Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Operation IFO (Increase Food Options)

If you follow us on Facebook you are probably aware that we have begun Operation IFO (Increase Food Options) in Riley World. 
Image from MorgueFile

Since we decided to take the summer off in Riley World, I, in all my infinite wisdom, decided that come September I would refocus my energies on some things that I have let slide over the years.

One of my goals this fall will be to try and increase the number of food options that Riley will eat. I admit it. Over the past 4-5 years I have slacked off. Riley has never had a very extensive menu but lately things have dwindled down to only a few options for each meal.

*Disclaimer:  I am not recommending you try any of my strategies with your own child. Much has led up to the tactics that I have employed here. Fifteen…yes 15 years in Riley World. Desperate times have called for desperate measures. I kid. Maybe.

Trust me…I am not going into new territory here. For the moment I am only trying to reintroduce foods that Riley used to “eat”. One thing I have noticed these first few days is that the gagging and dry heaving which used to bring us both to tears have not shown up. Yet.

Here is how the first few attempts went down. I promise after this post I will only bore update you via Facebook. Unless of course we hit a major breakthrough or I have nothing else to write about.  ;)

Day 1 Lunch:  Homemade Cheese Pizza

In the past Riley would "eat" Pizza Hut cheese pizza. I know what you are thinking…homemade pizza is not the same and you would be absolutely right. However after 15 years both Riley and I are a little more flexible let's face it...I am...just...tired so homemade pizza it shall be.

Me:       (In my excited voice)  Riley I’m going to make pizza for lunch.
R:         (Grumbling)  Like Pizza Hut.
Me:       Yes!  Would you like cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza?
             (Note: R does not eat pepperoni however "choices" work well.)
R:         Cheese pizza.
Me:       Alright.
R:         Just say ok please.
Me:       OK.
R:         That’s better.

We are also working on eating/biting into said pizza by the slice as opposed to serving up small bite-size pieces. Go big or go home I say.  

After much grumbling, complaining, table-slapping, yelling, picking, and let us not forget…positive reinforcement and well ummm negotiating, R managed to choke down eat 3 pieces of a personal size pizza. Attempt numero uno…COMPLETE!

Day 2 Lunch:

I decided to go back to the ol’ “First…/Then…” technique.

Me:       Riley would you like soup or hot dogs for lunch? (soup being his preferred choice of late)
R:         Soup please. (Sounding happy and pleasantly surprised)
Me:       Sure. First cheese stick; then soup.  Bazinga!
R:         Just soup please.
Me:       (No response. I just walked away. Walked away quickly.)

When I called him for lunch he came down to find this at his place at the table.

  
Before he even sat down… “It tastes terrible!”

Now for those of us who have no food aversions being “particular” can be unimaginable or difficult to understand to say the least. After all, it is not unusual for kids to be particular eaters right??  In Riley World it goes beyond what one might consider a reasonable dislike/aversion of certain foods. To better explain some of the challenges we face in Riley World, here is a great article “How to Help a Selective Eater” by Snagglebox. Bec writes the most awesome stuff!!!

Back to the cheese stick. Now of course I knew there were alarms going off all over Riley World about said cheese stick. You saw the picture right?? Go ahead…scroll up and look again. It is not the most attractive piece of bread. It has bits and pieces of yucky stuff on top. The texture is sure to be well…bumpy. YUCK!!!  Ten years ago I would have never attempted anything close to a cheese stick. Ten years ago I would have stayed the course of his limited diet. Ten years ago I had no grey hair either. Ok. Maybe some. HAVE YOU SEEN ME NOW!!! 

Me:       Riley. First cheese stick then soup.
R:         (Picking away at the cheese bits)  I’m all done.
G:         Can I try Buster?
R:         Sure dad.  (Relieved to be rid of one of them off his plate)
G:         Mmmmmm…it’s good. You try.
R:         (Still picking)  I’m not hungry to eat this cheese stick.
Me:       How about you eat just one piece?
R:         (Totally relieved)  Ohhh.kay. That sounds good to me!
Me:       (Quickly remove one off his plate)
R:         (Still picking. Gingerly takes a bite.)  How many more?
Me:       All of it.
R:         (Grumbling)  All of it.

Riley did manage to eat the cheese stick. Soup was on standby and in front of him before he swallowed the last bite. I am counting this as a SUCCESS!!

This has become quite the epic post so before I sign off I am going to leave you with a few observations which will also serve as reminders to me over the coming days…weeks…months…years.  *sigh*

·         Portions must be small enough that when stuffed into R's mouth in its entirety…will not require the Heimlich maneuver. 

·         NO eye contact. If he even suspects you are glancing his way you will hear “You are looking at me! STOP LOOKING AT ME!”

·         Do NOT engage in verbal communication. Any form of conversing will illicit any of the following complaints multiple times “This tastes terrible! or How many more? or I’m not hungry anymore. or This is different.

Seriously…are we only coming up to day 6 of Operation IFO?!?!?  Heaven help us. 

26 comments:

  1. I've been following your Operation IFO on FB. You are one good, wise, strong mama. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks C!! I could use ALL the luck I can get. Let's hope he won't break me this time. Haahaa!

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  2. Cheering from here! So can relate! Good stuff.

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    1. Thanks Mama Fry! Makes me feel better that I'm not alone here. :)

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  3. I need to follow you. my 17 month old eats 5 foods, yes. 5. foods.

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    1. If it makes you feel any better...at 17 years old I think Riley only had about 5 foods. ;)

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  4. You are funny and B.R.A.V.E and a good mom Di,cause in the end OpIFO will help more than it is paining him now ... btw: I LOVE his comment 'This is different'... yes it is, and that what makes it funny (if not painfully so!

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    1. I hear ya...whenever he says "this is different"...I have to smile too! :D

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    1. Haaahaaa....let's hope so Robbie! :)

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  6. Oh hang in there. You are doing good so far. Go mom! Go Riley!

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    1. Thanks Kenya! Maybe waiting all these years wasn't such a bad idea afterall. Haaahaaa!

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  7. I know this isn't hilarious to you, but since I'm not going through this--I was a amused with the way you shared. (Sorry!) It is difficult to understand food aversions for someone like me who likes almost anything put in front of her. I would be frustrated and I know you are, but hang in there. You are doing great and maybe, just maybe, someday Riley will eat everything in sight. Hmmmm. Maybe that's too big of a dream. Maybe he'll eat a few things in sight. Good luck and thanks so much for participating in Share Your Story Sunday at Out One Ear.

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    1. I was pretty particular as a young child too so "get it" on some levels. :) Having said that, although mentally exhausting for me...R has been a real trooper this time round. No need to apologize either...it is very amusing for me too. Haahaa!

      Thanks for hosting! D

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  8. The cheese stick is a huge success! Go you! Go Riley (agreeing with Kenya)! I'm here from Linda (Out One Ear's) FB blog share. So glad I came over. We, too, have a picky eater and have been working on getting him to try more foods. He's not really at the point where we can negotiate with him the way you are able to with Riley but I'm inspired by the cheese stick story (which they look REALLY good by the way).

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    1. Maturity has played a huge part in Riley World...for both him and me. Haahaa! :D

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  9. Wow, that's awesome!! Samantha is a pretty picky eater, also eliminating certain foods from her diet mysteriously over the years, but she's gotten way, way better about trying new things. I also use the first/then method, which is fantastic!! I'm so glad you've had success!

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    1. Thanks Becca! First/Then method has saved our bacon sooooo many times although nothing is 100% fail-proof. *sigh*

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  10. WOW! This sure sounds like hard work, but your perseverance appears to be paying off. Congratulations on keeping on trying, and keeping it together in the face of opposition.

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    1. Our Pizza Hut experience kept me on a high for 2 days!!! Haahaa! Seeing results makes it all that much easier to stay the course. That and wine. Wine helps me keep it together. ;P

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    2. Definitely sounds like a plan! Keep going with it :) You're making headway :D

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    3. One bite at a time. Thanks!!!

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  11. You're doing great! Keep up the good work! I've known moms of Riley-types of eaters and they have fallen into the screaming, banging their head against the wall tactical phase which seems to garner lesser results. Thank you for sticking to the plan--Clearly he is benefitting! :)

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    1. This has been an ongoing "battle" over the years in Riley World. Depending on what's been going on we have had to let things "just be" for our sanity. I am hopeful that at 19...we are all ready. :)

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  12. Sounds like you're having great successes!!!Overall ;)

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    1. Slow and steady...slow and steady. That's what I keep telling myself anyways. ;P

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