “No thank you!” She sped away on her scooter, before I could get her to try it.
“Wait Em! Come back! Just taste it.”
“No thank you, Mommy. I don’t like that.”
I put the smoothie down on the dining room table. “Em just take a sip.”
She came over, peered into the glass, smelled it, then delicately dipped an index finger into it and licked her finger. “That’s it, now it’s all done. Mommy have it.”
“You don’t like it?”
“No thank you. I don’t like that,” she said handing me the glass.
At least she’s polite.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com