Yesterday, Ed and I were experimenting with our groovy new, life-extending Vita Mix blender when we noticed Andrew systematically emptying the refrigerator of vegetables. We did what we often do: ordered him to Stop and then, after spending a few seconds discussing the mystery that is Andrew (deciding in this case that Andrew must be collecting vegetables because he wanted to watch us blend stuff he wouldn't drink on a bet), went back to what we were doing and forgot all about Andrew, who had by this time left the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.
Andrew has never eaten a fresh vegetable in his life. He ate baby food vegetables when he was little, but when he stopped eating baby food he stopped eating vegetables. He doesn't eat fruit, either. Or noodles or rice or eggs or Chinese or Japanese food or hot dogs or hamburgers, and so on. In short, Andrew has an eating disorder. Two eating disorders: his autistic eating disorder (eating disorders seem to be common in autism) and his feeding-tube-as-a-preemie eating disorder (not sure whether doctors believe such a thing exists, but I do).
The reason we have a groovy new, life-extending blender, in case you're wondering, is that my sisters and brother and I have been scared straight by my mom's heart failure,* and my brother's scheme for not getting diabetes and also not getting heart failure was to buy a commercial-strength blender that makes commercial-strength smoothies and the best potato soup my California sister says she's ever eaten.
That ought to do it.
After I'd spent about 60 seconds considering the life-extending properties of the Vita Mix, I realized that the person in the household who really needs a life-extending commercial-strength blender is Andrew. For years I've been worried about his horrifically poor diet, and I've hatched various schemes to try to force some vegetable juice down him, none of which got off the ground. Andrew will have no truck with V8 juice.
But a commercial blender -- wow. Suddenly I could see a way to start small and work up. Start with something Andrew likes (grocery store apple juice), combine it with a tiny bit of something he doesn't like (any form of actual fruit) and have him drink it the same way he drinks pink antibiotics when he has to. Not willingly, but he gets it down.
Then I had a second brainstorm: positive reinforcement!
the plan: Blend half a box of apple juice in the Vita Mix and show Andrew that the other half is still inside the box, unadulterated & correct, waiting to be his once he swallows the blend.
Andrew has now eaten (well, drunk) the first 7 grapes of his entire life. Also the first 3 slices of banana.
It's a miracle.
So back to yesterday afternoon. As I say, we forgot about Andrew and went back to what we were doing, which was figuring out how to make commercial-quality smoothies in the privacy of our own home.
A little later in the day I went upstairs to Andrew's room and found a brand new Barney tableau: vegan Barney.
Somebody's going to have to tell Andrew tyrannosaurus rex was not a herbivore.
* update 7/3/2011: My mom didn't have heart failure as we learned much later.