Tuesday, March 26, 2013

May Contain Peanuts

If you know anything about people with Aspergers and high-functioning autism, you know that they often lack the ability to be flexible and to discern the shades of grey that are so common in everyday life. This is something we deal with with Sky. All. The. Time. Most days, it's manageable. I mean, after awhile, you figure out patterns of thought and can head off a meltdown before it reaches DEFCON 1.

Most days.

But, then there are the days when you find yourself trying to sneak in some ambiguity. Those are the days when you can't win.

You will never win. No, really. You won't win, so you should stop trying.

Why tempt fate? Because some days it looks like it might be easier, that's why. 

Just like it looks easier to take the short cut through the wet rice paddy. I mean, you can see your house on the other side, why walk all the way around? I'll tell you why. Because you will always lose your shoes. Always. Not only that, you're likely to get stuck and then fall down when trying to pull your legs out. In the end, you'll be lucky if you can free yourself and slop back home covered from head to toe in mud. It always only looks easier. Always.

Today, I tried to take the short cut. Before you start judging, let me tell you why (then you can judge because it was pretty stupid of me). See, ever since we went gluten free, our choices in cereal have become greatly limited. There are two brands of corn flakes at our local grocery store that are gluten and dairy free. One tastes much better than the other. The one that tastes better says "may contain peanuts" on it. Pink P is desperate the eat the "yummy" corn flakes. She asks for them every single day. EVERY day. And every day, I tell her no because of her severe peanut allergy.

Tracking the allergens in food has become easier (and much, much more serious) since Sky learned to read ingredient labels. He reads them obsessively. He finds gluten, milk, and nuts in things I never imagined. He knows that Pink can have food that says "produced in a facility that also handles peanuts" but that she shouldn't have foods that "may contain peanuts." Most days, I am grateful for his complete dedication to this endeavor. But sometimes, sometimes, I really wish I could sneak one past him.

I knew the corn flakes "may contain peanuts," but I also knew that the chances were very, very slim. Plus, I hadn't been shopping, and that was the only box of cereal left in the cupboard.  

"Eat fast," I said, pouring a little bit into Pink P's bowl. I could imagine how Sky would react, and I knew we had about 10 minutes before he made his bed, got himself dressed, and came downstairs. Unfortunately, as she's prone to do, Pink P chatted nonstop and was still talking when Sky came into the kitchen. That boy has razor-sharp senses, and before he even made it to the table, he knew.

"Mom, that cereal may contain peanuts. WHY is SHE eating it?" And with that, he lunged toward Pink and tried to grab the bowl of cereal out from under her.  I put myself between Sky and Pink, and said in a very calm voice, "It's okay, buddy, I gave it to her. There are no peanuts in the cereal. Sometimes they just write that on the box to be safe."

You guys, there was no way I was going to persuade him. The box said "may contain peanuts." Pink P can't eat things that come from boxes that "may contain peanuts." It was bad enough that she was eating the cereal. Worse was the fact that I  had given it to her. There was no way that this could make sense to my black-and-white son. No way.

Sky ended up having a complete meltdown. As I dragged him kicking and screaming to his room, he repeatedly shouted: 




By the time I got him to his room and ushered him into his top-bunk safe space, he was screaming, "I KNEW IT! YOU DON'T LIKE ME, YOU DON'T LIKE PINK P, AND YOU DON'T LIKE STOW. YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ALL THREE OF US!" Because, obviously, that made infinitely more sense than mom bending the "may contain peanuts" rule.

I learned my lesson. I promise. I will never, ever, EVER try to bend the rules again. 

At least, not when Sky's home. 

Image from http://www.animeyume.com

1 comment:

Tenntrace said...

Can I suggest keeping a dummy box on hand? Transfer the contents when he's gone to school. It's sad, but from his point of view, his reasoning is spot on. A life of black and white rules must be so hard. We deal with it every day, and even though she lives "on her own" it's still very hard.