Ice-pleasure (#310)

After several months’ hiatus, Charlie is again displaying a taste for frozen vegetables. This time around, he is a bit more of the gourmet than the gourmand. Instead of ShopRite brand peas and carrot cubes, it is the special “stir-fry mix” of (as the package says) haricots verts, wax beans, and slivered baby carrots. “Yallow peas,” Charlie asked over and over again yesterday. “Peassss-corn.”

“Corn,” I interposed, glancing at the freezer door.
“Peas-corn. I want corn.” And with a suddenly sunshiney smile: “Wehfrijorrwader!”

The main explanation proffered for Charlie munching bags of icy vegetables as if they were M & M’s is that it stems from his hyperactive or hypoactive sensory needs. Charlie had a period of loving to chomp on ice cubes (not chips, cubes, as big as wooden blocks) and he always likes to feast on several handfuls of new-fallen snow.

I am sure that Charlie has these “sensory needs.” I also think the frozen haricots verts and the wax beans and the slivers of carrot look a lot like French fries, which Charlie also used to eat frozen. And might the sensation of biting into a nice frosty carrot not be strangely similar to sinking your teeth into a crispy, oily, fried potato?

These are heightened sensory experiences and, if I may posit that Charlie seems to sense things too much or too little, it is not surprising that he would seek out intenser food thrills.

Sophocles, the Greek tragedian, puts it this way:

Ice-crystal in the hands is

at first a pleasure quite novel.

But there comes a point–

you can’t put the melting mass down,

you can’t keep holding it.

The poet Anne Carson (whose translation of Sophocles fr. 149 Radt that is) calls this “ice-pleasure,” and further describes it as the “uneasy image of hot ice.”*

“Hot ice” is a paradox, an extreme, that swings close to describing our life with Charlie in Autismland. One moment there is Charlie on his back on someone’s lawn in hot rage and confusion, and the next here is Charlie watching the high-school lacrosse team practice, and running home to meet his ABA therapist.

Some say the world will end in fire and ice.

Why choose when, like Charlie, you can have it both ways?

*Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay, Princeton University Press. 1986, p. 116.

4 Responses to “Ice-pleasure (#310)”
  1. styleygeek says:

    Funny, there was a thread on my blog just the other day about people liking to eat frozen peas ( Judging by how pretty much ALL my regular commentators admitted to it, I don’t think Charlie is all that unusual in this respect!

  2. JewishMommy says:

    Hi Kristina,
    Does Charlie like Edamame peas? Big Brother loves them, K.C. doesn’t 😦 I am wondering if Charlie would like something with a little fire to it, does he like spicy stuff?

    KC’s Mommy

  3. Liz says:

    My three NT kids adored frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, and frozen mangoes. I’d buy them and put them in storage bins, otherwise they’d tear open the bags and leave a mess.

  4. Kristin says:

    Frozen blueberries are the best! SD, my husband, loves his pop in a glass really cold with a lot of ice. I am a one cube girl myself. I think everyone has an ice lover in their family :o)


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