The most intense learning situations in my life have been in my role as Andy’s Mother. The most rewarding learning experiences come from working with Andy and others who are on this journey with us.
I can tell when people wonder if I actually do the things that I talk about in my own home. It’s a reasonable question, really. Andy, with all his uniqueness, is his own person. What we do is tailored to his success.
Tonight is a great example.
Earlier this year we took trips to our local New Seasons Market, with photos of cuts of meat and text for the specific order, and purchased different cuts of meat. Andy now thinks the meat department is the best part of the store.
Andy decided that today he wanted to be in charge of our dinner menu. It caught Charli, Andy’s support provider, and me by surprise, but we grabbed a couple of the meat order cards and let him make a choice. He chose chicken kebobs.
Off we went to the store. Andy marched straight back to the meat counter, where we met Mason. There were a few people there, but Mason was ready for the next order. As Andy handed over his card, Mason grinned from ear-to-ear, saying “I love this!”
He then asked if he could show the card to his coworkers. They all smiled as they watched Andy waiting – not so patiently – for his kabobs. One person asked if I made these cards. I just smiled and said, “Yes.” (they take less than five minutes to make). They were only impressed for a moment. Andy drew the attention back to himself by peering over the counter to check on Mason’s progress.
Mason handed over our brown wrapped kebobs, and Andy took the package with great pride.
Off we went to pay.
As shown in Cooking by Color: Recipes for Independence, I use a broad guide for planning a balanced meal: if the meal has 3 of the 5 food groups, it is balanced. I always warn parents and providers that this can lead to some odd menus.
Here’s how it went:
I offered Andy a choice of rice or noodles to go with his GF Teriyaki Kabobs. He chose Penne pasta.
I tried again by offering rice noodles or Penne.
He chose Penne.
I offered a choice of tossed salad or sauteed vegetables.
He chose sauteed vegetables.
So I chose to mix the vegetables in with the pasta – something I do often.
Penne Pasta with sauteed Broccoli & Carrots
He proudly – and I do mean proudly – ate every bite.
Walking the walk…eating the choices. It’s an adventure I wouldn’t trade for the world.