Grilled Cheese and Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Sounds like that start of  bad joke or a big mess, doesn’t it?  Actually, those three things are my big surprises of the week that led me to an interesting hypothesis.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain my hypothesis in a minute.

Yes, hypothesis.  I’m a science nerd people, just go with it.

First, a quick review.  We have established that A is beyond picky when it comes to food due to her sensory problems (as G puts it), so finding new foods leads to much rejoicing in our house.  This week, during a grocery run, we happened upon someone handing out samples of yogurt covered pretzels.

Yes, it sounds a bit disgusting, but anyone who has had one knows that they are strangely addictive and actually pretty good.  They do have a weird texture though even if you are neurotypical and I didn’t think A would go for them.

SURPRISE!  She not only ate it, she gobbled it up and looked for more.  Needless to say, a box quickly found it’s way into our cart.  It may not be something I would normally buy, but at 29 calories a piece they make a great side if she struggling with eating.  Now, if I can just keep my husband out of them…

Today’s weather; cold, wet, and generally gray, always puts me in a soup sort of mood.  So, tonight became a grilled cheese and tomato soup night.  A has occasionally eaten half of a grilled cheese, but in the past few months she has repeatedly refused to eat it.

Just for the record, my grilled cheese is very basic, butter the bread, slap on a slice of cheese, and cook it in a pan.  Nothing fancy at all, but apparently A found something offensive about it.  But all that changed tonight, when she ate not only her half of a sandwich, but almost half of mine as well.

In between bites of her own sandwich, SURPRISE!  A looked around the table then into the kitchen and uttered,

“Oop!  I want own oop!”

Pause.  Blink, blink.  “Come again?”

“Want own oop pease Mommee!”

Wow.  Not only did she want her own soup, but she actually uttered a spontaneous sentence, with manners, fairly clearly.  I was shocked.  I didn’t know what to say, what to do.  I stood there, poised to set G’s bowl of soup down staring at my little daughter who never, ever wants soup wondering if she is serious.  Then it hit me, she’s actually eating and asking for food.  Needless to say, I got her a small bowl of soup.

Did she eat it?  Well, no.  Not exactly.  She did take two bites though!  I don’t think she cared for the taste too much judging by the face she made both times.  The first bite was still pretty warm and she really didn’t like it.  The second bite I cooled to room temperature and she was much more receptive to it, but once the taste hit she made the funniest face and grabbed her cup as fast as she could.

The upshot of all this it that I can clearly put grilled cheese back in the rotation but soup, especially tomato, is a no go.  All which leads me to my hypothesis.

See, I told you we get here eventually.

Because of being diagnosed as failure to thrive (FTT), I have been keeping a record of A’s diet for our visits with her nutritionist, so I have a good record of what she has been eating since about September.  Looking back through her notebook, I noticed that she really has a very bland diet for the most part.  There is basically nothing in there that has a strong flavor except for the gingerbread biscotti (if it sounds good, the link for the recipe is in my last post, Christmas in Finicky Feeding Land).

A’s reaction to the soup got me thinking about her diet and the foods we’ve tried.  She definitely has an aversion to anything that is more than a few degrees above room temperature be it food or beverage.  Actually, unless it is supposed to be cold (i.e. – yogurt, ice cream, milk, etc), she seems to prefer her food at room temperature.

Following that train led me to the thought that she also seems to have an aversion to just about anything that is seasoned or has a stronger flavor naturally, be it food or drink.  Thinking back, I realized that when she has tried things that have this “strong flavor” characteristic, she made a face much like the one we saw tonight with the soup.  And believe me, we have tried many things.  Anytime A has indicated she wants to try something, be it my tea (unless it’s caffeinated, I’m not that crazy) or something we’re eating, I let her.  But it all seems to have led to the same result, rejection.

Based on this, I believe that A falls into the “bland” category within the sensory realm.  Or, to translate, sensory seekers tend to prefer/crave foods with strong flavors, while sensory avoiders prefer the blander foods.  Apparently A is solidly in the “avoider” category.

Well, that’s my hypothesis anyhow.  Despite her occasional forays into the “seeker” realm, I believe that A is a solid “avoider”.   It will take some more observation and discussion with her therapists, but I’m very certain that this hypothesis will move on to the proven theory realm very soon.

But in the meantime, I have A’s blanket to finish up (more on that later) and a book to read so I’m off to check out from reality for a little bit of well-earned me time!

 

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