Diabetic Educator: So Molly, what new foods have you tried?
Molly: Hmmm, I tried brown rice on our trip. We went to Panda Express and they were out of white rice so I thought, ok, guess I could give it a try!
This is Molly’s version of getting crazy and trying something so out there it might just kill her–brown rice.
“What about camp this year?” asks the diabetic nurse.
“I don’t think we’re ready for camp yet,” I reply. “Well, I’m not ready.”
Yes, I’m scared to let my little girl who has never been to camp before diabetes go anywhere without me now that she is diabetic — forget a whole week.
But my real fear?
What will she eat???
I highly doubt the cooks at a camp for diabetic kids will be too keen on feeding her spaghetti, hotdogs and pizza all week.
Since Molly’s T1D diagnosis I have been attempting to desensitize her overly sensitive autistic palate with Wilbarger brushing therapy in the hopes we can expand her current five-food menu.
Given how the white rice spiked her sugar like a rocket off Cape Canaveral, the wild and crazy brown rice experiment really only kept us at five. But hey–we didn’t lose any!
The complexity of feeding an Autistic Diabetic child is overwhelming to me, so much so, in fact, that when her doctor said the word ‘diabetes,’ my first reaction wasn’t, “She’ll never be able to handle needles!” or even “My poor little bee can’t have cake!”
It was, “Let me tell you why this isn’t going to work for us–she doesn’t eat anything. What am I going to feed her????”
When Molly was a baby, she ate all kinds of different baby food. I have all the requisite pictures of her face covered in prunes, apricots, squash, peas. The only baby food she didn’t like was macaroni and cheese. (And really, who can eat that stuff? It smells like dog food!) Ironically, mac and cheese became one of her narrowing list of acceptable foods. For a minute.
As she grew, her appetite got pickier and pickier. In the beginning we at least got fish sticks and chicken nuggets. Slowly, one by one, they were examined more carefully and found to have nefarious terrorizing intent.
Cheese? Smells stinky. Banned.
Fish sticks? Feels slimy. Banned!
Yogurt? Tastes sour. Banned!!
Pizza? Yes. Spaghetti? Yes. Rice? Yes. If it weren’t for the hot dogs, I’d be concerned our daughter was developing white supremacist issues. Thank God for brown rice!
Our only salvation in this monochromatic diet is that she eats raw veggies–loads of them. Carrots, cucumbers, peas, peppers. I bet I spend $50 a week on peppers (where I live they think it’s an exotic ethnic food worthy of import charges).
If you’ve been censoring judgy comments throughout the last few paragraphs, don’t bother. I feel enough mom guilt over her diet to warrant serious medication, but it amplifies off the chart when I’m feeding her in public while giving her insulin shot.
“She doesn’t eat that all the time, does she?” queries a concerned grandmother/retired nurse.
“Oh no, only once in awhile when we are out for lunch,” I lie through a pasted on smile.
Mom guilt climbing.
“Can a diabetic have ice cream???”
“On special occasions!” Guilt-o-meter pushing toward the red line.
And then her sugar alarm goes off.
That’s it. I need to go home and cry.
My husband and I have tried bribing. We’ve tried cajoling. We’ve tried ordering. We’ve tried threatening. We’ve tried begging till we are blue in the face.
Molly would starve before she’d eat something on the no fly list. A full-size bottle of shampoo will get through airport security before a piece of chicken breast will cross her lips.
So for now, I just keep brushing her gums and offering her a bite of my pot roast.
Don’t worry dear–it only looks like a bomb.