Saturday, April 3, 2010

Justin Cooked Dinner Tonight and Justin is Proud of Himself

As part of celebrating Autism Awareness month, I made a pledge on April 1st, 2010 to make a new posting at each day in April.

I love to write so on the surface that wouldn't seem like such a big promise.  The problem is that despite altruistic intentions, I frequently find myself facing writer's block when I sit down at the computer keyboard to type.  I have tons of inspired thoughts rushing and swirling through my mind, but I struggle getting anything tangible to slow down long enough to transfer from my brain to my fingers.

Come to think of it, perhaps facing a writer's dam would be a more accurate visual...


Our oldest son Justin often has a hard time with getting started, staying organized and processing his thoughts.  This is true for many 10 year olds but as a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, it is often very distracting and debilitating.  What might seem like a routine task to some, such as getting clothes on and getting ready for school can turn into a comedy of errors and 45 minute event, even when things are laid out the night before and everyone involved has the best intentions in accomplishing the mission of "getting Justin to school."

To his credit, things have gotten much better over the past year and we've noticed increased responsibility. His intentions are usually good and when he slips or forgets something, he tries not to let the mishap adversely impact his self-esteem.  There are times though when he beats himself up and it is during these incidents of self-dislike and ego-blasting that I am reminded of what it was like growing up as a very disorganized child with overachieving perfectionist tendencies. Quite the juxtaposition....

I want Justin to feel success. I hate to see him get down on himself.  I want him to know that no matter what his challenges or achievements are, we love him and will always encourage him to succeed and be his best.  Yet if he is like me, I'm afraid he'll feel inside that won't be enough.  We take it one day at a time!


Tonight, John and I heard the most wonderful words from Justin.  "I feel proud of myself!"  WOW!  I know that whether or not that Justin had autism, hearing these words from our son would make us feel warm inside.  However considering that all that Justin has gone through in the past couple of years, it really is an amazing thing to hear.

You see, tonight under John's supervision and mentoring, Justin cooked dinner for me, himself, John and Ryan.  He cooked and prepared DINNER!!  Now before you ask if we brought in McDonalds (in which I'd usually laugh and say yes), I'm going to tell you in BIG BOLD LETTERS that our JUSTIN WAS AMAZING from start to finish.  He was helpful, polite, engaged, proud and responsible.  Cooking is a life skill that has always been a challenge for me.  To see my oldest son take positive steps in this direction is a HUGE hooray!

Here was the menu:  chicken, green beans, rolls and cheesy noodlesGram's Snickerdoodle cookies fresh-baked and mailed from California for Easter were our dessert. Dad supplemented his meal with potato salad but that really doesn't count as everyone in our family knows to look at Dad with suspicious alien eyes when such a thing is brought to our dinner table.

To understand what a HUGE accomplishment it is for our oldest son to cook dinner, you have to realize that Justin is not a fan of most food textures, tastes or smells. The wrong smell or taste can instantly trigger a gag reflex and the end to a meal.  When Justin eats "chicken", it is always in McNugget form and should some store bought nugget attempt to weasel its way in, it will immediately be deemed as counterfeit and tossed into the trash.  The variety of foods he generally eats can be counted on one hand, sometimes two.

So when Justin said after helping Dad cook and prepare the meal that he wanted to try some of that "good smelling chicken" and maybe one of those "good smelling rolls" too, we were about ready to call a press conference.

Lest my readers think I'm poking fun at Justin, it is all done in love. In our family, humor is often what gets us through the days and nights, the meltdowns and the ramp-ups.  Ryan, Justin and I ALL have picky eating food sensitivity issues so any day that Justin or Ryan make a breakthrough and try something new, we really compliment them and encourage it.

A couple hours after our meal as we were sitting upstairs working on our computers, Justin took of his headphones, stopped the video he had been watching online and declared, "I feel proud of myself!  I feel proud of myself for cooking dinner!"

We're proud of you too, honey!  CONGRATULATIONS to JUSTIN on a wonderful meal and a major accomplishment!

I took a bit of video and hope to get that uploaded here soon!

For more humor and a peek of what it's like around our dinner table, please read my earlier blog, A Typical Dinner with 3 Picky Eaters on the Autism Spectrum.


Best wishes and Blessings for a

from the Krejcha family!

Love, Karen, John, Justin and Ryan


  1. Wonderful Blog tonight! I am so proud of J.

    Justin Keep up the good work.

    Mom Keep up with the writing. Let you light shine.

    Love Ya

  2. Way to go, Justin! Congratulations!

  3. Fantastic! Delightful to see success and pride! I love it!