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Red Vines and Tortellini


"No candy."

She glares at me, her nostrils flaring with every breath, fists clenched so tightly she’ll have fingernail marks on her palms. I'm watching an impending meltdown. Its cause? Red licorice twists, and my refusal to count them as a dinner component.

"RedVines and tortellini" — her impromptu addition to our grocery list — amuses me, but the rules have to be enforced regardless. It won’t be easy. A child with autism can be as headstrong as any creature on earth.

"No candy," I repeat. "We can have tortellini, but you need to pick a vegetable to go with it."

She huffs and puffs. I wonder if she’s going to threaten to blow the house down.

"You know the deal. Red Vines are a treat, not part of a meal."

Still glowering, she stomps over to the white board and scrawls "brokkilly" over "RedVines."

"Better, Daddy?"

"Better, kiddo."

No screaming, no tears, no China Syndrome — at least not this time.

Hey, we’re making progress.

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