9. Is Eating In Restaurants Worth The Stress?

In this episode, we discuss our experience eating out in restaurants with our special needs children. We converse about the amount of food and table items thrown on the floor, the salting and peppering of the table (ours and other people’s), the yelling, the running, and the fussing. We talk about the places we have taken the children to eat and how poorly it has gone.

We chat about how covered in food we are and how covered the children are. We converse about how many children are usually in our laps. We discuss coping with going out to eat with children. We talk about how we handle the waiting times and how we keep the children busy. We also discuss if we as parents ever get to eat or taste our food.

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Show Music:
Lion Roar: Lion Roar by Iwan Gabovitch under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
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Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Outro: Hi Daddy by daveincamas under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)

Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple

Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or

Copyright 2019 Jessica and Lewis Temple

**Show/Hide Transcript**

Jessica: This is Jessica,

Lewis: and this is Lewis.

Jessica: We have a preschooler and a toddler. Our children are a different kind of perfect. This is a show about surviving Parenthood throughout raising children with special needs while keeping ourselves and our sanity intact. This is FUBAR surviving Parenthood with special needs kids.

Hi, this is Jessica, and

Lewis: this is Lewis.

Jessica: Welcome to FUBAR surviving Parenthood with special needs kids. In this episode, we discuss going out to eat, why we do it, how we survive, and how much salt ends up on every single table in the restaurant. You guys, we are so excited to have our first affiliate “Highlights”.

I’ve been a huge fan of their magazines since I was a kid. I started to actually look forward to going to the doctor because I knew they would have “Highlights magazine” there. I love Goofus and Gallant, hidden pictures, the stories and the puzzles. It  was such a fun magazine. Benji started reading “Highlights Hello” for two and under when he was about a year old and loved looking at the pictures of the babies on the back.

Now Alex subscribes to it and he loves the pictures, the rhymes and puzzles. Plus it’s a pretty much unbreakable magazine, which is great for destructive babies. Benji gets “High Five”, which is for kids from three to five. They have stories, crafts, puzzles, and recipes, just like in regular “Highlights,” but it’s geared toward the younger kids.

Plus there’s always a story that helps kids learn Spanish. I thought that was pretty cool. I recently found a promotion for a free book and tote, so I signed Benji up for the regular “Highlights” too. Is it is such a fun magazine. Not only that, but “Highlights” now has book clubs and all sorts of other puzzle books.

It is super fun. Check out the links on our website in the show notes to get a free book and a tote with your order. We just got ours last week.

All right, Lewis. So today we’re talking about going out to restaurants. When I say that to you, what is your first emotional reaction? yeah. Sounds about right.

My first reaction is, Oh my God, no, and then my second reaction is why? Why restaurants and kids just don’t mix. Yeah. We always go to restaurants and we see other kids just sitting and eating their meal and they actually have food on their plate and not underneath them or underneath the chair, and they’re just

sitting there and yeah, they’re just sitting there and eating and it just amazes me because, wow, that really isn’t our experience. So Lewis, before I go into how I perceive our kids at restaurants, how do you perceive our kids and their behavior at the restaurants?

Lewis: Well, well, it’s a little tricky now that Alex is, he’s rather mobile. And you need to really make sure that he’s strapped down there. Good cause he’ll, he’ll try to get out. And Benji, just trying to get him to sit still for like 30 seconds take takes like flipping miracle to, to get to get accomplish. He does not want to sit down. He wants to get up. He wants to do things.

You want to play with the salt and pepper shakers and move them around like toy cars. He wants to pour the contents out all over the table. He’s just fascinated by stuff sprinkling out and he also seems to really like the taste of those things. Putting his, his wet fingers onto the salt and pepper, touching it, getting him stuck to his fingers, and then putting in his mouth.

And yeah, he actually makes little mm sounds when he does it. So it’s to a slight extent, that’s not a catastrophe in and of itself. It’s just when he starts going to other people’s tables and bothering other people and they’re trying to take their salt and pepper, that’s when it starts. The starts across the line.

Jessica: He’s lucky. He’s cute.

Lewis: Yeah. Oftentimes. We leave the restaurant, I’m half expecting that we’re gonna have someone tell us we’re not allowed back.

Jessica: It’s surprisingly, that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know why or how, but right. Concerned that usually there’s more food on the floor than on the table.

I remember the first time we ever went out to eat with my brother. We found a really nice restaurant. We were living in the middle of nowhere and it was nice restaurant and we went to eat and we got Benji food. He was like, I guess a year and a half old, and we got him spaghetti because it was the only thing we assumed he would eat, but it didn’t really happen. The entire plate got thrown one spaghetti by one spaghetti on the floor and was just underneath him by the end of it. It was amazing.

Lewis: Yeah, it looked like the flying spaghetti monster had made his presence known before us. It was quite an amazing thing. I’m surprised I didn’t start worshiping him.

Jessica: I felt so bad for the waitress and the busboy. It was, it was a mess. And I remember we went out to eat with Lewis, with your dad a few months ago, and poor busboy, like Benji knocked over a cup of water and he came over, the guy came over any, cleaned it up, and then a few minutes later he came over like

did I clean that up, because Benji had knocked over another glass of water and then a few minutes later I was trying to help either Benji or Alex eat, and then I knocked over a glass of water. It was absolutely insane.

Lewis: Yeah. Often it oftentimes a as frustrating all this is because I think at least on one or two occasions, the water ended up in my lap and soaking through to my underwear. I, uh, I usually just lose, and start laughing because it’s just so ridiculous.

Jessica: From what I have observed, Alex, he’s at that age where he just likes to throw everything on the floor. He’s a relatively good eater much of the time, but when we go out, he would much rather throw food on the floor and then he wants it.

When it’s on the floor and disgusting in a restaurant, but he would much rather just throw the food on the floor. He has to touch everything. So he takes the placemats, the napkins, the spoons, the tries to get forks and knives, but we don’t let them, the food, pretty much anything from all of us, but especially Benji because he really likes to make his older brother mad and he really likes to eat nonfood items nowadays.

His favorite is tissues. Apparently he’s a puppy. He does eat everything in sight, but especially everyone else’s food he sees and he’s like, but I want that. He just has these puppy dog eyes like, but I want whatever you’re eating, not what I’m eating, even though I got a nice meal too. I want what you have.

Yeah. And then he just grabs Benji stuff and throws it on the floor and then he fusses loudly because now he’s bored because he has nothing to play with because it’s all floor Benji. He really has a hard time in restaurants. I mean, granted, they’re really loud there. So many people, so much going on.

So I understand why he has difficulty. As you heard from Lewis, his favorite activity and the only one in which he will actually engage is salting the table and then over your other table and the restaurant. And he likes to pepper the table if he gets bored of salting, and then he eats the salt and pepper and he calls that a meal.

And he’s very excited and he’ll tell people the next day he ate salt and pepper for dinner. If we’re very lucky, he’ll sit in a seat for a whole 30 seconds and then we’ll stand on the chair and run around the restaurant. He does not eat. That’s great. We went out to lunch a few weeks ago and Alex ate an entire serving of Mac and cheese and like four pouches, and Benji had two bites of broccoli.

The entire meal. That’s it. So where have we taken the kids? We of course have gone to fast, not necessarily fast food, but like noodles and company type of fastest foods, like I guess casual restaurants. We’ve taken them to regular sit down restaurants. And unfortunately we’ve been to a few nice restaurants for events.

And as you heard a few episodes ago, we also have been to a wedding. None of them really went well because taking the kids to eat is a nightmare, especially since they don’t really eat well at home anyway, and then they have all this extra stimulation. It doesn’t go well. So when each kid was under eating solids age, it was great.

They drank a bottle and slept, and it was easy. They grew up and life got hard. They don’t sit still. 98% of the food ends up underneath them. They are covered in cheese. I am covered in cheese. My hair is sticking out in every direction. At least three glasses have been spilled on the table and the entire table is entirely covered in salt.

I actually found, we went to a County fair this summer and I got home and my entire diaper bag and everything in it was covered in salt. And pepper. And after lunch we went to put on more sunscreen because it was hot and sunny outside, and the sunscreen was covered in pepper. So when we went to sunscreen ourselves, then we were covered in pepper.

It was great. Also, all our belongings had been thrown on the floor and pretty much Lewiss and I just want to run away screaming. It is impossible. We usually don’t get to eat much food and whatever we do eat, get shoved in our mouth. So we don’t taste it. Usually I have one child on my lap at minimum.

So how do you feel it’s gone, Lewis?

Lewis: About as well as you’d expect? I mean, it’s still work in progress. I mean, we’ve made some improvements here and there, but as soon as we start get the hang of it, something changes. And he, during his maturation, he’s. New things pop up or new things that pull his attention and you know, stimulate him.

So if we were to go at a time where he’s been nicely stimulated or something beforehand, and he’s hungry, it’ll go probably relatively well compared to, let’s say the other day when we took him to the restaurant after doing some trick or treating, and that was a failed

Jessica: night.

Lewis: He

Jessica: was spaghetti.

Lewis: Yeah.

He, he, he literally turned into spaghetti now he, he noodles himself. He wouldn’t eat anything. He just kinda like was like laughing hysterically and just kind of like, was lying there, limp. And every time you talked to him and when he gets over, like pushed over the edge like that, there’s no.

It’s not even worth trying anymore because he’s just, he’s just hysterical and he’s just like laughing or he’s crying or something. And it’s a pain, especially when you’re, you’re trying to eat for yourself and you’re also trying to feed, uh, Alex. Yeah. Benji’s a pain. Yeah. It was really hard.

Jessica: We got food. Well, we tried to get food that he would like. The problem was, I don’t know what was going on with the servers there, but when I ordered what I wanted for the kids, they gave me something completely different and the line was so long and it was so crazy, and the kids were losing their minds that I’m like, whatever.

We’ll make the best of it. So we sat them down and it was. Myself, Lewis, the kids and our ABA therapist, and we were trying, all three of us adults were trying to get him to eat, and Benji, he was noodling himself. He was trying to kick us. He was running away. He was eating his hat because he was dressed as a pirate for Halloween.

He was running around the restaurant. He was trying to get into things. He was hiding behind us to try to bother his ABA therapist because he wanted her attention. He was just really, really struggling. And I also had forgotten that I packed an entire bag full of snacks for him. So if he didn’t eat whatever we bought for him, he could eat that.

But I didn’t remember that for the first half hour. So we were kind of stuck feeding him rice and beans and meat, none of which he wanted to touch or wanted it. Anywhere near him. So that was, that was pretty rough. So Louis, when we go out to eat, which unfortunately is more often. Then we expect to, how do you survive that ordeal?

Lewis: I just try to shovel in as much food as possible into myself. Unfortunately, not really typically enjoying it as much as I would like, and depending on, you know, it depends on which kid I’m sitting next to. If it’s Alex, I can often get, get something in there if he’s not too distracted. Benji, it’s another story.

Yeah, it’s really just, I focus on alright, get my food in my stomach, at least I’m satiated, and then, and it’s just, see what I can, I can do. That’s really all there is to it. And oftentimes I can kind of tell when it’s like, alright, it’s worthless, you know, to continue because he’s too overstimulated or something.

Ideally we would have something to kind of counter that, but sometimes even just putting on his headphones doesn’t, doesn’t help. It really depends. We don’t usually carry his weighted blanket around, so it’s even then, it doesn’t always help.

Jessica: Yeah. I’m not really sure how I survive. I do always just want to run away. Most of the time we don’t have anyone to help us or if. We do have someone there trying, but it’s just the kids are limp spaghetti. It’s just impossible. We usually try to tag team the shit show and really no one enjoys ourselves or enjoys themselves. We get a lot of dirty looks from other patrons, but we’re doing the best we can.

It’s just an impossible situation. Usually we just count down the seconds until we can get back to our house. A while ago. I know I keep bringing up these kids’ stories, but I really see them differently now that I’m a parent. While ago we were reading a Berenstain bears book, which I loved those stories as a kid, and granted that was back in the 80s and things were a little different back then, and viewpoints were different, so I can’t remember the name of it, but it was the Berenstain bears go out to dinner.

And the premise is that mama bear has had a really hard day doing all the homemaking stuff and taking care of the kids. So Papa bear comes in and says, Hey, mama bear, we’re going to treat you by going out to dinner. And my first thought is, ah, how is that a treat? Because you’ve just put so much extra stress. There are other people that are going to judge us or judge them, and you’re going to have to wait and the kids are going to want to eat. At least at home, there’s, they take out that extra element of other people and the finances, and then they get there, but there’s no parking, so they have to drive around and then the kids are complaining because they have to wait, and Papa bear is complaining because they have to wait.

So they all decide, Oh, Hey, we’re going to go out for a walk. Mama bear, you get to actually just sit there and wait. And they said, Oh, well you can just take a load off and relax. But really they want to do the fun thing and burden the mother and then they get there and the kids don’t want to eat anything.

And I’m just like, how? How is this a nice thing for Mama bear? A nice thing for mama bear would be get a babysitter, take mom and Papa bear out to dinner, or just mama bear goes out to dinner all by herself so she can enjoy her food and eat it. I just, I don’t see how this is a nice thing. She has to do all the work and they get to chill out and she just gets a hassle of complaining.

And I, I just, I, I had. Issues with it. And I don’t know, maybe I read too much into these things, but it kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Lewis: I mean, I don’t recall the book showing that as like an ideal thing or anything. It’s to look like according to the art, it looked like mama bear was kind of pissed off and everything are kind of frustrated. So I mean. In some ways that’s an accurate, I would imagine, you know, interpretation, right?

Jessica: Yes. However, the point was they were doing this nice thing for mama bear and they were totally missing how stressed that she was and how they were kind of being selfish to her, and they just kept saying, Oh, we’re doing this nice thing. Isn’t this a relief because you’ve worked so hard all day? And it just, I dunno, it was nuts and I, I felt so bad for poor mama bear. So, as I just mentioned briefly, you know, what do we do when we have to wait? Our kids are not quite old enough to just go for a walk. Well, one of us is waiting for the table and we try to go places where there’s not much of a wait, just so we don’t have to deal with that because waiting does not go well.

Like right now, the kids are okay if we’re in a line for something, but just sitting and waiting somewhere does not go well. So we’ve started to bring an entire bag of toys and books to entertain the children. The problem is. I usually forget they’re in my trunk, so we don’t bring them in. These are toys and books that the kids don’t usually have, so it does seem to help, but.

They tend to be toys that apparently neither children gives a crap about. So no matter how often we change things in the bag, it’s much more fun to spill the drinks, throw things on the ground and salt the table. Sometimes one of us will walk around with the children, like not outside, but around in the restaurant.

We usually end up resorting to letting Benji watch something like Elmo on the phone. But nowadays he’d much rather salt the table. The Elmo thing worked for like what a month, and then that was no longer novel and he just doesn’t care anymore. And because restaurants are so loud, he usually just starts screaming and making loud noises.

So you know, this is all before we even get to a table.

Lewis: And in the screaming is obviously. He’s overstimulated because in the morning when you, we’re feeding, uh, Alex, he, uh, Alex often will scream because someone’s not picking him up or not feeding him, even though he’s already chewing on food. And usually in response, a Benji usually will struggle in like loud, which I’m thinking he’s just trying to use like too much noise. Stop, stop screaming, Alex.

Jessica: And then Alex starts doing it because he wants to be just like his big brother. So then they’re both screaming in tongues.

Lewis: Oh, right. Yeah. And then it just kind of, they just feed off each other and it sucks.

Jessica: Yeah. Yeah. I think the waiting to actually get a seat is the easy part. And then before ordering, they’ve already thrown everything on the, on the floor. They’ve already spilled all the drinks. And then once we’ve ordered.

That’s when the table gets salted and Alex throws everything else on the floor, and then after the meal is over, Benji’s usually running around salting other people’s tables and taking other people’s things and throwing things and running around and giggling like a loon and the whole thing has gone to shit.

It’s. Complete insanity yet we keep doing it.

Lewis: Yeah. Usually at least one of the kids will, they have a whole box of milk. They’ll squeeze it out and it will spray all over the floor or onto them, or both. Alex or, Oh, one of us. Yeah. I stopped wearing like really nice stuff. When we go out at me, I’ll wear like a button down shirt usually, but usually it’s a Someone from like the salvation army or something and a pair of Dickies, even though they’re not the most comfortable pair of pants that they, they hold up to two stains in children wrecking you.

Jessica: I know we’ve mentioned this a bunch already, but I can’t emphasize enough the pouring of salt and pepper. Lewis, he’s, he doesn’t have a job where he needs to travel, but he was away for his sister’s wedding and there was no way in hell I was going to stay home with the kids for an entire weekend.

It’s hard enough when we have two to four adults with the kids at home, let alone one. And at the time my thumb was broken, which I’ll get to in just a moment. So I’m trying to take care of two little kids. The doctor had told me I couldn’t lift anything, which, uh, I had a baby at the time because this was earlier this summer.

And so we went to a children’s museum that was nearby. And by the time we left, because apparently even though I have great time management, that doesn’t extend to going out with the children and that it was lunchtime. So we brought a lot of snacks and was trying to feed the kids snacks when we got there and when they were hungry.

But of course, anytime I pack snacks, they’re always the wrong snacks. No matter what I do. Th th the things that they loved five minutes ago and now they no longer likes. So we needed to get food and to be honest, I wanted to treat myself since I was having the craziest weekend. It was just awful.

So we went to a place that was right next door, and I ordered food to go so I could feed the kids when we got home, because I did not want to be in a restaurant for a long period of time by myself with the kids. But it took 15 to 20 minutes for the food to cook and be ready, and then they kept forgetting to bring out parts of what I’d ordered.

So I was sitting at the table waiting with the kids, and Alex kept accidentally banging his head on the high chair or on the table or on Benji. And Benji was so excited because we were the only people in the restaurant, and he had. All the tables to salt. And no matter what, no matter how many times I tried to get him to sit back down or occupy them with something else or give them my phone or anything else I could think of, he just run around salting the tables and they all had a nice inch of salt on every single table.

And then he got the pepper and pepper at every table and they had one other sort of condiment type thing. And he used that as well. And at that point he wasn’t even eating it anymore. He just wanted to. Salt and pepper, everything, and it was just complete chaos and I was by myself, so there wasn’t all that much I could do, especially since we’re at that separation anxiety age with Alex.

So the second I moved or looked like I might stand up, he would have a complete crying fit because I might be leaving him, even though I was trying to corral his brother. The breaking my thumb story was something. As you heard in last week’s episode. The Murphy’s law thing is so real. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

So we went to a little festival and we decided we wanted to get some yummy food. So we found a place and we went there and it was going, it was going and we were eating. And. Benji was really struggling to sit in a seat, but he was, he was quiet. He was doing fairly well, and then he dropped a water bottle and I felt really bad.

I’m like, Oh no, I got to grab this water bottle so it doesn’t spell over. And I went to pick up the water bottle and the chair shattered and I happened to land on my thumb and I broke my thumb. That just meant to me. Yeah, I shouldn’t have gone out to eat. Why should I ever do anything nice for myself or my family?

Cause this is how it ends. Then I stood up and I’m like, you know what? We just, we have to go. So we tried to box everything up, but they brought out the stuff to us upside down and I went to open it to put something else in and the whole thing spilled all over myself and I am just, I just walked out and poor Lewis just had to corral everything and get everything and leave. Leave. To come after me because I just couldn’t do it. I’m like, you know what? I’m just, I’m just done. I’m just done. So yeah, that’s what happens when we go out. It’s, it’s never fun. So Lewis, how do you manage all the yelling and the running and granted, again, we understand why the kids are doing this.

We really are putting them in a hard situation by going out to restaurants because there’s so much stimulation and it’s just so much. So, so we do understand that, but yeah. So, so how do you manage, and, and not necessarily like corral them, but how do you cope with, with the yelling and the running and everything that happens at restaurants?

Lewis: I do what I usually usually do. I just kind of try to withdrawal into a, this inner peace. I’ve tried to try to cultivate and just be like, all right, just yup screaming. I don’t know. It. Screaming children used to be bad when, like before we had kids, when I was first like visiting people who had kids of their own and they were screaming and jumping up and down and I was like, Oh my goodness, how, how does one survive?

And now it’s like with the screaming and everything, depending on the day, usually I just kind of tune it out. Although then when I tune it out, then if something’s happening, I usually am more oblivious to it.

Jessica: Um, and I want to point out that the screaming and yelling, they’re not necessarily meltdowns. They’re not sad screams. They’re very happy kids. So they’re always excited. Screams, but they are scrapings.

Lewis: Yeah. It’s, it’s just like, well, what are you going to do? I mean, we try to avoid going to very nice family, like fancy restaurants, because obviously. That that would not be considered acceptable. But you know, it’s some other restaurants during the day. I feel like we’re not gonna cause too much trouble with it. So whatever. If Benji’s screaming a little bit, you know, I try to redirect it as much as I can, but it’s like, what are you going to do? Right? I mean, just, just try to do what you can.

Jessica: So you just reminded me of a story we were with family for an event. And we ended up going to, this was not our decision, but we went to a French restaurant and we, we didn’t know what it was before we went there. And then we got there and we had the stroller with Alex, and this place was up a ton of stairs.

And so we had to like carry Alex and. The stroller up all these stairs, and then we got there and it’s a super tiny, crowded restaurant. There’s nowhere for the stroller to go. It is super loud. It is super cramped, so we can’t really get anyone in there and people keep bumping against the table.

And it’s already chaos. And of course when we go out to to events and stuff, it’s already past the kids’ bedtime, so they’re already struggling. And Alex was a baby’s like a little baby, so it wasn’t really an issue for him except getting him into the restaurant. Of course, since it’s a fancy restaurant, they didn’t have high chairs or anything. So Benji, who was two ish at the time was really struggling and he kept like sliding under the table and running away. And then we had to order and there was nothing on the menu that he could eat. So we asked for just plain green beans and cause that was literally the only thing that was on the menu that we could kind of fix to make it something he might eat.

But he chose not to eat that. Again it was the salt and pepper and a spoon and maybe some water, and that’s really all he ate and it was just, it was a mess. And then because he wouldn’t eat, we ended up taking him outside and then we all kind of got them accidentally riled up by like running around with him, throwing them up in the air, having fun, but he just, he couldn’t be in that restaurant.

It was just too much for him. So yeah, just word of the wise out there. Don’t take little kids to fancy restaurants. Not a great idea. What I try to do to manage the yelling and running, I don’t do it well. We try to shush them and remind them to use their indoor voices. But Alex is a baby, so he doesn’t understand that.

And Benji, he really does try, but he forgets and then he just gets so excited because he’s so overstimulated that he Just can’t modulate it, and he’s really impulsive, so we just can’t. So after a few minutes, we just realize it’s hopeless and we just give up and look like a tornado hit us. We try to get booths where the kids sit on the inside so they can’t really get out, but they just spaghetti out and under the table and run away.

They’re very spaghetti, like they find ways to get out of high chairs. It’s amazing how Houdini, like these kids are, they wiggle booster seats to the floor and. I just feel like we need a straight jacket. It’s, it’s impossible. I mean, there’s nothing that will corral these children. I remember when they were teeny and we put them in swaddles when they were babies.

Even when they were like two weeks old, they could get out of the swaddle. So there’s nothing that can hold these children. Like I mentioned earlier, we do try to keep them busy in the restaurant. They tend not to like any of the books or the toys that we bring. So that’s. Kind of a wash. Elmo lasts for a couple seconds.

Then we give them napkins and straws and spoons and anything with like the sugar packets, anything that we can find and that entertained some for a whole two minutes until it all goes on the floor. Lewis, when we go out to eat, do you and I actually eat,

Lewis: like I said before, yeah, we, we, we try to eat, but it’s not in any way enjoyable. It’s sitting here listening to the screaming kids, trying to feed them. Meanwhile, trying to shovel in the food into our mouth, and hopefully we taste it and do what we have to do is parents.

Jessica: Yeah, we usually just alternate kids and hope for the best. And as you mentioned, we don’t taste our foods, which is really a shame because it’s usually decent food and it’s certainly higher calorie than we would eat if we were home.

So if I’m going to ingest extra calories, which I really don’t need, I really wish I could taste it and enjoy it to kind of sort of make it worthwhile. So why do we do this again? Sometimes we’re at an event and we really don’t have a choice. It just would be too much to just leave and go home to eat.

It would be too far and it would be past meal time. Other times we’re already out and doing something and we just need to feed them right there. So we just grabbed something. Those are the worst times because the kids are already exhausted and acting like crazy drunk people, and it’s impossible to shove food in their faces.

So we just hope for the best. Our kids are kind of tough to feed even when they’re home. Alex, at least up until a couple of weeks ago, would eat anything and everything he loves, like kofta kebab and falafel of all things, and this was a one year old. He can eat anything. I remember we went to the state fair and he ate fried okra covered in, I think it was like cheese and sriracha and he loved it and I’m like, you’re a baby. I don’t understand this. And he can’t get enough of food, but he does prefer our food, but he does eat again. Benji loves salt and pepper, and if it’s a really good day, we might actually get him to eat like a bite of Mac and cheese or maybe a bite of broccoli. He almost never eats anything outside the house or school no matter what.

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And now it’s time for fails, nails and comical tails.

All right? So my fail was. Giving him lettuce at dinner. I know this sounds ridiculous because, well, let is a good thing, and we found out by accident, he actually likes it. However, he eats one itty bitty little squirrel nibble of lettuce, like every minute one little nibbles. So it takes like 10 minutes for him to eat a leaf of lettuce.

And usually it’s not necessarily let us, it’s like those teeny little spinach leaves. So I gave that to him at dinner and eating the lettuce took an hour. An hour to eat the lettuce. That wasn’t even the entirety of dinner. That was just the lettuce. What about you Lewis?

Lewis: My fail was trying to, I was trying to get some, some pediasure at the store and I found a really good, good, good version of it and I was like, Ooh, I like this and I really fucked up and purchased strawberry. Which, which no one likes. So yeah, I, I poured it and I’m like, why is this pink? And I looked and I somehow, I don’t know how to moment of stupidity, uh, purchased the wrong, wrong one, two to two backs of them says, well, we’re 20 bucks. And yeah, just as I figured he would barely touch it. He kind of looked at me like he had done something wrong and I’m like, I’m sorry. So I, I made write this this week though, triple check the packaging when I purchased it, but I thought that was a good screw up on my part.

Jessica: Pretty unfortunate. My nail is food-related, which makes sense given what we’re talking about today. Occasionally Benji does like. Hard boiled eggs, but he’s very distractable. Someone we’re eating. We have to constantly remind him to take bites and that we’re actually at the dinner table. So he mentioned something about how his hard boiled egg was actually a turtle and the egg whites were his house. So I started telling him, okay, take a bite of the turtle house egg, take a bite of the turtle house egg. And surprisingly, that actually helped him to eat. Two eggs in a reasonable period of time. I was incredibly happy and impressed, and it only worked that one night, but it was still a win. What about you Louis?

Lewis: Well, yeah. Another uh, example of trying to get him to eat, I think it was in the morning, you know, I was trying to get him to eat his breakfast.

He just wants to play with his trucks at the table. Even you take away the, then usually he’ll just noodle himself or, or. Get so upset the whole walk away and cover himself in his weighted blanket or something like that. So I try to try to work with him with what he’s doing with the toys, and I was like, Hey, mr truck. And I started talking to the truck. I’m like, how are you doing? You make sure that benji’s eating his food. So I’ve been trying to reach him a lot when he’s like really focused on those toys. And kind of like talking to the toys or somehow communicating in a certain way. And, uh, well, uh, you know, lo and behold, it helped him take a few more bites.

So I thought that I nailed that. Well at least a little bit.

Jessica: So I have two comical tales this week just because they’re so short. So back to the toy skeleton that we keep bringing up because he loves that thing. Yesterday he took off the shoulder bone, called it an arm bone and made the skeleton eat his own arm.

Because apparently the skeleton wanted to eat it, but before that a few weeks ago, he said, sometimes I get in the toy skeleton and it becomes real and it grows up. And for this next little part of the comical tails, I’m going to use a pseudonym for our ABA tech because I don’t know, she wants me to name her, so I’ll call her Lucy.

So at dinner last night, Benji looks at Lucy and. He says, ms Lucy, do you have a vagina? And she just tries to redirect. And he’s like, but do you have a vagina? And she’s, she just looks at me like, what do I do? And he looks at me and he says, mommy, does miss Lucy have a bagina? And so that’s how dinner went last night.

What’s your comical tale, Lewis?

Lewis: Well, I thought this was pretty funny. One morning, Benji. Every couple of days, Benji, like pretend to be someone else and he’ll, he’ll only respond to whatever name he tells us that he is, whether it’s Elsa or in this case, Superman mom. That’s what he went by.

Superman, mom. I mean, it just very creative. I’m like not Superman. He’s like, no, Superman, mom. And so, yeah, I mean, I thought it was adorable, but, uh, and just very random. Yeah, I know. It’s not really as good as yours.

Jessica: That’s okay. I love his quotes. He is. Now it’s time for us to share a self care hack of the week where we share what helped us survive.

Okay. Lewis, tell me what self care tool got you through this week? All right, Lewis. So what is self care hack of the week?

Lewis: Well, for me was trying to listen to some podcasts that I seem to enjoy. Most recently, uh, Bart Campello humanize me podcast, which I really seem to enjoy. I feel, he’s got a really nice touch and personality in talking about life in general.

I liked it that way. You?

Jessica: Mine is what I call or, what people call creative visualizations. So there are so many different ways to do visualization or to do what they call guided imagery, but I recommend picking one of three. So either your favorite memory, your favorite place, or the most relaxing place you can think of, whether or not you’ve been there, whether or not it exists, it doesn’t really matter.

The goal is to throw yourself in there with all of your senses to just close your eyes and what do you see, smell, taste, touch, hear all of those things and really try to experience it. And it’s really helpful because it’s distracting. It brings in all those feel good chemicals. It’s fun. It’s easy to do.

And the brain actually doesn’t know the difference between a real vacation and a mental vacation. So you can actually get a quick mental vacation or sort of real vacation without the expense, the travel, the planning, having to pack and unpack and lug the kids and deal with the kids on vacation.

And it can be really powerful. And this is something that you can do for a minute. You can do it for an hour, you can do it for however long you want to do it. And it’s really nice. An alternative to that is to picture a safe place. So this is a place where nothing can bother you. No one can get you, no one can interrupt you, no one can cause you stress.

It’s just a safe place. And you can picture. Anything you want in it, you can picture bars on it for people not getting in or tons of pillows or nature, whatever you want to be, your safe place where you can just go and be and relax and decompress and it can be. Really, really powerful. And this is one of my favorites because it just works for so many different things, and I actually recommend it for my patients when they have headaches or pain or frustration or anxiety, depression, or even sleep troubles, because it really helps with all of those things.

So it’s just great all around and it’s pretty quick. And again, another free thing, so that’s pretty cool.

That’s it for our show. Thanks so much for listening. This is FUBAR surviving Parenthood with special needs kids. Well, that’s it for our show. To find out more about the show, please go to http://www.fubarpod.com check us out on Facebook with our FUBAR surviving Parenthood with special needs kids group and on Twitter @fubarpod.

If you like our show, please click on subscribe and help us out by giving us five stars on iTunes or wherever you find our podcasts and leave us a review so other like-minded parents can find out what you like about us and discover their community in which to survive and thrive. See you next time on FUBARs surviving Parenthood special needs kids.

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