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During one of our weekly telephone conversations, Will told me that he was eating sausage and green beans. “See,” he said, “I am eating a vegetable.” And then he told me that the reason he didn’t eat many vegetables is because he cooks like Ralph cooks. When Will first moved away, Ralph spent some Saturdays at his apartment teaching Will how to cook Will’s favorite meals.

Ever since I went to work in 2004, Ralph has been cooking the majority of the weekday suppers. This is because 1) he knows how to cook and 2) he gets out of work at 2:00 p.m., whereas I usually work until 5:00 p.m. or later. Ralph pushed me to work full time, so I told him that if he wanted to eat before 8 p.m., he would have to cook.

Ralph’s repertoire of meals*** include spaghetti and garlic bread, chili mac, chicken nuggets and fries, breaded fish from the freezer and fries, meatballs with barbecue sauce and tater tots, sausage and green beans, tacos, pot roast with carrots and potatoes, turkey with stuffing, barbecue (made with ground hamburger) on a bun and tater tots, hotdogs and steak on the grill with french fries. Will told me that since Dad didn’t have many vegetables in his cooking, he didn’t either.

One of the nuggets of wisdom I managed to catch from the conferences, meetings, and self-education regarding autism when my kids were growing up was that our kids have autism, but they are also like their parents. They will have their parents traits. It was a reminder to think about that fact that their autistic traits were not everything.

So Will tends to learn along black and white lines, which in some ways is good for computer programming and calculus. His creativity seems to be along those lines as well.  I tend to think like that in terms of my work at a law office.

Patty told Will last night that her theology professor told her that she was a better student of theology than Will was (they went/are going to the same small Christian college). In part, this is because she brings her depth of understanding as a history major to the subject, along with her willingness to challenge her teacher on his positions. She is a conservative fundamentalist, in a truly historical Calvinist way of thinking. Ralph picks her up from college and they have highly entertaining (to them) discussions. Patty says he thinks deeply about these things. Ralph majored in Bible and pastoral studies in college.

Some characteristics our kids demonstrate have nothing to do with autism, and owe more to their parents’ traits.

***My meals include chicken and dumplings (carrots, onions, potatoes, corn), baked tilapia with rotini and a vegetable, salad, chicken nuggets and fries and a vegetable, baked pork tenderloin and rice and a vegetable, crockpot Boston Pork roast and rice and vegetables, etc. Sometimes when Ralph and I discuss what to have for supper, it is really a discussion about who is going to cook supper.

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