No this is not a picture of my family, it's however the dream I aspire to before it's too late.
Before the kids are grown up, living on their own and choosing for themselves what to eat, without me in the background nagging or having them try some new concoction to guzzle down.
For now I dream and hope of organic, heritage fruits and vegetables growing in my backyard and the kids happily picking and eating from the garden, wholesome foods.
But my reality is one child with gluten allergies, and four other children with varying degrees of Autism, ADHD and sensory processing issues that extends to food.
It took a lot of years of struggle, tears, compromise and begging, to get to where they would eat more than 4 items.
Over the years my gardens gradually grew less variety but focused on what the kids could either eat or be hidden in a meal.
One Autistic child cannot stand the smell of cooked cruciferous vegetables, his face scrunchies up, nostrils flare and loudly objects to the offending smell, (smells like farts) coming from the kitchen. Another would rather live on ketchup ham sandwiches and raw ramen noodles for eternity. Trying new foods is akin to asking him to dip his hand in lava and licking it.
Two of the children's taste buds are so sensitive, that they can detect vegetables at a molecular level, I think they could have a successful career as taste testers.
I know many parents who have kids with food sensory issues, you know those kids who only want to eat the Five C's, cheerios, chicken nuggets, chips, and chocolate and cheese!
You dream of being able to make a variety of healthy food menus, with your kids sitting around the dinner table waiting to applaud and devour your latest masterpiece.
However, that dream may not exist for a long time or ever for parents of kids with food sensory issues, or food allergy challenges.
Heaven forbid the manufacturers of Ramen noodles, chicken nuggets or any other processed food manufacturer change their package colors or even alter one ingredient.
These discerning picky customers will pick up on the minuscule change and all hell breaks loose.
In my kids defense the tears, rejection, and resistance have slowly receded over the years.
With the kids being older, it has gotten a little better as we persisted.
We also used the Daily Essential Nutrients formula over the years to lessen many of the symptoms of Autism, ADHD and sensory processing issues.
The list of acceptable fruits and veggies has lengthened for most of my kids except the youngest child, my ketchup ham sandwich lover.
Yesterday as I walked through Broulim's supermarket, I pondered how I could sneak (a new way) some veggies and fruit into my youngest.
I love new kitchen toys and tools, and there in front of me I saw the latest creation in waffle makers. This one made waffles in the shape of Lego's.
My mind raced to making waffles in different colors, surely the youngest wouldn't object to green, blue, or red Lego waffle pieces.
For the red waffles, I blended fresh raspberries, beet juice, strawberries with the waffle mix.
The blue waffles were strictly fresh blueberries blended in, and when I say blended, liquified so no pulp or chunk of fruit could be seen or felt in the mouth!
The green waffles were blended spinach, wheatgrass juice powder, greens and probiotic blend with the waffle mix.
The red and blue had a slight berry taste, but the green veggie waffle had no taste whatsoever.
After blending like a mad woman in the kitchen for over an hour and getting the hang of pouring the right amount of mix into the waffle maker, I proudly displayed my creation to the kids.
Cheers and excitement were heard, and I finally got my applause and devouring of a new food item.
I know this won't win any Pinterest awards for beauty, but I felt a little more competent and successful, especially when the youngest preferred the healthier green veggie waffles over the berry ones.
Hurrah for small successes, fruit and veggies hiding in plain sight!
Never give up!
Josh and Joseph hamming it up for the camera, when I asked to take a picture.