Clearly exercise is a big part of life for Charlie aka "Mr. 24 Miles on a Friday" (he and Jim are readying to go on long local bike ride #2 in the photo above -- an evening ride, so they are suited up with neon vests and (not that can you see them) mini bike lights). Physical activity (daily, aerobic) has been key to help Charlie with the regulation (to the extent he can) of behavior storms and even played a role in helping his speech and focusing (if not his sleep, though after the 24 miles Friday, he didn't ask for a walk and went to sleep at a decent, before midnight hour).
A good diet, with as few processed foods as possible in the diet of a teenage American boy, is also important. I wrote about such, with some references to the worrisome (anxiety-provoking) question of life post-school for Charlie here at Care2.com in a post about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (apparently May 19 has been declared 'Food Revolution Day') (I got a bit on my high horse in the post, I confess).
Writing the post got me to thinking about McDonalds.
About how it is kind of unavoidable for most America kids to go there; I myself used to love a cheeseburger, which Jim thinks is laugh-off-the-couch hilarious because I've been a vegetarian since I was 13 and I used to go around in circles explaining to his mother what I would not eat,
About how, while Charlie was on the gluten-free casein-free diet (which he still kind of is as we have found dairy in particular to be really bad for him, plus he is such a creature of habit that he just doesn't eat lot of gluten-y foods because they were off limits when he was little), McDonalds' bun-less burgers and fries were a readily available treat.
About how it's not so easy to find things he likes, let alone things to treat him with.
About how parents with kids like him just want to indulge a kid with so many challenges because the world is just so very challenging and pleasures often few and restricted. Charlie certainly likes eating so getting him things he likes to eat has long been a way to, yes, treat him, though he has often become highly obsessive about his favored foods.
About how McDonalds, ever so reliable and offering the same menu at every one of the dozens of locations across the US we've patroned over the years, has sometimes seemed just made for Charlie's obsessive need for order. And et me tell you, as a parent, who hasn't felt a massive sense of undying gratitude on seeing those familiar golden arches after a wretchedly long time in the car with a woebegone child?
About how often, as a parent, I've wished there weren't so d****d many McDonalds everywhere and they wanted to recognizable with those d****d golden arches.
Since he was able to talk (a little), saying 'I yeh uh-uh' for 'I want fries' when he was 4 years old, McDonalds has been something Charlie, with his limited repertoire of words, could ask for and, hence, we had to take him there when he did ask.
But lately, Charlie really has not been asking as much to go. He always eats more once home after eating McDonalds; sometimes he has asked for the McDonalds and barely eaten any, as he if were only asking to go for the sake of asking to go, but the food wasn't what he wanted. Leading us to think, Charlie is discovering fast food isn't fulfilling, or filling, and he can forego it. He might even be figuring out that he doesn't feel so good after eating a McDonalds meal.
Which is all pretty revolutionary. I think.