Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Best Compliment Ever

(At least it would be, if I could take any credit for it.)

As I child I was a terrible eater. I distinctly remember a female figure spoon–feeding me and begging me to please swallow. My tiny mouth closed shut with several bites of food still inside, unchewed, stuck in there since the feeding begun. I also remember hiding food my mom forced me to eat. Like the time I put cooked beans on my pockets trying to sneak them out of the kitchen. Mom noticed immediately by the brown wet stain covering the front of my dress. Or the many times that I put “yucky” food in a purse kept in a hiding place. Mom eventually found it with all the “treasures” inside, plus the worms that had grown in it. Funny (and yes, gross): I guess I was terrified to throw stuff to the trash… So I really don’t know what kind of miracle occurred for me to start liking food, and even things like seafood, a delight I hopelessly hated my whole childhood. (Brussel sprouts I still hate, and always will.)

Given such background, I always thought that life would make me pay for it with my child. Except, I seem to have gotten lucky: Joaquin is a great eater (so far). It’s only for this reason that I understand his reaction to avocado, the only thing he seems to consistently hate. Those close to me know that I LOVE avocado. Everything tastes better with avocado. Maybe even poop would be more palatable with a few slices of avocado (ok, that’s a stretch). Naturally, I presented the green mush to Joaquin like “If you are my son, you’ll like this”. But he didn’t. And he didn’t like it the second time I tried. Nor the third. Nor the fourth. He gagged, and coughed, and made grimaces that made me stop torturing him, and offer him instead his beloved bananas.

Over the last few weeks I’ve increasingly had to offer Joaquin bottles of previously frozen breast milk because he’s hungry for more than my breasts have to offer. I’m not sure if his preparation for the growth spurt happened on one of my days off, and I didn’t pump, and so my milk supply did not increase to the new level of demand he needs. Or maybe I’m eating less than I used to. Whatever the reason, I’ve started to consider that I may have to start supplementing with formula soon, and maybe this will eventually lead to a full wean off the breast. So I asked our pediatrician: Will he accept formula?… He replied, of course! If he’s hungry he’ll eat whatever I give him.

And today, seeing how my stash of frozen breast milk is quickly going down (I’m pumping less than I’m using), I decided to try offering Joaquin a bottle of formula as soon as he ran out of breast milk during his bedtime feeding. It looked so white, creamy, and beautiful, this thing had to be delicious!… Except, Joaquin reacted like he was drinking poop WITH avocado. He gagged, coughed, and made grimaces. But the absolute highlight was when I heard something that sounded like a gag, a cough, a choke, and an irate squeal all at once. He looked at me with an expression of sadness and surprise, like, is this a bad joke? Please bring on the real stuff.

I just wish I could take credit for the “deliciousness” of the fruit of my breasts.

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  1. On , jennifer Wolfgang wrote:

    Now, did YOU like avocado when you were little? I know I absolutely hated it until probably in my teens. The nursery school I went to did a new food tasting every so often and one day it was avocado… it was the most disgusting thing ever. But now, I totally agree. Anything could be good with a slice of it… mmmmm. Now, I can’t say anything for formula and breast milk, of course!

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    Oh. I’m not sure I even liked cake!… So, you’re totally right: I probably hated avocado too. Crazy kid.

  3. On , Petie wrote:

    I was a picky eater and it did come back to haunt me, in the form of Joelle! She’s better, a little bit, now. As she says, “I’m not THE pickiest eater any more, mommie, just a little picky now.”

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    I hope there is hope for her. Like there was for me…
    We have a running joke here inspired by the time we went to the Salt Lick and Joelle didn’t have anything to eat. I offered her to try some of my food, but every time I spoke, she’d interrupt me by quickly replying “I-I-I DON’T EAT THAT!”