I had another post planned for today, but that was before Philip ate lunch.
The water was heating in a small pan, and an unopened package of ramen noodles lay on the counter. I was washing dishes while I waited for the water to boil. It was almost noon and, having just returned from the library, I guessed that Philip would be ready to eat lunch soon.
I hadn’t anticipated how soon that would be. Philip joined me in the kitchen, opened the pantry door and removed the economy-sized box of fruit snacks. He carried the box to me.
“Do you want some fruit snacks?” I asked. I thought this would be a good idea since it would take some time for me to finish preparing the ramen soup. “Okay, then. Wash your hands.”
Hands washed, Philip turned toward the dining room table. His eye was caught by the package of ramen noodles. He picked it up.
“Ramen noodles,” I said. “Mommy’s making those for you.”
He carried the packet to the table. I figured he would enjoy the sound and feel of the crinkly package. There was no harm in him playing with it while munching on his fruit snacks. After helping Philip up into his booster chair, I moved his PECS (Pictures Exchange Communication System) book toward him. I took the ramen noodles from his hand.
Philip looked at the picture choices. Instead of selecting the cards labeled “I want” and “fruit snack” he opted for the newest additions:
“I am” and “all done.”
He handed this sentence strip to me and pointed to the cards.
“I am all done,” I responded with a questioning inflection. I wasn’t sure how he could be done if he hadn’t eaten yet. I showed him the pack of fruit snacks as I returned the pictures back to the book.
Philip ignored the fruit snacks and repeated his statement: “I am all done.” This time, after pushing the sentence strip in my hand, he reached for the pack of ramen noodles.
We don’t have a picture for ramen noodles.
I realized that Philip was trying to tell me that he no longer wanted the fruit snacks. He wanted ramen.
“I’m sorry,” I told Philip. “It’s not ready yet.”
I returned to the stove and turned up the heat under the pan. And waited. Philip abandoned his seat at the table to stand beside me. He began to fuss. I dumped the noodles in the water, not bothering to wait for it to boil. I gave Philip the empty package, but this only distracted him for a moment.
As he made impatient noises, I once again said, “I’m sorry.”
After what seemed like the longest three minutes of my life, I served Philip lunch.
He proceded to eat the entire package. I should say attempted to eat it all since many of the slippery little noodles ended up on the table, on his shirt, on his pants, in his booster chair, on the floor and, eventually, in the dog’s mouth.
So, what am I thankful for today?
I’m thankful that ramen noodles cook so quickly. I’m thankful that my picky eater has found a food item that motivates him to use a fork. I’m thankful that, after a month of being sick and not interested in eating, a healthy Philip now has a hearty appetite, one that forced him to abandon his fork and pick up the noodles with his fingers. I am thankful that Philip had a reason to use his PECS, even if he used it in a way I didn’t expect. I’m thankful that, even though my son is non-verbal, he still seeks to communicate.
Can I get an “Amen!” for ramen?