An auspicious beginning…

I snuck pumpkin into dinner.  Not only did I sneak pumpkin into dinner, but it also went unnoticed.  Not even TGG, who is the one with the radar for all things healthy (and therefore unpleasant,) notice that his manicotti had pumpkin in them.  Twenty-fourteen has barely begun and I’ve already snuck one serving of vegetables into my unsuspecting children.  I don’t know you, but I think 2014 is pretty successful so far (though check in during subsequent months to see if I’ve changed back to the usual “this year sucks” chorus…it’s early days still.)

Tomorrow, if all goes well and the weather cooperates, will be J’s back-to-school day.  As it stands right now, we have a Wind Chill Advisory and a Winter Weather Advisory that might throw some sort of monkey wrench into the whole thing.  Of course, Friday is the day that’s supposed to be a lulu with a high of 15℉ (that’s -9.4 ℃.)  Even J’s teacher has warned me that we might get a snow day out of that one…

For the time being, though, all is running smoothly.  To J’s snack repertoire we added a tablespoon of spinach-parmesan dip to eat with his veggie chips.  Tomorrow his snack bag for school will include a yogurt and two Fig Newman’s.  My biggest project tomorrow morning (aside from running around the house rejoicing at the solitude and privacy that result from everyone leaving after three solid weeks of constant company) will be making more pear chips for J.  The next-to-biggest project is finding a way to insert lentils into the weekly menu…and the main issue with that particular item is that (since I’m the one who cooks and I’m not keen on lentils) I’ll know how I’m trying to fool everyone and will be predisposed to notice the deceit (and will likely  “make the face” that gives the ruse away.)

This year I’ve decided to forgo the traditional New Year’s Resolutions in the most absolute way possible; I’ve not only not made any, but I’m also trying to talk TGG and Dada into trying something different: the monthly list.  My  January list, for example, includes exercising for half an hour a day (fifteen minutes by myself and fifteen minutes with the family,) reading two books, organizing (once and for all) the hallway closet upstairs, and losing two pounds.  That’s it…no more and no less.  The level of frustration and disappointment this might cause is much less than realizing (as the end of December approaches) that I didn’t succeed at ANYTHING all year.

The truth about every year is that we ultimately achieve things we didn’t even plan out, and we do things we didn’t even imagine.  Most of these things happen either by accident or by force of circumstance.  The best successes, at least in our case, are the result of sudden upheaval, and one has to learn to weigh those into the end-of-year balance.  That’s why I’ve decided a list of pre-planned resolutions is not the way for us to go, and that’s why I think J should be -if you want to still use that word- our collective “resolution.”  If we get J to eat healthier foods in a healthier way, and to exercise, and to engage in things new and surprising to him, we will ALL be doing the same…and the results will be general, not just person-specific.  Who doesn’t want a healthier lifestyle for their whole family?  A better way to eat?  A steady flow of exercise and physical activity???

I don’t want to just go to the nutritionist to be told what to do, but rather to be told what MORE I can do to help J.  I want him to be on his way when we go there on the 10th, and not just standing with his toe close to the starting line.  All our toes are past the line by now, and that’s the way it should be…we’re all in this together…the eating better, the exercising more, the Autism…

I know we’re on the right track because J has -once more- gone to the store and not requested more Ramen noodles, Pringles, microwavable popcorn, cheeses…he is totally ok with what we’re getting, and he’s now pulling his pants up immediately after he puts them on rather than after a whole day of sitting-standing up-sitting-standing up-sitting-standing up to stretch them out.  In the mornings he used to leave for school in very tight pants and return in looser pants (the same pair, of course, but the worse for wear, one could argue,) but now J dresses to go out and doesn’t have to suck his belly in, and needs to tug at the waist of his pants as shortly after getting dressed.  The Wii says he’s lost weight; when one looks at him, J’s face is looking less puffy, and his clothes are not fitting as tightly.  I don’t care about the number, but I am thrilled about the added comfort.  The next time he has labs done, and his blood pressure is taken, I will be even more thrilled…

Yesterday we got a delivery  for J…an exercise peddler that allows him to sit anywhere he wants and pedal with his feet.  I know, I know…isn’t an exercise bike better?  Perhaps, but there IS an exercise bike, and a stepper, and an elliptical and a climber at the gym here in the townhouse complex.  On a very cold day, J can sit in his TV room, on a chair that supports him well, and still pedal…pedal…pedal…and he thinks it’s fun.  No strangers will make him feel self-conscious, and he can watch whatever he wants rather than the large mirrors that show him how much bigger than the average neighborhood housewife he is…  J knows he’s big.  J knows, because he hears the doctors giving advice and discussing things with us, that he needs to lose weight, but if he’s willing to make an effort with us, and he’s trying to learn new ways of taking care of his needs, I will go to any lengths possible to assist him, and if that means sitting with him while he pedals as we watch The Princess Bride...so be it…

We’ll start our monthly plan…it’ll become more ambitious by February…and even more so by March…  Little by little…persuasion being the key, and modeling the proper behavior being a cornerstone.  We can all do this.  After all, we ALL had pumpkin in our manicotti for dinner tonight…and it’s only the first night of the year.

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