Overcoming Adversity

Jack doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables.

Let me be clear: JACK DOES NOT EAT FRUITS OR VEGETABLES.

Caveat: As of last summer he agreed to start eating corn, but only if it is on the cob; he will eat spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce; and he will drink apple juice, but with those three exceptions, Jack DOES NOT eat fruits or vegetables.

Honestly, it is a miracle that he has not yet contracted scurvy.

When he was a baby, he ate everything. I mean, he wouldn’t let me put a spoon in his mouth for the first year of his life (seriously; it made feeding him difficult), but he ate everything. Then he stopped.

I have this vivid memory of us eating out at a restaurant when he was probably two years old. There was one piece of asparagus on his plate. He honed in on it immediately and very deftly and gently placed it on a plate that the waitress was removing from the table as if to say, “I won’t be needing this, thank you.” At this point in time, I consider it a success if he will tolerate a green bean on the veeeery edge of his plate. We haven’t gotten to “no thank you” bites yet.

When he was little, if I tried to sneak a raisin into him within a cookie, he would sense the fruit and spit out that part of the cookie. For a while, he refused all cookies—I assume because he was nervous that we would try to sneak an offensive healthy snack into it.

And I would have. I used to make brownies made out of carrot juice and pureed spinach. I was not to be trusted.

To this day, if you give him a food, he will carefully inspect it before he eats it. Try it some time. It’s amusing.

In my defense, Jack isn’t malnourished. I took him to a nutritionist at Children’s Hospital and everything and they say that he seems to be fine what with his vitamins and steady diet of chicken nuggets and peanut butter. We continue to put beans on the edge of his plate.

I tell you all this so you can fully appreciate the essay that he wrote at school that came home with his report card today. The best part is that it is a totally true and accurate story.

As far as I can tell from the paper, Jack had read a story about someone who survived an “ordeal on the mountain because of his courage and strength.”  His assignment was to write a story about a girl or boy who is able to do something difficult by receiving encouragement from somebody else.

Here is his essay (in the quotes):

How would you describe this boy or girl? “The boy has autism and brown hair. He is very fast. He is 8 years old.”

If I had to guess, I would suppose he looks something like this.

What must he or she do? Why? “He had to eat an apple even though he didn’t like apples. His father told him to eat it and he would get a reward. His mother dipped the apple in peanut butter and he was brave enough to eat it. He ate it—but threw up.”

Everything about that story is true except that it was Alex who dipped it into peanut butter. I think he added me to the story because the next question was “Who gives the encouragement?” and he wanted to answer, “His mother gave encouragement,” instead of letting Alex get credit for anything.

There is nothing I don’t love about that kid. Well, except for the probable scurvy.

*****

Thank you so much to Jodi and Susan for donating to the Cheetahs. Thank you to EVERYONE who has donated. I added it up today. You guys have raised more than $1000. I did math for you. You guys make my heart siiiiiiiing.

100 thoughts on “Overcoming Adversity

  1. I have a 10 year old “neurotypical” nephew.  He won’t eat a fruit or vegetable either.  He will send a hamburger back if it comes with lettuce or tomato or pickle.  

  2. That is an awesome essay! 

    Also, I bought pasta the other day that is made from squash and carrots. It’s orange and was a fun shape. Not sure how that would go over with the boys but might be worth a try. 

  3. I was just part of a discussion with a group of women the other day and we were talking about what to do if your kid won’t eat veggies. Having been through the whole sensory issue/food therapy routine my response was pretty much “Meh, whatever.” but a bunch of the other women were like “Force your kid to eat them! Make them take at least three bites! Don’t let them leave the table till they do!” and I said to those women (I swear these were the exact words) “I would rather let my kids get scurvy than force them to eat anything.”

    So see, we are bonded by our love of scurvy children!

  4. This post made me laugh because I related so much – I just wrote a post about some of my son’s food issues. They’ve gotten somewhat better as he has gotten older but he, too, went from eating all kinds of healthy stuff to practically nothing. I used to call him the Food Inspector. :)

  5. Mine eats 2 fruits, no veggies, and no meat unless in the form of a fast food chicken nugget. The skanky ones made from home are unacceptable. Of course he also likes his special “burger” from McD’s, just a bun, cheese, and ketchup. Try ordering that in a drive through.

  6.  Also, scurvy is a really funny word.

    I’m not quite sure how you force a child to eat something. You can’t make them chew. You can’t make them swallow. It’s not like pilling a cat. The kid will always win that power play.

  7.  Yeah, those are Jack’s preferred nugget too. We are also familiar with the “cheeseburger, only ketchup and cheese.” That is our standard order.

  8. When I come to DC this summer, Jack and I can hang out and eat together.  If fruit happens to get on his plate, I’ll eat it for him.  If vegetable end up on either of our plates, I will race Jack to see which one of us can get it off our plate the fastest.  Eww…vegetables!

  9. Did you feel that? That was me, giving out a very huge sigh of relief. My 5 yr old HF autistic son has MAJOR food issues. Just tonight, I attempted to give him meatloaf (I swear it was just meat and ketchup–no need to explain the other stuff to him as he didn’t see it go in). He too would live off chicken and fries. He will eat yogurt and “snack cake pop tarts” (read: nutrigrain bars) but  otherwise, if the food is different than normal or is something he won’t eat, he really just won’t eat. He shuts down. The crying starts. Even more crying piles on top of that. The inability to breathe. *sigh*

    Reading this right now was the hug and the “I know what you’re going through” comment I needed.

  10. Laughing my tail off at this.  I have one daughter that won’t eat anything with seeds on or in it.  My other daughter won’t eat condiments unless they are supposed to be served warm, like gravy, hotdog chili, pancake syrup.  Cold condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayo are out of the question.  Butter is fine, but I can’t get a straight answer as to why.  hehehe 

  11. We hide veggies in spaghetti sauce.  I put grated carrots, zucchini, tiny chopped mushrooms, etc into the crockpot and add a jar of spaghetti sauce.  After 6-8 hours the veggies are camouflaged and dinner is ready!  And if they are really diligent food inspectors and spot even the smallest pieces of mushroom, the stick blender is your friend. 

    Don’t tomatoes have enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy?  If Jack is full of pizza sauce and ketchup he’s fine.

  12. I think that is an awesome story.

    Mini Meerkat is super picky but likes to spontaneously boycott past favorites. She generally only tolerates a handful of foods at a time and has very strong opinions about presentation, temperature, and dishes. Specific dishes can only be used for specific foods and it is apparently not negotiable.

  13. Right there with you, with a variation: India eats quesadillas. India adores refried beans. India refuses to eat burritos with refried beans and cheese. She is Queen Pickypants. More so than her autistic brother, honestly.

    Stimey: <3 that kid of yours.

  14. LMAO! I just read this post out loud to Hubs. I could substitute Nick’s name in your post and you would have been describing MY picky eater! Seriously, I don’t know how he survives on peanut butter and chicken tenders. In the last 4 months he’s even become picky about the BRAND of chicken nuggets. Heaven forbid if I buy the brand that’s on sale! We’re able to stave off the scurvy with the occasional strawberry covered, I mean sprinkled, with sugar. Our pediatrician wants us to go all tough love over the picky eating, but I seriously don’t want the dinner table to become a battle ground at the end of the day. So, we are meeting somewhere on middle ground and start OT with some feeding therapy next week. This should be veeeeeery interesting!

  15. I’ve been dealing with this same issue, almost exactly, for going on 6 years.  Where have you all been?!  I swear, I can’t find anyone in our area who has a child with eating issues similar to mine.  Finally, I have found some!   Try this.  My son will eat a corndog without the breading, but will not touch a hotdog. 

  16. oh my! he threw up??  :(    I have relatives who chastise me for the diet I give my son.  They think I should force him to eat healthier.  ”kids won’t starve”…yeah, you don’t know my kid.  He has skipped meals (sometimes consecutively) and made himself ill because of his anxiety over eating foods that, for whatever reason, he doesn’t want in his mouth.  With every day a constant bargaining over what will and won’t happen, with every day a precarious balance of will he participate at school or won’t he…i’ll pass on the fight over food.  —fyi he takes supplements out the wazoo and eats chicken nuggets and pb&j and pizza—

  17. A lot of it is our heightened sensory stuff.  I’ve learned to tolerate and even crave some vegetables and fruits now that I’m older( curiously enough, discovering my intolerance of plastic packaging and eliminating TV dinners triggered cravings for broccoli and asparagus, which I’d never even wanted to try before), but even a tiny flake of lettuce is a truly overpowering thing that even enchilada sauce can’t  hide.  I really do feel ill from the taste when one gets in a burrito and I don’t see it in time to remove it.  It tastes like I’d imagine drinking patchouli oil would.   I’m not fond of sticky sauces in general, either, or of warm fruit( sweets in general are better chilled).  

  18. that’s my situation, also.  except my pediatrician says he’s perfectly healthy and it’s the relatives suggesting tough love. :-/

  19. I think I will just write “ditto”.

    Pretty sure the only thing keeping scurvy away is the blended up strawberry in the stoneyfield yogurt smoothie.

    Although I can get him to drink the new v8 fusion drinks. They say it’s one serving each of fruit and veggie. So if they say it, it has to be true. Right?

  20. Gummy vitamins and fruit juice (w/veggie juice) are the only things keeping my son from scurvy, too. He manages to subside on goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets.

    he, too, ate everything until he was 2. Then *poof* he stopped.

  21. There’s a special place in hell for all those people who say that you just have to make food more FUN – make the broccoli into “fun” trees, let them dip the veggies in a “fun” dip, put smiley faces on stuff.

    What kid is bamboozled by such hollow tactics?

  22. Yep, I feel your pain.  The only vegetable Danny will eat is corn on the cob, too, but he will only eat it if it’s fresh, so summer is the only time he gets any veg in his system.  As for fruit, he will eat an occasional apple and sometimes pears, but that’s pretty much it.  And he will NOT tolerate beans or any other vegetable even on the edge of his plate.  We’re working on it.

  23. I wish it were just the fruits! Mine is anti-ANYTHING cold, any type of bread, (even pancakes), muffins, pizza, pasta, sauce (cheesy or tomato), peanut butter, etc. Flat out refuses chewable vitamins so every morning I sprinkle the powder into a carefully dissected cereal bar. What he will eat is, of course, chicken nuggets, but only Tyson, NOT Perdue (SERIOUSLY!?!), fishsticks, rice, lima beans, and occasionally sweet potatoes.

  24. Thank goodness! It’s not just me!!!  Although our problem is as much meat as it is vegetables (fruits, thank goodness, I can usually coax into her…sometimes…although I admit it’s weird that I still buy her blueberry baby food at age 9, but hey, if it’s healthy for babies, why not for 9 year olds, right?)
    As for the ‘forcing them to eat it’ issue…I tried. I really did, and I hated trying. What I ended up with was a very, very mad child who would sit with a lump of soggy meat in her mouth for half an hour before finally swallowing it and practically throwing up. I finally gave up completely when she tried some kind of ravioli, was really enjoying it, but kept gagging on it and didn’t realize why…but I knew why, because I knew it had hamburger in it. She literally couldn’t eat it, and I was shocked to realize that…she wasn’t just being stubborn all along!  (okay, and admittedly this was before I knew she had autism, but still….mega guilt forever on that one.)
    Now she has about 5 meals that she’ll eat, and has to take multivitamins, and has some kind of vitamin shake for breakfast (nutri-something, I don’t remember). But she manages, as do I.
    The only thing really bugging me now, is that she is apparently being graded on her eating habits at school. Can you believe it??? They learn about nutrition in health class, and her last two reports cards have seriously said “Erin needs to eat a more balanced diet from the food groups”. How the #$ is that something she should be graded on??? Screw it, a “B” is fine in health.
    Sorry, enough ranting. : )  Thanks for the wonderful post and essay from Jack!

  25. Just so that you can start relaxing… I didn’t eat fruit and vegetables as a kid.  I’m slightly better now (at 43) and will eat potatoes, peas, corn but not carrots, not pumpkin and certainly not sultanas.

    I still mostly don’t eat fruit except for the very occasional banana.  I’m fairly healthy, have not had scurvy or weird stuff like that. Also, I don’t drink water unless it has coke or coffee in it.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff.

  26. Wow! So much shared experience! It’s a constant worry isn’t it? A few years ago I bought a book called ‘The Art of Hiding Vegetables – Sneaky ways to feed your children healthy food.’ I think the most stressful part was hiding the book itself. If the boys had discovered it, I don’t think either of them would have eaten anything I made ever again! Didn’t work anyway. These guys have veggie-finding superpowers! 

  27. So interesting that this is a common thread in the spectrum.  My oldest used to eat everything as well.  I actually have a photo of him in his high chair with a big smile – the caption underneath says “this is the last time he ever ate veggies” and even then it was only because I wrapped a crescent roll around them.  There is hope – after many many years (he is now 15) he now eats steamed broccoli – raw carrots and peeled/cut apples.  He is allergic to peanuts so we can’t even add protein that way.  Not to mention it takes him about 45 minutes to eat 3 pieces of broccoli……

    My youngest (5 yrs) vomits at the table nightly depending upon what veggies are placed upon the table.  Sometimes will even vomit when he sees the protein.  We have an OT coming to our house next week to start “feeding therapy”.  I have not broken the news to him yet.  Wish me luck!

  28. This sounds so much like my four year old Jack. He learned at Easter that he likes carrots because they were made of frosting and on top of a cake. So we offered him a real one and he looked at us like…what am I supposed to do with this? Thanks for the smile!

  29. Wait, what happened to corn dogs?  Or does Jack leave that to his bookends?  Or has the interest in corn dogs passed in the nearly 4 years since they professed  desire for them?

  30. i can relate! jack ate nothing but cheese for about 8 years! lots of sensory issues. it was strange to me that he’d eat boogers, but NOT a burger, you know? no hotdogs, fries, burgers, nuggets– typical kid food. made harder by a “by the books” dad and the fact that J was very underweight.  by age 11 or 12 he was eating steak and chicken and gyros and salad and….raw spinach! not sure what changed, but i NEVER thought it would. his picky eating made class parties and boy scout camp a tad…stressful.

  31. Parents of picky eaters unite! It’s not my ASD kid that gives me trouble. Her diet is limited, but it’s all pretty healthy stuff. She loves her fruit and veggies. It’s my youngest, the 19 month old, he eats no fruit. He nearly runs away if you offer it to him. And these so-called experts who say that kids have to be exposed to a food 20 times or something before they try it – total BS. This kid has been exposed to strawberries, bananas and apples 100s of times each and every time is “no no no.” But on the flip side he eats a wide variety of beans which I would give anything if my girls would eat beans! 

  32. It is said that man cannot live on bread alone, but Boo comes about as close as anyone can to doing just that! Never a single vegetable. (once I coaxed him into trying a baby carrot with the promise of a brownie. He ate one bite and it made him throw up) He used to eat applesauce and bananas but now refuses. The same is true of yogurt and cheese. He lives on bread, certain brands of cereal, certain types of crackers, the occasional cheese pizza-light on the sauce, it’s too “spicy,” and McDonald’s “chicken and fries.” Sometimes he will eat a vitamin, and thankfully he loves V-8 Fusion. I’ve also been told “he won’t starve” and I just don’t believe it!

  33. I have a neurotypical kid and he’s got food issues too. It’s weird though, he’s super picky about some stuff, (“MOM! You KNOW I don’t like that!”), but gobbles down beets and some other weird stuff.

  34.  Well, butter. Clearly. Jack would eat pats of butter regularly if I would let him. Wouldn’t you love to know the thought process behind the seeds and warm condiments?

  35.  Every kid has their own weirdness, don’t they? Quinn has a billion sensory issues, but he eats more varieties of food than any of my kids. Weird.

  36.  I guess you could do what my parents did.  I used to sit at the table for literally hours instead of eating dinner. I would have to sit there until I ate at least one bite of everything on my plate. Most of the time it ended with me forcing myself to gag down a cold bite in complete and total misery. It’s the one thing my parents say they regret about the way they parented. AND, to this day I won’t eat most of the food I was forced to eat back then so I still won! I just refuse to get into that battle with my kids.

  37. Wow, this post makes me feel like a rock star!  Michael eats grapes, apples, AND petite carrots (smaller and sweeter than baby carrots).  Thanks for making me feel so much better about what’s in our fridge!!  (Ha ha, realize that wasn’t the intent but I have to take my victories where I can get them these days!)

  38. We have the same child! :-)

    J voluntarily ate a pretzel for the first time the other day. We actually called people and announced it on Facebook. It was like winning the lottery, except without the bank account with money in it. 

    This places him now at 7 foods he’ll eat. Unfortunately four of them are snack foods. The others are applesauce, chicken nuggets, and buttered toast. Well, it’s progress.

  39. Bringing up a little brain mechanisms, like serotonin and dopamine, that many on the spectrum are a little “tweeked” in the reward wiring (which would also be the aversion wiring)… and also knowing that fruits/vegetables contain polyphenols which when for various reasons we can physiologically have the ”bitter” qualities enhanced (food flavors help with seeking and avoidance, but “tweeked” brain mechanisms, stress levels, or other situations can alter taste perception). And also knowing that there are many subtypes within Autisms, but two such bidirectional subtypes have certain functions like celllular proliferation some go up, some go down (possibly as a consequence of ROS activation/regulation) and  since we do know that stress programming, early life stress (or prelife), are also some of the causal mechanisms in this regulation… the food stuff kinda makes sense. Cravings and avoidances. Or why one might avoid fruits and vegetables for a purpose, or having this become to highly of a conditioned learned response…. food for thought.

    Big brains and ROS—a new link emerges from the study of baby neurons
    http://blog.autismspeaks.org/tag/reactive-oxygen-species/

    Neural stem cells maintain high levels of reactive oxygen species, UCLA study finds
    http://www.semel.ucla.edu/autism/news/11/jan/06/neural-stem-cells-maintain-high-levels-reactive-oxygen-species-ucla-study-findFree radicals and antioxidants in normal physiological functions and human disease.Valko M, Leibfritz D, Moncol J, Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2007;39(1):44-84. Epub 2006 Aug 4.A review of the interaction among dietary antioxidants and reactive oxygen species. Seifried HE, Anderson DE, Fisher EI, Milner JA.J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Sep;18(9):567-79. Epub 2007 Mar 23The benefits and hazards of antioxidants: controlling apoptosis and other protective mechanisms in cancer patients and the human population.Salganik RI. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Oct;20(5 Suppl):464S-472S; discussion 473S-475S.Polyphenols: factors influencing their sensory properties and their effects on food and beverage preferences, Isabelle Lesschaeve and Ann C Noble http://www.ajcn.org/content/81/1/330S.full

  40.  Dude. The corndog without breading. This kills me. So funny. I mean, probably not when you’re trying to get him to eat a hot dog, but…

    Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I promise. Welcome.

  41. Amen, Sistahz!!! Holy Cow! My son has almost the exact same “menu”. The pediatrician says he’s healthy for his age, so I say bring on more crustless, perfectly quartered PB sandwiches and McNuggets.

  42. Loved this post, I can relate.  Relatives think you should force feed, your gut tells you gently nudge, and work with an OT.  I came to the conclusion after talking to my friends whose kids are now practically grown, that kids can indeed survive on Cheese slices alone for at least 4 months, and still grow up just fine.  So, if my son wants PBJ sandwiches everyday, I’m ok with it.  

  43. That’s encouraging that you have grown to like some vegetables. What you say about the lettuce is exactly why I don’t try to force Jack to eat stuff he really objects to. Even if it seems delicious to me, it might be incredibly offensive to him and it seems unfair to force him. Thanks so much for your perspective!

    And if patchouli tastes as bad as it smells, I imagine it would be REALLY bad. :)

  44.  Right? Jack is all, “I don’t care if they are broccoli trees, I still will not eat it.” Or at least that is what I assume he is saying with his pursed lips and disgusted look. :)

  45.  It is amazing how these kids can intuit differences between brands. But…lima beans? Really? That is impressive.

    I would probably sell my soul if any of my kids would eat a sandwich.

  46.  Oh, it is not just you, I promise. Isn’t that amazing about the hamburger? Wow.

    I am appalled at your school for grading your girl on her eating habits. That is outrageous. Rant away.

  47.  I don’t even know what a sultana is, so you’re one up on me. And this actually really does make me feel better, because you are clearly alive. Hooray!

  48. Love that story.  Eating an apple dipped in peanutbutter is brave!  I think I might try getting Aaron to eat a bite of something at lunch by telling him about a brave boy named Jack…although I think I’ll leave out the part about throwing up.  Pretty sure it won’t work, but hey, maybe this will be the day a little peer pressure and a story of immense bravery will give him the nudge to eat something besides applesauce, bread and frosted mini-wheats.

  49.  Man, steamed broccoli. You are living the dream.

    I do wish you luck with the feeding therapy. You know that I have the utmost sympathy for the vomiting. Been there.

  50.  Yep. All that sensory stuff.

    It’s like your Jack skipped straight to adult food. Gyros? Raw spinach? That’s cool. I wish he were still driving you crazy with the booger/not burger eating.

  51.  Yay! Pretzels! Congratulations! Autism parenting is a whole other thing, huh? :)

    You have MULTIPLE food groups in that list, you could be doing worse.

  52.  I’m encouraged by the adults that have reported back to me that they don’t eat fruits or vegetables and are still alive, so I feel much more chill about the whole thing. I’d rather have his food be a happy experience than a nutritionally well-rounded one at this point. (Although I wouldn’t be averse to accidental nutrition. :) )

  53.  Yeah, leave out the end of the story!

    (As for the commenting thing, I think if you go to the Disqus site, you probably have some sort of profile associated with your email address. All you have to do is fix it as you prefer.)

  54. We call K our super taster.  

    His limited diet is why I never tried a gfcf diet.  He was already pretty entrenched on a few items when we got the ASD diagnosis.  Our local supermarket changed the packaging on their store brands.  For weeks we had a constant battle over whether the food was “real” or not.   

    K won’t take vitamins.  The only fruit he gets is the orange juice he takes with his meds and fruit snacks.  He loves the rice at his favorite Mexican restaurant but he very carefully picks out all of the mixed veggies that are in it.  Even the tiniest bit of carrot.  

    However, I choose to look on the bright side.  It means there is less I have to think about when I make him breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I know what he’s having.  So then I just have to worry about the rest of us.  

  55. The packaging!!! Mine used to eat Wheat Thins, then they changed to more whole gran and the bix which used to say 11% Whole Grains, now says 21% Whole Grain and my Bigs was all – Oh, hecks no, Ma!

  56. This is so familiar!  My son with SPD hasn’t eaten a fruit or vegetable other than applesauce since he was 2 and he is now 8.  The few times I have tried to force him, he has dry heaved and had a giant meltdown at the table.  So…I repeat, he has not had a fruit or vegetable since he was 2.

  57. I used to work at a children’s hospital with a feeding program and they often saw kids who would only eat foods of a certain color. My favorite was the little boy who would only eat red food. Anything red he was good with. Any other color – nope, not happening! 

  58.  Oh, sandwiches.  That’s a dream of  mine too!  My son has never had a traditional sandwich including hamburger, pbj, etc.  He eats waffle sandwiches with pb and Nutella in between.  I figure that’s healthier than a hamburger or lunch meat sandwich anyway, right!?

  59.  Jack used to eat peanut butter sandwiches and I was so happy. And then he stopped. And I was very sad.

    I’d say you’re good with the waffle sandwich. :)

  60. He has advanced.  Now he will eat the breading–but sure don’t know why or for how long.   He will eat Fazoli’s ravioli but only that type. No home cooked stuff!  Seems like G-man eats a few more items than some but no veggies (except the corn they all seem to like).  He does like fruit

  61. Hi, 
    The number of comments on this discussion thread is amazing!  While I don’t have small children, I can perhaps offer some hope wrt nutrition.Please check with your healthcare provider for specific nutritional guidance.So, our traditional family meals always had two vegetables, one meat or protein, and one starch [rice, potato, pasta, noodles, bread, etc.].  That seems somewhat balanced, though the nutritional guidelines have changed since then.  :)  We also took vitamins.  However, one family member went through a ‘phase’ during which he would eat mostly bologna [cut into small pieces, thankyou] and pepperoni [not the whole pizza slice, just the pepperoni].  PB&J sandwiches were also ok, as I recall.He is still alive, seems healthy, and is 6′ 4″.  I, on the other hand, can’t stand to eat any meat at all.  Eww.  Of course, I was a vegetarian during college, so I guess that isn’t too surprising.   

  62. I was a very selective eater as a kid. I would eat an uncooked hotdog, but not a cooked hotdog or a bun. I would eat meatballs, but not hamburger. Except at McDonalds, where I would only eat a PLAIN hamburger, with nothing on it (no, not even ketchup – and yes, special ordering a hamburger for your picky kid means “fast food” is not at all “fast”). I know it was really hard on my mom and finally she just started telling people. “Well, if anyone ever tries to kill her by poisoning her food, they will be totally out of luck.” It made me feel like my mom thought I was really stealthy and smart.

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