I’m so happy to welcome Simone Emery from Play With Food to the blog today. She’s a feeding specialist and I’ve learned so much from her wisdom and experience. Having a fussy eater myself (you can read about our food challenges here and here), it’s so good to know that I’m not alone and that there ARE things I can do to improve our situation!
Simone has reviewed a new book from a fellow special needs parent, Gail Simpkins, called “Praying for Strawberries”. I haven’t had a chance to check it out for myself yet (remind me to fill you in on what’s been going on around here lately…). But, I love the acceptance, love and positivity that seems to lie at the heart of Gail’s story.
Over to you, Simone…
It’s a privilege and eye-opening experience to be let into someone’s world. Reading transports you and teaches you so much. And for this I am grateful to Gail Simpkins for penning her story “Praying for Strawberries”, a yearlong diarised account of life with her son, Lachlan. Lachlan has Autism and this book celebrates his accomplishments, his everyday (and remarkable) talents and acknowledges the village of people that surround Lachlan.
The other star of the book is Itsal. Itsal is Lachlan’s autism assistance dog. Through the fabric of the book we see how much Itsal has improved the quality of life for Lachlan and his family. Lachlan worked towards his ultimate goal in this book, learning to surf!
The the book title symbolises meeting a fussy eater half way by being able to provide the best possible option in the hope he agrees. Lachlan preferred strawberries in his early years. The strawberries were preferred to be a certain shade of red and available at the same time each day. And for every parent of a picky eater, you will know how hard some foods can be to hunt down – especially when they are seasonal! The symbolism runs deep in the way that Lachlan’s family provide for him and simultaneously watch his individuality flourish.
I enjoyed that this book gave me some laugh out loud moments and some moments of pure reflection, which I think is especially touching when you identify with the everyday moments that this family has been through to get where they are today. On days when Lachlan said a new word for the first time, tried a new food or had the time of his life in the surf simulator, I could feel Gail’s exuberance.
I also love her down to earth way of conveying that it’s all the small things that matter to her. Her gratitude for friends that still want to have conversations with her even if she is known to run off mid-sentence to attend to Lachlan. Gail values sticking at trying new ideas to assist Lachlan, even if the end goal seems so far away, she is so optimistic. That family and friends have been integral in supporting them. And her gratitude for Itsal’s arrival to their family from Righteous Pups Australia.
You can get copies of Gail’s book “Praying for Strawberries” via Booktopia or as electronic format via the Amazon Kindle store. Follow the Author, Gail Simpkins, on Facebook as Praying for Strawberries and find out more about Righteous Pups Australia.
Simone Emery is a feeding specialist and wannabe cook from the blog Play with Food. Simone works with a range of feeding issues in her clinical day job too. Simone is a big advocate for getting the right feeding advice for your situation, feeling empowered in your parenting journey and finding your tribe.