Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Ya Got Cookin’?

Let’s face it. I’m not going to live forever. The world can barely handle a mere lifetime’s worth of me as it is, so that’s a good thing overall.  

However, it worries me as the parent of a special needs child. At some point Kiddo will have to brave this world on his own. That’s why I’m such a crazed fiend when it comes to teaching him basic life skills. Choosing clothes to wear, putting laundry away, clearing his place at the table ... stuff parents of neuro-typical (NT) children take for granted ... well it takes some doing in the Jock household. Every chance I get, I’m shoving some learning-based project down the poor boy’s throat. 

And speaking of shoving stuff down his throat... 

Cooking his own lunch has become Kiddo’s Saturday project for the last few weeks. He’s pretty good at pouring his own juice now, and he’s been popping waffles in the toaster for breakfast for months. Because my life isn’t complicated enough (ha!) I thought we might be ready to step it up a notch. 

Two reasons for getting my son into the kitchen to cook. First, the aforementioned life skill thing. Child cannot live by waffle alone. Second, like many kids with autism, Jacob is limited in what he will eat. Textures, the look, and the taste all come into play when it comes to what he will and will not shove into his mouth. Apparently the television remote is delicious, because he is always chewing on that. If plastic was a food group, we’d be in good shape. 

Alas, it is not. So in my attempt to get Kiddo to eat more of what Mommy and Daddy like to eat (that would be everything for us hogs), I thought cooking his own food would encourage the boy to expand his taste buds. 

I found an amazing weapon to wield in this new battlefront. Special Day Cooking: A Life Skills Cookbook was written specifically for kids with developmental challenges. It offers safe to prepare, quick, and easy to follow recipes. I nearly did a back flip when I found this treasure, available from http://specialdaycooking.com/. 

I can’t say enough about this book. Implementing just the toaster and microwave for cooking, kids can prepare all sorts of yummy meals and snacks for themselves. Kiddo started off with English muffin pizzas. He’s also made scrambled cheesy eggs and bacon, among other things. He’s so proud of himself as he takes his plate to the table and eats food he made. He’s even building on the recipes, adding ingredients he likes. I admit to bursts of unadulterated glee as I watch him create and enjoy the end result of his efforts. I can tell he gets a thrill out of it himself. 

It’s not gourmet food by any means. It’s something much better. It’s one less reason for me to worry when the time comes for me to exit the mortal coil. Kiddo may not have figured out the bathing thing quite yet, but at least he’ll have a full stomach while wallowing in his own stench.

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