Every time we've passed a certain fast food chain since Peter arrived with us he's pointed at the big yellow logo and looked excited, so on Sunday we decided to round off an excellent weekend by having a meal out. As we approached, Peter got more and more excited, and as we went through the doors he looked like he couldn't believe his luck. Peter's diet is quite limited due to some sensory issues around food so we didn't think fries or nuggets would go down too well, but he does enjoy nesquick, so I confidently ordered him a fish finger kids' meal to see if he'd try it, and a chocolate milkshake.
We sat down and started getting our food out of the paper bags, Peter looking on expectantly. He hasn't really got to grips with straws yet, but Esmeralda started him off on his milkshake, he took a few sips and everything seemed to be going well. That was until all the food was on the table and we started to eat.
Peter watched me as a I raised a chip to my mouth and made an indignant noise. I offered it to him, he batted it away. I picked up a nugget whilst he stared at it intently, I offered it to him, he glared at me and threw it on the floor. Esmeralda unwrapped the toy that came with the meal and hopped it across the table, and Peter didn't deign to look at it (I don't blame him, it was quite a disappointing toy). He picked up the paper bag that the food had come in and shuffled through the rubbish inside. We realised at this point that we had no idea what Peter's mum and dad used to order for him, so we didn't know what he was expecting and he couldn't tell us. We felt awful.
Esmeralda suddenly realised that we'd forgotten to pick up any sauces, so went over to the counter and brought back some BBQ and ketchup pots. I opened a pot of BBQ and dipped in a chip, and Peter suddenly looked hopeful and pointed at it, so I handed it to him. He licked off the sauce, made a face and dropped the chip as though it was poison. He reached over to the table, picked up the fish fingers that had come with his meal and poked them. Esmeralda wondered whether he wanted to try them, and dipped one in some ketchup. Peter's face lit up, he licked the ketchup off the fish finger and handed it back for Esmeralda to dip again. He finished the whole pot of ketchup and then sat back in his buggy and was happy to move on.
Trial and error is a big part of fostering, especially when you consider how little we know about children's lives before they arrive with us and the fact that many are developmentally unable to tell us things that really matter to them. I'm glad we got it right this time, although I don't think we'll be going out for lunch and ordering Peter just ketchup very often!