Posts Tagged ‘Food’


My Sweet Girl doesn’t like talking on the phone.  Clarifying:  the boring land line which all you can do with is talk on it; the android, which you could speak into in order to have conversations except for the fact that she hates doing that.  She doesn’t like pleasantries, conversations of a fun or serious nature, and doesn’t “get” what’s so great about the entire vocalizing conversations thing.

She much prefers my android and the fun things the phone actually does.  Youtube, Kindle books, Angry Birds.  She looks forward to having her own one day so that she can have Youtube, Kindle books, and Angry Birds and text all of the friends and family that she doesn’t want to speak with.

During the second PPT of the school year I asked her team to build into the social therapies “telephone speaking skills.”  At 11 years old she doesn’t know, or care to know, how to make a phone call on the house phone or the android (or even her dad’s basic phone).  She doesn’t know, or care to know, how to answer any of the phones.  She does know how to view a text I’ve received.  She knows how to open any app that interests her.  She knows how to open up Chrome and do an internet search for My Little Ponies and Frozen and Angel Cat Sugar.  She knows how to do all of these things on my Kindle too.

I wasn’t sure how the social therapy regarding the phone skills was working because she’s still resistant to using the phone, and although I encourage her to take calls that come in for her, I don’t force her to do more than listen to the other person and be polite.  I also don’t force her to make a phone call, although I will have her listen to me make a phone call and watch what I do.  Her response every time is,

“I do not like the phone. I do not… know.”

I get it.  I do.  She has nonverbal learning disorder, and she has some anxiety regarding phone usage because, I’m guessing, telephone conversations generally don’t have an easily identifiable script.  There isn’t an expected beginning, middle, or end.  People say and ask unexpected things and since it’s not face to face, responding more quickly (as opposed to taking some time to respond) feels more urgent and anxiety inducing.

It’s ok.  But it’s still important that she knows how to do these things.  I want her to know how in case she NEEDS to make a call or respond to a call.  Emergencies could happen.  She needs to know emergency contact numbers too, but that’s been a very long difficult lesson that worries her.  We usually have a medical alert bracelet for her with ICE info on it, but the last one broke so it’s time to get a new one.  It helped her feel secure.

So you can imagine my surprise when my youngest princess called me today (as requested) with a grocery list I asked her to help me with.  I asked her if the Sweet Girl had helped make the list, offered suggestions, or anything.  She said no and then forced her sister on the phone.

I fully expected Sweet Girl to drop the phone and walk away.  She didn’t.  She didn’t because with forceful determination, my youngest daughter told her to speak up and tell Mom what she wanted for groceries.  I said “Hello” and asked her what she’d like when I went shopping after work.

Suddenly…

“Ummm… yes.  Tomato.”

“Ok. Tomato… sauce?”

“Yes.  But red soup.  Gramma calls it red soup.  It is red.”

“Great idea!”

“Mmm hmmm, yes.  Sauce.  Your sauce is better.  You need enough.”

“I need enough cans to make sauce AND soup?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Good idea.  What’s next?”

“I need hummus chips.  They are healthy.  I do not like hummus.  Hummus chips are good.”

“Uh, yeah.”

“I need black bean chips.  I do not like black beans.  I do not like texture.  Black bean hummus chips are good.”

“On the list.  Thanks, honey.”

“Chocolate pretzels… uhhh… Special K.  They have the chocolate pretzels I like.”

“Ok, thank you.  Anything else?”

“Yes. Apples.  Strawberries are good.  I do not like bananas.  Anna and Daddy like bananas, I do not like them.  You should buy them.”

“Great, I almost forgot those on the list.”

“Mmm hmmm, yes.  My pretzels, the ones I like.”

“Mustard?”

“Yes, mustard pretzels.”

“Well, should we get veggies? I think those would be healthy.”

“Yes, get veggies.”

I fully expected her to remind me that she doesn’t eat veggies or meat, only fruit and carbs and cheese, so this surprised me.  🙂

“Oh! Well what veggies would you like?”

“Rhubarb.  I miss rhu…rhubarb.  I like cauliflower.  You have to get cheesy, um, the giant one.”

“Sure! We did run out of the cauliflower.”

“We ran out of rhubarb.  Last summer.”

“That too, I hope I can find it.”

“Hmmm, yes.  You should get my fruit bars.  They are frozen.  I like strawberry.  I like lemon.  I want coconut.”

“But the coconut has milk in it.”

“Yes, you say that.  I like strawberry.”

“Do you miss yogurt?”

“I like yogurt.  Get one with chocolate.”

“You’re such a big help on this list honey.”

“Yes.  I need allergy medicine.  And nut clust… clusters.  I runned out of Lactaid.  I need chocolate Chex.”

“We ran out of a lot.  Are you hungry?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you think the list is done?”

…..

…..

“Hi Mommy, Gracie just dropped the phone.”

 

Oh! My! Gosh! That girl kept me on the phone for 15 minutes! I complimented her when I got home from grocery shopping, and made sure she saw the healthy foods she added to the list.  She may not eat the majority of the food she PUT on that list, but she created a grocery list! Over the phone! For 15 minutes!

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English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromya...

English: Common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. References fibromyalgia-symptoms.org (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally got my doctor to test my thyroid properly.  She did all six panels after the nurse practitioner explained to her why she should.  That’s a whole ‘nother post, but I’ll spare you.  I got the results and it came back as “normal.”  I also had her check for a systemic candida overgrowth, but that came back as “normal” too.  That means that neither of those things are causing any Fibromyalgia symptoms.

A full thyroid panel would be: TSH, T4, T3, Free T4 ,  Free T3, Reverse T3.

[EDITED FOR DETAIL:

The results are discouraging since they’re not what I was expecting, but I also realize that it helps narrow things down.  I’m starting to feel more and more pushed towards having to figure out if I’m sensitive to gluten or not.  A gluten sensitivity can exacerbate my Fibro symptoms, so it’s looking like it’s time to try an elimination diet regarding gluten.  I had success eliminating meat and becoming vegetarian and that that should be encouraging, right?

Here’s another interesting tidbit… I’ve always been aware of this, but a gluten sensitivity can make Autism worse or mimic symptoms of Autism.  When Gracie was very small we tried an elimination diet of gluten that didn’t seem to work but if I’m going to attempt to go gluten-free then I’m going to try to get her to go gluten-free as well.  She gets the so-called chicken skin on the backs of her arms and it bothers her a lot because she thinks it’s ugly.  Then she tries to scrape the bumps off and there’s a scab.

I brought up the idea to my daughters.  Gracie acted as if I said nothing, so there’s nothing new there.  She just wants cake.  As long as she can have cake that tastes like cake I think she’ll be fine.  Juliana thinks it means she’ll never be able to socialize at school lunch or have sandwiches that taste good ever again.  She’s also worried about pasta.  And crackers.  I’d like for her to try it willingly due to her ADHD, but she’s almost 13.  I need her cooperation.  Anna? She thinks it’s unhealthy since we have whole-wheat-everything.  I tried to explain that there are alternatives that are healthy.  I might have to get sneaky and creative.  🙂  That’s sort of the definition of cooking as a parent, though, so now I just have to learn the language of gluten ingredients in the ingredient labels and find some tasty recipes for special occasions.

I have to give it a minimum of three to six months.  Longer if possible.  I’ve read that it can take months to years to rid the body of gluten.  I don’t consume a lot of it in the first place, but that’s a little disconcerting.  I don’t know a lot about going completely gluten-free yet.  I do know that it can be very involved.  Crossing my fingers.

I’m nervous.

[EDITED:  Not gonna do it.  Gluten free just isn’t really an option, at least not right now.  I don’t think I buy into the whole thing for either myself or my daughter/s anyway since we don’t show true symptoms of gluten intolerance or insensitivity.

And also, for what it’s worth, I’m not 100% certain that my doctor was 100% truthful about the Candida results or thyroid results so when I see my rheumatologist for my first appointment at the end of September I’ll be sure to ask her to go over those tests.]

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Due to food tactile issues my middle daughter, dear Sweet Girl, has food difficulties causing a restrictive diet.  We can thank Sensory Processing Disorder for this.  She has recently figured out that there are some foods that she might otherwise enjoy if it weren’t for the texture.  I don’t press her on the issues, ie. I don’t force her to eat what she doesn’t like.  If we did that then it means she’s far less likely to willingly give that particular food another chance in the future in case she decides the texture, taste, or odor are tolerable.

I will offer her foods I’m sure she would dislike and has declined in the past just in case she chooses to try it because we’ve had success with that.  Sometimes there’s success and sometimes there isn’t.  Sometimes she’ll taste it and swallow it, but never takes another bite.  That’s a success.  Most times she lets it sit on her tongue, or touches it with the tip of her tongue, and then runs to the sink or garbage can to spit it out and then rinses her mouth with a drink she enjoys.  If she remembers to spit it into a receptacle that’s success.  The rest of the time it ends up spat out vigorously on the floor complete with facial expressions and vocalizations letting me know just how offensive it was.

I know that she’s lucky in that she’s willing to try new foods at all even with a limited palate and limitations due to food sensitivities.

Well.  Tofu in any form typically ends up on the floor.  In the past couple of weeks, she held it in her mouth long enough to make it to the garbage can.  I was just happy that she was willing to taste it to see what spices I was using to prepare it.  Each and every time, she insisted it was nasty all over with a nasty texture.  With vigorous spitting.  🙂  She’s turned it into a joke, trying it just so that she can spit it out in a spit take like on TV.

Last night I cubed up some extra firm tofu.  I put it in a pan with a little butter and olive oil, chili powder, cumin, dried onions, and Lawry’s salt.  Just enough to season the olive oil and coat the tofu.  Then I tossed the tofu enough to heat it through and soften the dried onions.  Darling Girl took half, and I took the other.

While watching TV with our bowls of tofu, Sweet Girl came over and started sniffing the air.  I looked at her suspiciously, and wondered if I should bother making the offer or just give up.  I could tell by her body language that she was expecting me to make the offer, so I told her what I used to cook the tofu with.

“Hm. Spicy.”

So she was anticipating what the flavors would be like.  Interesting.  She still looked at the bowl and came closer, so I offered her a small bite.  She chewed it and rolled it on her tongue which alone was progress regarding tofu.

Because it was expected behavior, she ran to the toilet and I could hear her spit and flush.

But then she came back with the same expectant look that I would offer her a bite.  I’m a glutton for punishment, so I offered her another bite.

“Mmm.  Mmm.”

And she CHEWED IT.

And she SWALLOWED IT.

And she OPENED HER MOUTH FOR MORE.

What?

She gobbled down half of my bowl.  That means she ate a quarter of a container of tofu.  She was extremely proud of herself for ignoring and then “getting over” the texture enough to decide that maybe it could be enjoyable.  She even asked me to make it again the exact same way.

WHAT?

I’ll be honest… it’s the next day and my head is still spinning.  Small steps. Success.

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A steamed tail-on shrimp.

A steamed tail-on shrimp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I’m home with my family.  We’re just relaxing and ticking down time until the ball drops.  Well, the girls are.  The Mister is napping and one girl is starting a bath.  Another is watching a movie on a mini DVD player while the eldest girl makes something with colored duct tape.  Who knew that was a thing? There’s even an after school cluster that teaches middle schoolers how to make usable things out of colored duct tape.  That’s a Pinterest category I hadn’t seen yet, so I’ll have to search for it.  She’d love that.  She had a lot of fun using the duct tape to make a pyramid for a class earlier today.  She’s making bricks out of purple duct tape and applying it to the box she’s supposed to use… but the tape is also being used for practical uses to help hold the thing together too.  I think.  She has little clay canopic jars she made that she has to put apple seeds into, and an apple slice that she mummified in salt last week.

We had a nice dinner, poor man’s version of shrimp scampi ha ha.  It was simple and the shrimp was mini frozen shrimp from WalMart.  I had to use powdered garlic since it’s not a Super WalMart yet and they didn’t have fresh garlic.  🙂  It was filling and pretty good.  Gracie didn’t say a single word during dinner because her mouth was stuffed the entire time.  That’s the biggest compliment on a meal, let me tell you.  The girl who won’t eat anything sitting with a stuffed mouth saying nothing, but humming while she eats and not even caring if butter drips on her chin? Best compliment on a meal.  Truly.  When she finished, she said that her tummy hurt and asked what that meant.  I told her it meant her tummy was full of food and she over-ate.  She scrunched her eyebrows and said, “Hmmm.  Oh.”  That tells you how often she stuffs herself.  🙂

I completely forgot to put out salad.  I even bought banana pepper rings and olives, which Anna now wants to simply eat in a bowl next to chips and salsa.

Me… I’m ready for some Advil Cold & Sinus, green tea, a book, and bed.  Maybe some chips and salsa first.  Or maybe green tea and ice cream.  After all of the snow these past several days, I’m achy and still dealing with a headache with the remnants of the laryngitis.  My body still feels all beat up.   Sleep will be welcome.

Oh, don’t pity me for being home on New Year‘s Eve.  You’re home too.  🙂  But if you go out tonight, please be safe.  Don’t drink and drive.  If you’re buzzed, then you’re drunk.  So don’t drive buzzed.

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Didn’t I recently blog about how much of a bad idea it is to ask my middle daughter to quantify and compare her feelings on things? I might not have.  Well, if I didn’t I will now.

It’s a bad idea to ask her to quantify and compare her feelings because I’m learning that it’s either difficult or impossible.  In some instances the choice is clear.

Mommy: Gracie, which do you like better: pumpkin muffins or rotted goat cheese?
Gracie: PUMPKIN MUFFINS! SHUT UP! That was a BAD CHOICE!

If I offer other types of choices where she has to quantify her feelings or how much she likes something, especially if she likes something over another something, she looks at me blankly or gets frustrated.

Mommy: Gracie, which do you like better: pumpkin muffins or apple muffins?
Gracie: I… but… YOU CAN NOT MAKE ME CHOICE THOSE! THAT WAS A BAD! CHOICE!
Mommy: Do you like both?
Gracie: I eat both.
Mommy: Do you like pumpkin more than apple?
Gracie: YOU ask TOO MANY QUESTIONS!
Mommy: If I make muffins right now, which muffins would you like me to make?
Gracie: Pumpkin.

If I ask her leading questions about her day, about new things we did or tried, it’s very similar.

Mommy: Gracie, did you have art class today?
Gracie: We did leaf impressions.  I colored them…
Mommy:  How much did you enjoy it?
Gracie: Ummmm… that is not a very good question.
Mommy: Did you like coloring with real leaves?
Gracie: I had fun.
Mommy: A lot of fun?
Gracie: I don’t know.
Mommy: Okay.  Did you like coloring leaf impressions so much that you would like to teach your sisters and me how to do them at home?
Gracie: NO! Never ask me again! Leaves belong outside!

Mommy: Gracie, did you have pizza?
Gracie: I had pizza! It had pepperoni!
Mommy: Was there cheese pizza too?
Gracie: Yes. I had pepperoni.
Mommy: Do you like plain cheese pizza too?
Gracie: It is PIZZA.
Mommy:  Which flavor do you like better? Plain cheese with nothing else? Or pepperoni?
Gracie: I like PIZZA!
Mommy: If I ordered you a pizza right now, what kind would you want me to order?
Gracie: Pepperoni.

She must think I have this weird obsession that requires her to quantify everything.  I’m learning how to rephrase and break the habit of adding, “how much” and other qualifiers onto questions with her.  I think that’s really what throws her off.  I should probably simply present two choices and ask her which one she wants and let HER be the one to choose to clarify as needed.  She also doesn’t necessarily see where I’m going with a line of questioning, so she sees things as pointless.  I have to also learn to just get to the point and be a lot more direct with her.  I would save her a lot of frustration.

Thinking about it, she doesn’t use very many qualifiers in her speech.  She doesn’t use “a lot” or “a little” when she talks about liking things or disliking things.  She simply says she likes it, dislikes it, loves it, or hates it.  That’s it.  Four descriptors.  When she loves someone, she just loves them.  She doesn’t love someone MORE than someone else unless it’s her baby cousins.  Because, duh, she clearly loves babies MORE than anyone else.

I really look forward to more expansive conversations when she’s older, if she’ll allow it.  I have to be careful right now because if she gets too upset by too much questioning I risk triggering a meltdown or overly frustrating her enough that she’ll shut down and refuse to speak for a while.

Or maybe I have it all wrong.  Any insight?

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English: Blueberries.

English: Blueberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago I made my mom’s Blueberry Muffins.  They were gone in less than 18 hours.  The plan was to make them again yesterday after picking some up after the girls got home from school and The Mister gave me the checkbook to run a couple of errands.  When I came home I put them in the fridge, hidden, and ran next door to feed the neighbor’s bunny and check to make sure their house was secure.  I was gone for maybe 15 or 20 minutes.

 

When I came back, Gracie was standing at the front door with an empty blueberry tin.  Well, it was nearly empty.

 

“Look! There are four mushy, stale blueberries! Yuck!”  and she looked a little nervous, like she’d been caught in the act.

“Wow! Is that container from the blueberries we made the other day?”

“Um, I… um…”

I realized I needed to change tact a bit.  She doesn’t quite understand the concept of time the same way we do, so “the other day” could mean “a year ago” to her or it could mean tomorrow.

 

“Remember when we made blueberries a few days ago? We made blueberries on Monday.  It’s Wednesday.  Is this container from Monday?”

::squeaks:: “I don’t know!”

It’s time to try a different way again.

 

“Gracie, are those the blueberries I just bought today? Did you eat the whole thing?”

“NO! YOU’RE A LIAR!”

“But… honey did you eat the blueberries that were in the fridge? All by yourself?”

::squeaks:: “I don’t know!”

“I was going to make blueberries with them, but if you ate them it’s okay to tell me the truth.  I’m happy you got fresh fruit into you.  I’m just surprised you ate the whole thing.”

“I DID NOT! YOU’RE A LIAR!”

“Okay, but I can TELL you ate them all! Your lips are blue! It’s just better to tell the truth.  That way you won’t get in trouble.”

She gripped that pint tin for dear life, her knuckles white, her eyes desperate.  I thought she was desperate for me to believe that she hadn’t eaten all of those blueberries on her own.  I really was fine with the fact that she ate all of them.

 

::with tears::  “I tell the troof.  I not ate them all.  There are four mushy ones!”

It’s all in the details, Mom.  It’s all in the details.

 

 

 

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Cadbury's Mini Eggs

Cadbury's Dark Mini Eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been praying that the weather would warm back up soon, and the last few days have been gloriously sunny and pretty.  They’ve reached the low 50*s and been comfortable, which has been better on my poor joints and bones.  Stress always pushes that back a bit and of course makes my flare-ups worse, but with warmer weather I can sit in the sun and feel a lovely natural warmth loosen the pain a little bit.

Tonight or tomorrow, we’re supposed to get some much-needed rain.  Connecticut has been red-flagged for being severely high risk for brush fires and worse since it’s so dry and we’re in a rain deficit, partly because of the mild winter.  But I’ll be honest… I’m dreading it.

I’m dreading the migraine and the body pain, especially since I’m coming out of a moderate flare-up already.  I’ll be sure to take my Vitamin B-Complex and stay hydrated, and of course “get enough sleep” is always on my calendar.  But I know what’s coming if the weather men are right.

What am I saying? How often are the weather men really right? My body is right more often than they are.

My real saving grace is yoga.  Ease the back, the hips, the shoulders… redirect the stress and nervous energy.  Bring oxygen to the muscles.  ::sigh::  Pretend that it worked better than it did.  Tolerate it because I have to and there’s no alternative.  Then raid the girls’ Easter baskets.

No, not that part.  I have my own chocolate.  My favorite Easter candy is the Cadbury Mini Egg.  I love those little bits of sweet-smelling crusty sugar coating smooth chocolate.  I love the purple ones.  Chocolate makes me happy and there’s a scientific reason!!!! yes! a legitimate reason! to eat chocolate! I swear! I don’t have the research handy at the moment, but that would be a great post.

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image from cartoonstock.com

Sweet Girl enjoys little enough food due to tactile food issues that when she asks for something new I move heaven and earth to find it.  I don’t care if she ends up liking it or not because it just means that she’s willing to try and taste something new.  It doesn’t happen often, but for her to try a new taste and texture is a Big Deal even if it’s based on her anticipating how something might taste and feel.

Before shopping last night I asked her what she wanted in her school lunches this week and usually she shouts, “NOTHING! I HATE LUNCH! NO SNACK! GIVE ME YOGURT!” and my ears are blown out.  I had no reason to expect anything different but I still have to ask.  It’s our thing. It’s our routine.

Instead of the usual she asked for “stick mozzarella that won’t hurt my tummy.”  It was a very well thought out statement and her eyes were pleading.

Now I had a mission.  If Kraft can make shredded mozzarella and cheddar and Cabot can make cheddar blocks that cater to Lactose Intolerant people by making these products Lactose-Free, then I had hope that I could find a L-F string cheese.  I checked every single brand in every single “style” of mozzarella.  You’d be surprised how many string cheeses and stick cheeses there are out there.

There are a lot.  I won’t enumerate them.  You’re just going to have to trust me.

Lactose Free Polly-O String 2% milk

Despite all of the dozen or more string cheeses, I accomplished my mission with immense thanks to Polly-O who, I shouldn’t be surprised, is part of the Kraft Corporation.  It’s a specific style, though, and it’s the ONLY ONE that’s Lactose Free.  All of the others have lactose.  The bag on this one actually says “0 grams of lactose” under nutrition information.  All of the bags will say “enzyme” listed in their ingredients but unless it also says “0 grams of lactose” then it’s not actually Lactose Free.

This morning when it was time to make her lunch, SHE reminded ME about the new snack.  She even helped me make her lunch and put it together.  This never happens.  Today she has her dream lunch: Cinnamon Swirl Bread, grasshopper pie yogurt, and string cheese.  She had her favorite cereal for breakfast, which was a bit of a struggle but she ate it nonetheless, which was Almond Vanilla Special K.  She loves the crunch.  It’s a VERY crispy cereal and vanilla is one of her favorite things.

Of course the real test on this cheese and it’s flavor and texture is going to be the road test.  It might look pretty and have all of the requirements to be able to give it to her… but it might taste too salty or it might have a texture that she can’t tolerate.  It’s still a success in my book because she’s going to TRY it and that’s all I can ask.  I realize that it’s a blessing that she’s trying it since so many children on the Autism Spectrum won’t ever, ever try new foods.  This is a rarity, but it does happen and for that we’re blessed.  Let’s just hope that she finds it a risk worth taking.

P.S. This image was located with her help. 🙂

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White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

Image via Wikipedia

Last night my Sweet Girl had trouble sleeping.  It’s been a while.  She was pensive and sad, but she was willing to talk to me.

But before I continue, I have to explain what she’s doing right now.  She thinks that she’s learned to hold her breath.

“Look! I’m holding my breath!”

Then she sucks in a deep breath, puffs out her cheeks, and quickly clamps her hands across her mouth to hold her face.  While she breathes through her nose.  But she’s HOLDING her breath.  With her hands.  Get it?  ::nudge nudge:: GET IT???

Okay, so last night she comes into my room with her head hanging, feet shuffling, and eyes teary.

“My eyes aren’t working.  They won’t stay closed and let me sleep.”
“Are you having trouble tonight?”
“It’s my eyes.  They won’t stay closed and my brain is all… um… ”
“Thinking? Is your brain doing too much thinking?”
“Okay, that.”

So I offered to let her lay in bed next to me and to give her some sensory input.  Her skin was dry and itchy so I massaged some of my favorite body butter on her, and that helped relax her perfectly.

“Are you feeling better?”
“What’s a casket?”
“O… kay.  We’ll go with that.  Is there something you want to talk about?”
“Yes.  Do we know someone who passed away?”
“Yes, honey.  Are you telling me you want to talk about Nonnu?”
::tears spring to her eyes::
“Yes, my Nonnu.  He had a casket.  Why a casket?”
“It’s a special silky kind of bed in a pretty box so that someone has a nice place to lay down when they’re buried.  Does that make sense?”
“Yes.  Why did we kiss roses for Nonnu when we… um… and we gave him the roses… we kissed roses… why we do that?”
“Why did we kiss roses at the cemetery? It was a special way to pass along a last kiss since we couldn’t kiss Nonnu’s cheek again.”
“Okay.”
::more tears::
“Do you miss your Nonnu?”
“I miss him.  I sad about Nonna missing him.  She always sad now.”
“Do you want to think about a happy memory about you and Nonnu? Do you remember when you and Nonnu would sit at the table with salad and hot peppers and bread?”
::giggles::
“Did you know that your name is very special to your Nonnu and Nonna?”
“No.”
“Well, it is.  You know how Daddy talks about your Uncle F? He was Daddy’s little brother.  That means he was Nonnu and Nonna’s son and your uncle, right?”
“Okay.”
“Well, his whole name was F-.  His nickname was Fe.  Your whole name is G F-a.”
::sweet smile and more tears::
“That made you very, very special to your Nonnu.  That’s why every time Nonna writes you a card, she writes it out to ‘G-a F-a.'”
“I like that.  My name is special.  Nonnu thought I’m special.”

It was so poignant and the look on her face was just so… angelic.  I couldn’t believe a.) the length of the conversation and b.) how much thought was going into what she needed to ask.  Encouraged, I prodded her a bit.

“You’ve been thinking about this a lot haven’t you? What else have you been thinking about?”
“I see Nonnu before he passed away.  You can’t say ‘die’ or ‘dead’ because those words hurt people’s feelings.”
“Yes, you’re right… passed away is a gentle way to say ‘died.'”
“I see Nonnu when he was died.  He was in bed.”
::more tears::
“Did that bother you? Or scare you?  Was that the wrong thing to do?”
“No! I not scared.  I sad.  I said good-bye to Nonnu.  He not scary.  It was sad.  Nonna was sad.  I sad for Nonna.  I sad for missing…  I just… I not…”
“It’s okay, honey.  I’m sad too.  You’re doing great.  I’m happy you talked to me.  Is there more you want to say?”
“Yes.  You are dangerous with a hair brush.  And I mad you not ever let me have chocolate again! I hate lactose intolerance! I not going to be lactose intolerance ever again! I want chocolate!”

And there we have it. The chocolate. I pointed out how many different ways she can have chocolate that doesn’t have milk in it, and how the next time I go shopping I’ll try to find some of her special chocolate. But the tears over the chocolate didn’t just glisten in her eyes as they had through the above conversation, or trickle down slowly.

They burst out of her eyes like a rain storm.

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