February 6, 2011

I Want a Happy Meal

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments tagged at 2:02 pm by autismmommytherapist

It’s 6:00 PM on a Tuesday night, sixty minutes into the “witching hour” at my house. This is the time of day where Justin generally becomes delightful, and Zach begins his rapid descent into mild pre-school histrionics. Tonight however, my progeny seem to have joined forces, are united in their disdain for absolutely any food item I have to offer them. They are secured into their dinner seats, Zach for his safety as we worry he’ll wiggle his way to a concussion one day, and Justin is in his special chair simply because it comforts him. My husband is seated at the far end of the table, rolling his eyes at the boys’ numerous demands. I am silently cursing those studies indicating family meals are conducive to family health.

At this moment, they are certainly not conducive to MY mental health.

It all started out so well. I had liberated my crock pot from its isolated perch above unmatched mounds of Tupperware, and had decided to try out a new recipe for beef burgundy. I knew this meal would only entice me and my husband, as it would not fall under the umbrella of pizza/hot dogs/pork/chicken that generally sustains my picky eaters. As I watch my husband’s face I am aware that this new variation on a theme has fallen far short of delectable, even though Jeff is attempting to be polite and is actually ingesting it, albeit gingerly.

Why I have yet to be tapped to appear on “Worst Cooks in America” is still a mystery to me.

I had higher hopes for the boys tonight, but clearly they are not enthralled with my menu choices for them either. I typically end up creating three different meals each night, one for the adults, one adhering to the gluten-free, casein-free diet of my youngest child, and one that takes into account the restricted tastes of my eldest. I’ve been trying to reintroduce vegetables, an act which so far tonight on both counts has been regarded as high treason. Justin has removed the offending carrots he used to wolf down with, if not glee, at least resigned defeat, and has created a tenuous tower of orange in the center of the table. Zach has taken his disgust for legumes to a new level and has thrown his string beans on the floor, protesting vociferously as I tell him he’ll have to retrieve them after dinner. He then turns to Jeff with sad eyes, and asks his father in a voice filled with indignation if he’ll “save him from mean mommy”.

Frankly, I’d like someone to save mean mommy.

Over the course of the next ten minutes Justin makes three breaks for dessert and liquids, all after rejecting the organic, BMW-priced chicken nuggets he happily consumes at least three to four nights per week. Zach has informed me with gusto that he “hates potatoes”, reviles the cousin of the spud he successfully consumed the night prior. He requests juice, napkins and toys at least sixteen times (even though the dinner is a disaster, I console myself that at least I’m getting a work-out). My husband is still wearing an air of resignation as he relentlessly chews his meal, and I’m certain he’s hoping his dessert for actually eating it will come later.

I can assure you, it won’t.

I tough out my rendition of wine-drenched cow, stifle my annoyance, and inwardly laugh. It turns out, since we had more than a few bumps on the road to fertility, that I had my children much later than most of my friends. As I regard the unhappy tableau before me I recall numerous conversations in the past with these women, all revolving around the irritation of making multiple meals, as well as the annoyance of unappreciative husbands and offspring. They would recall their own experiences with that insidious “meal-time malaise”, which would particularly infuriate them after their heroic attempts to appease multiple palates. If I could speak to my friends right now they’d reassure me they’d “been there, done that”, their final salve being that sometime in the glorious future, I might one day be fortunate enough to concoct a meal that might satisfy one and all. Let’s just say, for the record, I’m not holding my breath.

Mommy wants a happy meal.


  1. Misifusa said,

    Happy meals are eating out and being served by someone else who brings you a meal not prepared by you, not cleaned up by you and not planned by you with a glass of wine or two and a dessert which consists of something chocolately! This Mommy wants a Happy Meal too! When do we leave?

  2. Cathy said,

    I love this post. Reminds me why I stopped even trying to pretend that we were all going to eat the same meal, at the same table, at the same time! Reinforces me for those moments when my parents remind me that my brother and I were never ‘catered to’ at the table. We were only excused from eating liver and onions, although we had to make our own peanut butter sandwiches and still sit at the table watching our parents consume organ meat. ((shudder))

    • Wow, “organ meat”, now that’s a picture! I think these feelings are universal whether you have an autistic child or not!

  3. mamafog said,

    I feel your pain, and I’d like a Happy Meal too. I’m a bit jealous that your son will eat chicken nuggets.

    I hope your boys are more in an eating mood today. Sometimes my husband and I will eat a late dinner after my daughter goes to sleep, that helps to take the drugery feeling away for a little while.

    • Hah, I’m too tired by then! Hang in there, she might like them someday. He finally went for the expensive organic ones.

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