What comes to your mind when you hear or read the word “fruit loops”? Could it be that you think of a particular person who is quite goofy? Maybe for most, they will think something like “Oh, a fine tasty breakfast cereal, sweet and fruity!”. Or maybe a Tucan flapping around telling children how it is a “nutritious great start to the day, now go get your parents to buy it for you!”. Quite possibly they could be thinking ” This is a lovely treat that is like chewing shards of glass that rips flesh off the inside of my mouth, while coating my tongue and teeth with a fabulous sugary film that can only come off by using an electric toothbrush, covered with baking soda and peroxide, YUM!”
Or maybe that is just me.
The last sentence used to be the only thought that crossed my mind when I encountered the word fruit loops. Not anymore, now the word sends a panic to the depths of my mind, I can feel my neurons flooding to my brain and anxiety takes over, then I am no longer able to function properly. So when I saw the note on the table, next to the sign in sheet at church, blah, blah, blah “FRUIT LOOPS”, I almost started to hyperventilate. My brain immediately went to the last experience I had with these vile, wicked, evil loops. It involved Daniel and was so intense that it made this kind of impact on me.
It has been over a year, but the terror is still in me.
We were having a very good day, so good in fact that we all went grocery shopping. La la la things were going well and then while strolling happily down the cereal isle, out of the one million and one boxes that flood the cereal wall, Daniel spots the FRUIT LOOPS! He grabbed for them, said “uh, uh” while pointing and I calmly explained to him that he could not have them and why he could not have them.
That did not work.
You can only imagine how it went from there. Needless to say after a physical battle, I caved and gave him the fruit loops. Ok, fine it seems as though there was only a power struggle, the kid won, all is over, move on. I wish I could say that was the end. Let me fill you in on the rest of the story. Daniel ate one bowl of those fruit loops and for a week straight, screamed, rolled on the floor groaning and became completely obsessed with them despite all of the pain he was in. I threw them away and vowed NEVER to let him know of their existence again! So you can see my panic, right? I had a legitimate reason for being a complete spaz and for my brain to be flooded with all of the chemical reactions to cause me to go into fight or flight mode.
As I stood in the hallway, trying to figure out what to do, I had all of the images going through my head like a movie, playing over and over again.
The first thing I wanted to do was grab my kids and run straight for the doors. I know I sound insane but that is the impact of the situation. I had to weigh all of the situations that could possibly go down. If we leave, I mess up the script, Daniel freaks out, if I let him go to class, there may be a “fruit loop incident” which could consist of several different scenarios. I finally came to the conclusion that it was best for him to go to class. He was excited about church and he “had” to go. And this was after he had an aggressive morning, thanks to freaky weather and who do you think got the battleriffic rounds of the morning? That’s right, none other than the one who was ready to run for the hills!! It takes a lot out of me physically and mentally to come down from Daniel’s “rough” days.
Then to walk into something that is NOT the script, sends me into another world.
They normally do not have food, I do not usually need to be concerned with this, it has only been a couple of times BUT the last few weeks Daniel has been making incredible progress and with that comes very aggressive behavior and any kind of change is not good for any of us. So why today? WHY? I felt as if the universe was out to get me. I took a deep breath, trying to ignore the woman at the sign in sheet looking at me like I was insane, as I explained to Daniel that he absolutely could not eat the cereal they had in there. I went to his teachers and I explained to them that he could do the craft but he was not allowed to eat any of it. I was a spaz! I said Ariel couldn’t eat any either and then went to Joshua’s class and was a spaz in there. Thankfully the teachers are a bit understanding about Daniel’s diet restrictions and try to work with me.
I work hard to have my children be stable and healthy.
Though I sound quite unstable, my kids are quite fine. I try very hard not to let them have sugary snacks that are filled with chemicals, dyes and low quality ingredients. Why? Because I see the difference in my kids. They are not hyper, they are able to focus and retain well, they are very healthy, active and many other things that happen to children when they eat well and have a healthy balance. However, I do not deprive them from treats, they only get the healthier versions, the ones where you can pronounce every ingredient, know what it is without looking it up and there are not a billion of them. Simple, tasty snack treats, in moderation.
And this is what brings me to tears.
As I sat listening to the message about “The Good Samaritan”, I realized just how abnormal we are. How we do not fit in at church, with our other family members, and other social interactions. We do not fit in here. We are not seen. We have no voice in any community because no one understands! Well in a neurotypical community anyway. We are so different with our lifestyle and thinking that people do not relate to us a lot of the time. We have to limit our social connections, we can’t eat what they eat, we find it hard to find things to talk about, our progressive thinking, especially with our faith is not welcomed much in these parts. We cannot up and go hang out with people, we cannot just go and eat fruit loops! How ironic that the pastor was asking “What small difference can we make?” Then he somehow tied it all in that we need to be less selfish among other things and look for people to help, to be there for, be “The Good Samaritan”.
Let’s see being considerate of those who are so completely different from you that they cannot just pick up a phone and talk.
Maybe realizing that some people have to plan 4 weeks in advance to prepare their family for change. How about understanding that some people just need for the world to see how difficult it is to live in YOUR world! Little things like springing an after church party is not good for someone with ASD. We can’t do it. I like being social but it needs to be on my terms and I need notice. My whole family does we are the freaks, I understand that but to just have someone get it once would be nice. There are many other things that could be considered just with in the congregation but I am not going into to that.
It would just be nice for once to have someone recognize that there are many things we have to consider to even be around people and they take all those things for granted.
Having that blown up in my face was just too much for me. We have never fit in and will never. Not that I want to but it’s the fact that if we don’t conform and by conforming cause complete chaos in our household, we are unable to have community. As I sat in church, once again my mind was playing the movie of my 12 year venture into the Christian church, like so many times during this walk, I asked myself again “Why do I even come?”. To top it off, the service was ending and I went out and saw David holding Daniel. What I had feared with the fruit loops came to pass, he had to leave class because he was throwing chairs. Then while in the lobby he started flopping and kicking all over the floor. He was not misbehaving he did not understand. But I will get to that in a moment.
I was almost in tears but held it together and got Ariel.
I apologized to the teachers but this was before I knew the whole story. I thought Daniel lost it because he couldn’t eat the fruit loops, I then found out that he was not allowed to make the craft. What? I had already given permission for him to make the craft, so my son was not allowed to do the craft, no wonder he flipped out. I explained to him that he couldn’t eat them and he most likely would have been fine if he would have been given the option to make it. AND they didn’t get us when he was upset. Teacher FAIL! I am upset, I know. I am working through it. I am not really angry at people, I am angry at the situation. Most of all I am angry at myself because I always forget how incredibly different we are and that not many people get it nor do they care to.
Freakin’ Fruit Loops! (not people, the fruit loops)