It wasn’t until recently that my “feeble” (lol) mind has realized something. Hard to believe, I know. My son has complete control when it comes to food issues. Phew, there, I said it…..it’s off my chest. I’m a bit ashamed about it too……but wallowing in that isn’t going to fix it.
This is a game to MM. He was holding the control……remote control as you will. He’d push the buttons that he wanted to go his way……I’m speaking of meal times. It’s funny, too, because I’ve always been “careful” of not letting him have the control.
Here’s what happened to us…..so it doesn’t happen to you too. MM was diagnosed with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). He has a difficult time with loud noises. He’s a sensory “SEEKER” that will constantly be jumping on the furniture, running into walls, you name it, he does it. One thing I’ve noticed and don’t really do “anything” about because I feel he must NEED the extra sensory input is that he’ll walk on his toes…..but not just the run of the mill, walk on his toes…which he does do….but he will bend his toes downward and walk on the folded up toes…..I truly have no idea how better to explain it…..I’ll have to post a pic sometime. I’ve NEVER seen anything like it and neither has MM’s counselor. Anyways…..I have always thought his troubles with food were all related to his SPD. WRONG! I see that now.
I was talking to a wonderful and very dear friend of mine who has walked this road before and whose daughter is on the path to complete healing!!! (YEAH!!! WAY TO GO!) She stated that MM sounds like he’s “very good at controlling food issues in our home.” That is one of the many things I love about this friend of mine, she tells it like it is. No pulling the wool over your eyes, she’s amazing and I’m blessed to have her friendship. Back to MM…..when she stated this to me….last night as a matter of fact…..I knew in my heart of hearts that she was right on the money! How could we have let him do this? Well, easily….very easily! I got caught up in the not wanting a tantrum every single time we eat……OH……and I MUST mention this…..the LAST time we tried to “Make” him eat what we were eating, he stopped eating all together for NINE days!!!!! Nothing….I mean, NOTHING…..he ate nothing! He did drink so I wasn’t worried about dehydration. On the 9th night….I made Hamburger Helper…..he finally ate again. I was so worried about him the entire time, naturally. I’m telling you, this kiddo is stubborn!
Well, not wanting a repeat of the NINE DAY ordeal……I caved, we caved. I made seperate meals for MM and always (almost anyways) gave him 2 choices of what he was to eat. He couldn’t waver from the 2 choices……and I seriously THOUGHT I was doing good by him. BUT BUT BUT…..he still had the control at the end of the day when you really look at it. Last night, for example, I made Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup…..YUMMY….and set aside some noodles for MM. He arrived at the table and the look on his face was remarkable, as if I’d taken his breath away! Lost his best friend. You get the picture. He started freaking out, saying that he was NOT GOING TO EAT this!! He was trying to engage us in a battle. And you know what……that will be the LAST battle I’ll have with him…..I must if he’s going to heal!!
Today is a new day!!!! A day for real healing!!!!!! Lunch time came and I didn’t even tell him that I was fixing lunch. I just made it and put it on the table, called him to the table and waited to see what ensued. At first, MM was whining and pushing himself into me (which is what he does when he is whining and wants something I’m saying no to). I clearly and calmly stated that lunch was on the table (only 1 TBS of each item and when he finishes that…..he may have whatever he wants more of from his plate but doesn’t have to eat everything again) and when he finished ALL of it, he could have more mac-n-cheese. The other item on his plate was a chicken nugget in a kid-friendly shape…..which he always FLAT OUT REFUSES TO EAT! I never said another word. I ignored his “pleas”…..I went about my work in the kitchen. Then the MOST AMAZING thing of all happened…..something I NEVER expected!!!! He actually stopped whining, went to the table on his own and ate every single bite!!!! You go MM!!! I was so proud!!!!!! He stated he didn’t want seconds of anything though.
I thought, gee, it can’t possibly be THIS easy can it? NOPE…..along came dinner which I KNEW was going to be a TOUGH battle. I had left-over Home Made Chicken Noodle Soup (with carrots and celery mind you)! I also made him a grilled cheese in the shape of stars (I gave him only ONE of the 3 shapes). I knew he’d eat the grilled cheese, but the soup, no way. I was correct, too. He threw a heck of a fit……complete with pushing the table away! He kept yelling at me to “Take that nasty soup away from me! Why did you MAKE something that you KNOW I won’t eat!?” Stuff like that, but constantly!!! I went about eating my dinner. I calmly told MM that I was almost finished and he needed to figure out what he was going to do…..dinner would be over when I am finished tonight. I looked lovingly at him……and calmly said……”ssssshhhhh, it’s ok. I’m here for you. I won’t leave you. You can trust me.” He immediately calmed down and ate the single star grilled cheese….ONLY. He flat out refused the soup. That is fine……he’s learning…and will CONTINUE to learn as I won’t back down this time. I want my (our) son to heal and he can’t possibly heal if he’s feeling so out of control and yet that he has to control his environment. That is a tough pill to swallow…for anyone……especially a 4 year old who’s suffered trauma. He should be being a kiddo. He shouldn’t have to worry about these things. It’s high time I take the bull by the ring and do what I’m supposed to do….be the one in Control…..so that he doesn’t feel like he has to.
Blessings to you and your children…..
How do you handle this very thing in your homes? Thanks for your input!!!!