As my boy grew up his tastes became rather defined. He enjoys a certain spoon when he eats his cereal. He likes a particular napkin over the other napkins. ( The one he likes has bright stripes…!) He needs to be watching a TV show or a movie on the iPad when he eats his meals and he’ll ONLY eat when the show is playing ( he won’t eat during commercials.) He likes to have a drink with his food and he won’t even begin to eat before his drink is next to him. He WILL eat anything and everything you give him… he’s got an enormous appetite. There is a school of thought that children with Down Syndrome may lack the hormone that tells them they are full. I would agree with that. I’ve told him a hundred times “if you eat too much you will be sick…” … nope. Not him. Me? Yes. Him? Nope. That kid could eat for the Olympics. I have to be careful to monitor his intake… Carbs are his love. I know many of us know this feeling but do your parents have to HIDE the bread in your house? LOL! He’s ten now…. I can’t imagine how we are going to keep him fed when he’s a “Growing Teenage Boy” !!
Actually Jack’s tendencies to be particular aren’t all that much of a bother. Once you know what he wants, it’s not really too much trouble to simply provide it for him. Who cares if he likes a particular napkin or spoon? Does it make any difference to anyone? Of course watching TV when he eats can be a pain. I never liked the idea of eating in front of a screen, but if I want him to eat and I don’t want any aggravation, that’s the way that works. That being said, if we are eating a special meal around the dinner table and he is told he can’t play with his iPad, he’s perfectly OK with that. He’ll sit and eat his meal nicely and even tries to make polite, dinner time conversation “What did you DO today, Daddy?” I love that he does that. So sweet of him! Jack’s “special needs” have actually made us more thoughtful in our own behaviors. We consider what he desires and we let go of perfectionism and expectation. We allow his behaviors to add to our lives rather than to dominate them or to cause problems.
It was hard for me to grow comfortable with the fact he wants to eat all the time. I remember taking him to a homeschooling coop and they had a large plate of cookies out for all the children. Obviously everyone was expected to take only one. Jack stationed himself by the plate and set to work. He’d have eaten the entire plate if I’d have let him, I’m sure he would. I hauled him away, apologizing to the nice lady who provided the treats…”He just wants to eat them ALL” I whined… ” Well, I do too” she wisely said “I just know I shouldn’t” .. Jack has no such qualms. There are cookies, he likes cookies, he should eat ALL the cookies!! We learned with him that as long as he ate the last one, he felt he had eaten them all. We could take a bag of M&M’s for instance, empty out all but six of the candies and hand him the six in the bag. He was perfectly happy with that arrangement. As long as he got the last one. Tricky lesson to figure out, but handy, once we did. 😀