Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Less is s’mores

with 8 comments

So I’ll begin where I left off, with the graham crackers.  For those of you reading from across the pond, the closest match I can come up with for a graham cracker is a digestive biscuit, with a bit of honey and cinnamon.  You can just eat them as they are, but they are often used in desserts like key lime pie, which tastes like my honeymoon.  They are famously (well, in America) used to make s’mores.  S’mores are a graham cracker sandwich of toasted (preferably on a camp fire) marshmallow and chocolate.  They are delicious, or s’moreish as I like to say.  Eating s’mores is one of those quintessentially things you do as an American kid.  Pudding’s preschool autism class is doing a camping theme, with s’mores.  And if I lived an ordinary life, that would be the end of it.

Pudding is allergic, sensitive, or intolerant to gluten, dairy, potatoes, rice, carrots, beef, green beans, eggs, fish, cashews and peanuts.  We are new to this discovery, and there are likely to be more foods she can’t eat.  All the stuff you can buy that is gluten free has dairy, or rice, or potatoes in.  So you can’t buy ANYTHING that is pre-made and you have to make EVERYTHING from scratch.  When I say “you” I just mean me, of course, because I’m yet to encounter anyone with a kid with this many food allergies, though I’m sure such souls do exist.

Maybe one day I’ll get around to telling you about there being a sizable sub-section of the ASD population with food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances, and that a diet removing the proteins in wheat and milk has been helpful for some children.  How there is a whole industry springing up around this, for better or for worse.  How I think all these allergies are created by the food industry.  I’ll get around to telling you about what we found with Pudding, but it is an ongoing saga, and I really need to stick to those damn graham crackers.

I know you’re probably wondering why I don’t just give her something else to take to school instead.  I could, of course.  She may not notice, she probably wouldn’t even care if she did.  She seems to like her graham crackers without the chocolate and marshmallows spoiling them, so not having s’mores is not going to be a big deal for her.  So many things are a big deal for her, so many things are going on right now, that it seems ridiculous that I would consciously create my own big deal.  That is exactly what I did yesterday.

So, why?  Well, part of it is because I have a little bit of guilt that we live our nomadic lifestyle.  That our kids don’t get to have the same experiences as other kids.  Don’t get me wrong, they’ll have other, amazing experiences, but they often seem to miss out on the more mundane things.  We just have one year left of being a (half) American girl living in the USA.

Secondly, in a world where she and her school friends are the odd ones out, I don’t want her to be left out.  I too had allergies as a kid, and remember being banished from the cafeteria when the offending food was served.  Clearly her beloved teacher Ms. S is not about to banish her, but being marginalized in a special ed class is the kind of thing they write country songs about.

Thirdly, during my extensive web-based research (really, I need a doctorate for all my studying this last year) I came across an alarming link between anorexia nervosa and girls with Asperger’s Syndrome.  I know, I know, that I’m worrying about that too early for a girl who has always been over 95th percentile on the growth charts, but I can’t remove these pieces of information once they get in my brain and they twist and turn themselves around until they become legitimate fears.  We’re starting to see more control and choosiness over her food that may be a result of the restrictive diet and those stupid allergies.

I thought I’d turn it into one of those fun, crafty-do-it-together things that are fine for other people, but quickly degenerate over here.  I’d bought some teeny-tiny animal cutters that were adorable, but impossible to use.  So Pudding used a gingerbread man cutter, and I used the animal cutters.  Next came what we take as conversation, but others might be more inclined to call monologuing (yes, that is a word, it was in The Incredibles).

Pudding: I want jimjimbread men.

Me: Gingerbread man.  Say gingerbread man.

Pudding: jimjimbread man.

Me: Gin-ger-bread man.

Pudding: Jim-jim-bread man.  I want a jimjimbread man.  Give me a jimjimbread man.

Me: We have to bake them first.  You can have one after dinner.

Pudding: No, don’t want to after dinner.  Want a jimjimbread man.  May…have jimjimbread man?  Please.  Please. {She sees me making the animal ones}.  Give me an elephant….give me a monkey….I want a horsey….may have a doggy? {Clearly she thinks that I’m going to fold when she just requests the right animal.}  I want a giraffe…May have jimjimbread man…I want a cookie….Yes, I want a cookie! {I’m a sucker for the word “yes” as she didn’t say it for so long.  She knows this, so she uses it all the time to get what she wants}.  Yes, may have cookies….Yes, give me the cookie.

I’m going to stop her right there, because that went on for a while.  Those idiot cutters were the most fiddly things I’ve ever used, and I don’t even have (documented) fine motor issues.  There was a time when she couldn’t use any of those phrases.  When she could only describe what she saw, and knew none of the pragmatic language to get what she needed.  When she’d just reach and take, acting directly on the impulse.  It is our good friend, sweet beautiful progress.  Finally, and I don’t care to admit how much of my day was spent making these things, we were done, they were baked.  I’m over graham crackers and animal crackers- never again.

I can tell you that the kind of focus it took to make those onerous cookies was nothing short of spectrummy.  It was okay to visit that for an afternoon, but that would soon get exhausting.  Still, those animal crackers were challenging, intricate, and adorable.  Reminds me of someone I know.

I must be crackers

Pudding of course stole two of them while I was changing her brother. Stepping backwards as you go forwards is just part of the dance.  She did not get any after dinner as a consequence, but she goes to school today with them tucked into her backpack.  I’ll be heading to the grocery store for more ingredients, ready for next time.

There will, of course, be a next time.  Everyone knows never again means until next time.  If it didn’t, there would be no Cubby.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 30, 2010 at 9:04 am

8 Responses

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  1. Here is the link to the recipe for the graham crackers. It is fairly easy and they are delicious:


    July 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

  2. Lovely story! And I’m sorry to hear about Pudding’s food allergies and intolerances.
    I myself am unable to eat 74 foods including gluten/dairy/yeast/ also LOTS of vegetables are no-go for me – pumpkin, sweet potato (yams), mushrooms, peas, carrots, cucumber, capsicum etc etc but I *am* however allowed regular potatoes and rice
    It is difficult enough for me as an adult but poor little pudding has to avoid many more major food groups then I do so I really feel for her.
    It sounds like you’re an awesome mum who is doing an amazing job with her though! But, yes, It is exhausting,
    All 3 of my kids also are gluten/dairy free too.


    August 3, 2010 at 3:17 am

  3. […] fear of going to sleep alone, and the ever-present early-rising.  Are there even more allergies we don’t yet know about?  (Please, […]

  4. […] I don’t like it, but I don’t have to.  It isn’t about me.  Just like the time I made the s’mores, this is another quintessential American experience.  If there is a treat involved, she’ll […]

  5. Life would be so much easier if schools did not have special days around food. We have no known food allergies, but she does have food sensitivites and is a vegetarian and was a vegan for a while. I absolutely love, “never again means until next time, so true.”


    March 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    • I think Pudding would happily be a vegan. She likes bacon though, that is always the downfall. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

  6. Hi there,

    I am so happy to have found your blog! We are new to the FSO world with a special needs child (Apraxia & SID), and you are such a wonderful resource. You mentioned in an earlier post that you work/have worked with a SLP here in the States who has experience with FS children. Could you pass on any info you might have? We are preparing for our 1st overseas move with him, and I am concerned after reading other peoples’ experiences with arriving at post and finding that promised resources either no longer exist or are not as robust as they had believed. Thanks!!

    – Lisa


    October 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm

  7. […] top of my list: making s’mores. And this time around, I don’t even have to worry about making them from scratch this time […]

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