Tales of a Teenage Aspie – Part 1: Food

My kid is 13.
I can’t even completely absorb that statement.
My son is 13 years old.
I figured the gypsies would have carted him off by now. That’s what my mother always said would happen to me.
13 is strangely more awkward than 12 was. He’s so…well…big. Big in his body and movements. He’s like my sister’s Great Dane puppy: Gigantic head and feet. He’s 5’10” and he’s starting to look like a line backer.
See what I mean? Just. So. TALL.
Another thing. He EATS. All. The. Time. I don’t know how this is physically possible, or how it follows the laws of physics. He’s constantly putting food into his mouth. I don’t know where it ends up.  I asked him about it the other day. I made dinner. Jambalaya (one of his favorites). He was shoveling it in like a backhoe.
I saw him take the biggest bite of food. It should have been a 1/4 of a cup size scoop instead of a spoonful. I still have no idea how gravity did not factor into this equation. I said, “Buddy, small bites please!” He looked at me with the look of, “Well, duh, this is how I feed myself.”
We started talking about food, making food, what it does to our bodies, etc. I have asked him a million times, “Are you hungry?” and his immediate answer will be no. I then counter with, “Do you want me to make you a sandwich/food?” and he’ll quickly respond yes. I pondered this for a bit and was confused how this could be. I had him come into the kitchen with me as I made a roast beef sandwich.

He eyed the roast beef slices with disgust as I piled it onto a whole wheat bun and topped it with a slice of American cheese. He cringed as I brought it close to his face. Then, the lightbulb went off. “You don’t like the feel of the lunchmeat, do you?” I asked. He shook his head no and was still recoiling from it as I put a small piece in between his fingers. He looked at me with disdain as I held it gently. I put the meat up to his mouth and he ate it. He took the sandwich and ran for the table to eat it.

I had always thought that he was just being the average teenager and didn’t have the initiative to make himself any type of food. He was being an average Aspie teenager and avoiding things that are slimy. I told him that I would get him food grade gloves so that he wouldn’t have to make direct contact with said slimy meat. I also told him that we can work on serving food into bowls from containers and practicing how long they should be reheated in the microwave. After the moist roast beef incident, N proudly crowed, “I made myself a peanut butter sandwich! But you forgot to buy jelly. Or, you just didn’t buy jelly. Can you buy me grape jelly?”
That’s the tricky thing about Aspies. They’re usually so literal and logical that they primarily tell the truth. Lying or using deception isn’t their strong suit. N has been honing his super spy skills for about a year and sometimes gets away with things for a long time before I catch on. He gets frustrated when I do figure it out, as then he has to deal with whatever it is he’s been trying to avoid. He has anxiety around food. If it’s not what he is exactly used to, then he won’t eat it. At school, if there is a small hurdle between him and a preferred meal, he won’t eat it. It’s been a challenge to get him to realize that he can’t always eat from Mom’s kitchen. (Even then, sometimes he’s unpleased with the menu).
Now, if I can only get him hydrated….

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