Our daughter Lexi has Down Syndrome & Autism, a powerful combination that limits her in many ways but makes for a very unique and loving little girl. Every accomplishment in her cognitive development and motor skill ability is cause for celebration, and her latest fascination with condiments — specifically ketchup, barbecue, and mustard — is especially marvelous.
For example: Lexi likes to dip stuff like vegetables, chicken nuggets, and french fries. Some morsels of food get the ketchup (fries), some barbecue (nuggets) and some end up in Ranch dressing (vegetables, her fingers). She asks for it, waits for it to be squeezed onto her plate (slephgh) and proceeds to dip, one bite at a time. By the way, a “bite” usually involves the whole nugget/fry/broccoli, so there’s no worrying about double dipping. A few years ago, our youngest son asked if you can catch Down Syndrome. (Just to be clear, the answer is no.)
But what’s really fascinating about Lexi & various toppings/condiments is her deep and abiding love for mustard. Not the fancy kind (pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?) or the fortified kind (brown-infused mustard). She just wants the yellow stuff. “But on what does she like her mustard” you ask? Simple: she likes it on her spoon.
That’s right. Our daughter eats mustard. By the spoonful. Like some kind of crazed chef with a fetish. She even winces a little… yet she still comes back for more. We open the fridge and she points to it. She gets a spoon. She holds it out (please note that Lexi is the one that keeps pushing this forward) and then puts a huge spoonful into her mouth.
If anyone reading this is a pharmacist or doctor, please don’t hesitate to let us know if we’re endangering our child. It’s not like she’s eating more than a few servings a day. I assure you that nothing has turned yellow (except the immediate border of her mouth-area).
If there was a way to go back in time and tell myself that Lexi would find Mustard to be one of the finest delicacies on the planet, needing absolutely nothing to compliment its sheer delightful and pungent taste, I would’ve said “wait… you have a time machine?”
The other thing that I didn’t know before having Lexi is this: kids with special needs have just as much personality as any other kid. It just comes out different. Like, for example, as a mustard fixation. And I’m pretty happy about that.