As a teacher of children with Autism, I have always worked hard and teaching my students to sit during snack and lunch time and to sit through the entire meal. So often, parents have shared their frustrations with meal times and how their chid is a grazer. I’ll admit, during my beginning years where I was not a parent myself, there was some quiet judging. How do you not make your child sit at the table to eat? Years under my belt teaching little ones with autism quickly showed me its easier said than done.
So when I became a parent of a child with autism, I decided it was important to me that she not be a grazer and sit at the table during meal times. Ha! That’s funny! Wow, have I failed with that goal! My goal now during meal time is her to eat. Just eat. And preferably more than a fruit pouch, milk, animal crackers and a slim Jim. Oh…and I gave up them sitting at the table a long time ago. I noticed early on that Courtney prefers sitting high up. We could get her to sit longer when on a stool at the counter than we could in a chair at the table. So, we eat at the counter.
Since them both eating at the same time at the counter rarely happens and when it does it’s quick, I pretty much always snap a picture when it does. Here’s the best part…not only are they sitting at the counter, eating a meal at the same time, they are actually eating the same meal!!!!
There was a downside to this beautiful moment. They weren’t actually served the same meal. Alyssa was eating pizza and Courtney was eating a hot dog. Courtney started refusing pizza several months ago. We recently went completely dairy free for her. Tonight she decided she wanted pizza and stole a piece off of Alyssa’s plate. I quickly ripped the cheese off the piece And then gave her some more pizza without cheese. When the meal was over, I realized the pre-made crust had dairy in it. I was hard on myself for a few minutes about not checking the package. Then I realized, if I had, the awesome moment of them enjoying a meal together probably wouldn’t have happened. Now time to find a pizza crust safe for both my girls.