Pizza Anxiety

Pizza *&* naan on his birthday. Thx, Zante's!
Remember what a great thing pizza was for Leo? How it took an aeon of therapist-led food chaining to get him to eat it, how then he became such a fan that we we had pizza cake for his 10th birthday?

Unfortunately, Leo now likes pizza so much that he's developed a severe case of Pizza Anxiety. If he knows there's pizza in the house, he can't think of anything else, can't focus on anything else. If he knows there's leftover pizza from dinner, he gets agitated and has a hard time going to sleep. If he knows there's pizza in his lunch box at school, he cannot think or talk about anything else, not until that pizza gets nommed. No amount of visual supports, reassurances, or distractions help -- not at home, not in the classroom.

So, we've banned Wednesday Night pizza for now, which as a routine lover myself makes me fairly sad -- and also sad that this is so hard for our boy.

We can still get pizza in restaurants, at the Costco food court even -- any place the pizza loop opens and closes on site. But we can't have pizza at home, or at school for the time being.

Leo doesn't seem to mind so far, as again it's only when pizza is present that Pizza Anxiety escalates. And we'll try again in a few weeks.

As always, advice or insights appreciated,


Apologies for being mostly absent, Leo being mostly absent from this site. No more publishing books during the winter holidays for me. (Have you bought your copy of TPGA yet? Check out the fabulous reviews we've been getting!  )


  1. I'm like that with chocolate! hehe! Hopefully, you'll be able to get your pizza fix often at restaurants.

  2. Afraid I've got nothing useful to offer...but you gave me something to think about with respect to Nik and something we've been dealing with.

  3. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Doesn't everyone have that problem? I can't leave a cold pizza in a fridge alone either. How about pizza delivery and be ruthless with throwing away leftovers?

  4. We had an issue like this with sushi. Actually, with lots of Charlie's preferred foods, so it got to the point I'd go shopping every day. We couldn't leave anything in the fridge that he liked or he'd eat it; this caused (still can cause) major stress on the shopper (me except when my mom visits) who has to get to the store constantly.

    I agree with Anon. -- it is wasteful, but it's better sometimes to throw away leftovers. Out of sight, a bit more out of mind (maybe).

    I keep a stash of preferred items -- so they can go into Charlie's lunchbox and so I don't have to go to the store so much -- in a secret place in a faraway corner of our house (in an ice chest sort of thing, with dry ice). Lately though, Charlie has been a bit better about seeing food in the fridge he likes and not eating it, unless he is actually hungry. I think it's one of those things that gets learned, really slowly, over time.

    For Charlie, going cold turkey (pardon the expression) has been the best thing. This usually results in a huge behavioral explosion BUT afterwards, things are better. (Just went through one to work through a burrito obsession.) I've been working on a daily food schedule so Charlie sees what preferred item he has each day (though in the past, such a schedule was not so helpful, as -- when he saw the photos of different foods -- he wanted them all NOW).

  5. Rebecca6:42 PM

    I'm feeling some kind of social story, like how I feel when I eat pizza, and want more, bit can't have any. And how I can have more tomorrow, or the next meal, and its ok, I need to wait, just like cake or any other treat, you only can have so much at one time.

    It certainly is a hard lesson to learn, we use these kind of stories/ videos with my son about cookies, Halloween candy, any favorite type of snack that has preset amounts allowed at any given time.

    We use a lot of "anytime"/ "sometime" wording to describe what can be eaten whenever, healthy foods, and those that are so "special" and yummy that we only can have them sometimes.

  6. I have the same problem with cocaine.
    Whoops! I meant chocolate! Delicious Mexican stone-chocolate from Zingerman's. If it's in the house I WILL consume every last bit.


Respectful disagreement encouraged.