All posts tagged food

I just don’t know.

Published April 8, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Baby girls been suffering a lot lately with anxiety. The slightest thing seems to send her into a tizz.

A few weeks ago there was an incident in school, baby girl decided to help herself to someone else’s lunch, and when I say help herself I mean literally. She leaned across the table put her hand in to a child’s lunch box and helped herself. I believe she did say ‘thank you’. I found out because the little girl told her mum, who in turn spoke with the teacher. Baby girl got her 2nd shame invoking yellow card. Her teacher was very good though, she talked to me before hand and asked me how best to handle the ‘yellow card’ situation with baby girl. She did her best to keep it low key and reduce as much shame as possible. She even made it more of a ‘time-in’ type punishment and invited baby girl to help her do some jobs in the classroom, rather than the normal ‘time-out’ type.

Then last week baby girl helped herself to a snack from a box kept in the classroom. The only reason I know about this is because she left the evidence in her coat pocket, without which I’m sure she would have gotten away with her crime.

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Its not the first time this has happened, in fact I’m sure its happened more times than we know, she’s just not always getting caught. Its not a new thing either, its been happening on and off for the last 3 years. Sometimes its chocolate, sometimes its milk, sometimes its crisps, she’s really not that fussy it seems. Baby girls always had issues around food but in all honesty the majority of her food issues have been around control, so she would refuse to eat, or be fussy, or slow, or messy etc she’s never been one to over eat, hoard or gorge food. She has also over the years become more and more obsessed around food, so if someones eating she becomes distracted by it, if we’re going out she wants to know what/where we will be having lunch etc.

When baby girl was in nursery she’d often come home with someone else’s painting. ‘That’s not yours’ Id say, ‘but I liked it’ she’d reply. She never seemed to acknowledge that taking something that wasn’t hers was wrong or that the person it belonged to might have been upset, no matter how hard I tried.

Its been the same with stealing food. She’s never shown remorse for taking the food, but has shown regret once she’s known she’s in trouble. Each time its happened I’ve asked her why and she’s very ‘matter-of-factually’ replied with ‘because I like them’ or ‘because I wanted them’ or ‘because I wanted to try it’.

Then there’s been strange goings on at home. She’s become quite the story teller, making up ridiculous and elaborate stories that are obviously untrue, generally with the emphasis of making herself look like some sort of genius or hero. She’s also been up to her old tricks in the bathroom mixing potions and playing with things she shouldn’t. In the same way that she shows no remorse for taking food and pictures, she also shows no remorse for her stories, or spraying perfume all over mirrors or spreading toothpaste all over the bathroom, or tipping shampoo’s into the sink or playing with the bleach covered toilet brush (yuk!!), her only regret seems to be getting caught, which is always inevitable because she’s rubbish at hiding the evidence, in fact, she doesn’t even try. Its been a while since we’ve seen these unpredictable and toddler like behaviors, so why are they back? I just don’t know.

She’s also been showing me anxiety around change in general, and this can be anything from a different brand of food on her plate, to changes to her daily routine right through to simply driving a different route somewhere. She doesn’t totally freak out but she does become anxious. In fact sometimes I’ve asked her ‘whats the matter’ and she told me simply ‘its just because its different mommy’. She’s also showing me lots and lots of ‘what if’ type worries. ‘what if a fly comes in’, ‘what if I don’t like it’, ‘what if she’s not my friend ever’, ‘what if I cant do it’, ‘what if it rains’ ‘what if I get told off’ ‘what if its wrong’ etc etc. So much worry for such a little girl, where is it coming from? I just don’t know.

Then there’s her sleep, or lack of it, she’s always been such a good sleeper, its always come so easy for her, but lately things have changed. She’s taking longer to fall asleep, she’s waking much much earlier and she’s getting up throughout the night once, twice, sometimes 3 times. ‘I’ve had a bad dream’ she says, although she’s never able to tell me what about, monsters & crocodiles is all I ever get and I suspect that’s to just be a fob off. So she’s tired a lot of the time as well. Are the sleep issues her sisters have genetic? or is this anxiety, or is the lack of sleep the reason behind all the anxiety? I just don’t know.

There is a lot of things happening in school at the moment which is resulting in a lot of visitors, She has told me that she doesn’t like it when there are visitors in school. She says they look funny, have no hair and stare at her, I’m sure they don’t but she feels they do. I mentioned it to her teacher and they’ve been trying to reassure baby girl when there are visitors in school, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. She just hides her anxiety in school and brings it home. Is she anxious because there are strange people in the school, or because it makes her day ‘feel’ different? I just don’t know.

I couldn't find a picture of a strange looking bald man with clothes so this will have to do!

I couldn’t find a picture of a strange looking bald man with clothes so this will have to do!

There’s the girl in her class that she has become totally obsessed with, they don’t get on, they clash I suspect, but baby girl is utterly distracted with everything this little girl says and does. Is she feeling rejection because they don’t get on? I just don’t know.

What is all this and where is it coming from?
Is this control? compulsiveness? general anxiety? mind blindness? Aspergers? Autism?
or is this something different? I just don’t know.
Is this all associated with school? Is it all about home? Or is this about her life in general? I just don’t know.

I don’t have a social worker to call for advice, or a therapist to go over things with (and all that’s a story for another day), there is no Educational Psychologist supporting baby girl and our GP has never met her, so like always I just have to try and figure things out for myself and work out the best ways for her teacher to try and support her in school.

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At the moment though, I’m just picking up the pieces as we go, because I just don’t know.


The Apple.

Published August 8, 2013 by thefamilyof5



Something amazing happened today…………………………………………..




Middle girl asked for an apple.

Yes it really is that simple.

Life as an adoptive parent is often about appreciating the simpler things in life.

A Typical 48hrs in My Shoes

Published June 11, 2013 by thefamilyof5

In the last 48hours there’s been:

Big girls night time anxiety, this time over sports day, her constant attention seeking and insecurities.
Middle girls regular bedtime tantrums, day time sulks and being spiteful to baby girl.
Baby girls stealing food at school, other food obsessions, having melt downs at home and needing constant and I mean constant ‘watching’.
I’ve been judged and criticised by friends. Observed and judged by professionals. Fobbed off, scrutinised and ignored!

A typical 48hours then.

*someone pass me the chocolate please

Food Issues

Published June 7, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Issues around food are common for children with a history of neglect and trauma. Not knowing where or when the next meal will come can leave lasting effects on children. Also children that have experienced abuse and neglect can have a need for control, its common for this control to be orientated around food.

My girls all have food related issues of some description. Big girl finds some textures of foods difficult to cope with and also has a tendency to over eat and eat very fast, some of this is due to her being Autistic, sadly some is not.

Middle girls seems to have a few chewing issues, sometimes its as though she’s sucking her food rather than chewing it and holding and using her knife and fork correctly is also difficult for her, being fed milk in a bottle for longer than usual and not being weaned properly could be the cause of this.

Baby girl, well where do I start, baby girls world revolves around food.
When baby girl first came to us, she understandably had a need for control, so much had happened to her that had been out of her control that she grasped every opportunity to control that she could, she still does. Meal times were very difficult with baby girl, she would refuse to eat, play with her food, provoke for a reaction in anyway she could, in order to be in control. I hated meal times, I’d get indigestion because I was trying so hard not to react. I often failed. When baby girl started school full time, I was relieved, but only because it meant one less meal time to contend with.

Baby girl has a very good appetite and can eat a healthy sized meal for a child her age. She likes a wide range of foods and will generally try most things. She can be fussy with vegetables but will eat them, she loves fruit and salad type vegetables such as tomato, peppers and cucumber. All of this is only applicable if she’s in a good mood, if she’s not, she will refuse even cake!
Nowadays things are much easier, not because baby girl no longer controls, because she does, but because we’ve taken steps to change how we do things as a family. We rarely sit down to eat a meal as a family at home, the girls all sit at the table together to eat and we eat once they’re in bed. When baby girl is eating I stay out of sight, I usually busy myself in the kitchen. She has a set time to eat her meal and then her plate is removed from the table and so is she. She still refuses food when the mood takes her. But I no longer react.

Baby girl still completely obsesses about what’s for dinner and I’ve found that the more she knows about what’s coming, the more time she has to decide if she’s going to refuse it. Surprise meals work best for her as they leave her little time to decide if she’s going to eat it or not! Baby girl will always try and find an excuse to come in to the kitchen and ask me a question, whilst peering over my shoulder for clues about her meal. So the kitchen is now off limits when dinner is being prepared, baby girls still learning this one. She’s also now learning that she doesn’t always need to come in to the kitchen to uncover the secrets it holds. I often hear her describing what she can smell in an attempt to find out what’s cooking!

If we make plans to go somewhere, baby girls first questions are ‘will we have dinner there’ ‘what dinner will there be’. Party invitations excite her, but not because of the party, but because she knows there’s party food there. Trips to a park mean ‘picnic’ in baby girls head. If I fill a bag with drinks for the day she always assumes there’s a snack too and try’s to find out what it is. Trips to visit family and friends are always met with the same questions ‘will we have dinner there’. If I collect baby girl from school early or send her in late for any reason, her only concern is missing snack time. She hears food cupboards open, she recognises the sounds of packets, tins, the freezer and of course she knows the sound of, food hub central, the fridge!

Baby girls food obsessions don’t stop with her food either, she’s completely distracted by other people eating, drinking or even talking about food. For example, if I’ve indulged in a light snack (a sneaky piece of chocolate maybe) or had a cup of coffee and then I go and speak to baby girl, she doesn’t hear a word I say. She’s too busy smelling my breath and trying to work out what I’ve just eaten, or drank.

It does have its uses though, if I need baby girl, I can be sure she’ll appear if I open the fridge or rustle a packet!

This post was written for The Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO), this weeks topic is ‘Food’.

How can it be fair……….

Published February 5, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Today was baby girls cognitive assessment (middle girls was last week, I’ll write more about those another time). I decided it was a good opportunity to give baby girl the day off school. After all, sending her to school when she’s tired feels like I’m throwing her to the lions.

We attended her assessment 1st thing after dropping her sisters to school. She was more concerned about what and where she was going to eat that day than the actual visit to the CAMHS offices. So I assured her I had a snack in my bag for when she’d finished showing the lady what a clever girl she was.
60 minutes later she came running out to me having finished the assessment. Her 1st words were ‘can I have my snack now mommy’. Baby girl is and has always been food obsessed, but its always worse when she’s tired because her tiredness makes her more anxious and she feels more out of control.

I gave her the snack which she happily chomped on. ‘My legs hurt’ ‘I’m cold’ ‘I think I’m tired’ were constant phrases on the journey back to the car. She looked tired, and I knew she’d been awake (woken) much earlier than she could cope with. How about we pop to the shop, get a few bits and have an early lunch while we’re there? ‘Yes yes yes’ she said. So we did.

Lunch was hard work, even though she’d had the complete freedom to choose what she wanted I constantly had to refocus her, stop her from messing with things, remind her to sit up and not lie down, remind her to eat and not lay on her food, stop her from knocking over her drink, dropping her food etc etc you get the picture.

I’d planned to come home and make biscuits with baby girl, I thought it’d be great fun and a lovely bonding activity. Until I heard from the back of the car……

‘Mommy, when we get home can I have a blanket and snuggle, I tired?’

Of course you can.

So no biscuit making.

We got home, baby girl was shattered but didn’t want to have a nap, which is understandable, she’s nearly 6 now, 6yr olds don’t want to nap in the day.

It broke my heart to see her so tired, she should have been running rings round me, but she just didn’t have the energy.

I rang the placing authority. I cried. Again.

‘What should I do?’ I asked.

‘We don’t know’ they said.

I emailed Martin Narey today.

Tomorrow I have to throw her to the lions aka send her to school.

Horrible few days

Published April 30, 2012 by thefamilyof5

It all started very early Saturday morning when I caught my middle girl, in the small hours, waking her younger sister sleeping in the bunk below.
This has been a problem for sometime now. There’s been lots of warnings, lots of punishments, lots of talks about making good choices, in fact Saturday was the last day of her early nights that she’d been given for the very same reason. There was nothing more for it, she clearly needed a stronger message. We grounded her for 1 week. Not being allowed out to party with your friends at age 6 is inconsequential, so for now, being grounded means a complete lack of privileges and treats, we’ve also swapped the bunks about and she is now on the bottom bunk. Once we awarded her with her punishment she was told that we expected her to think about her behaviour and come to us with a proper apology.
We waited, and waited and waited.
We gave her several reminders throughout the day that we were still waiting to hear something from her. We still waited.
By bedtime we gave up waiting and asked for an apology, which she gave. With no remorse.
Sunday morning we woke up to the same. No lesson learnt.

Sunday we decided to go out for sunday lunch as we often do. We suspected it wasn’t a great idea given that middle girl was moody, baby girl was tired and big girl was over enthusiastically being nice. But we wanted pub grub and an easy life, so we went.
It was quite possibly the worst meal out we’ve had in 22 months. There was spitting out food, gorging and stuffing, wearing more food than was eaten and plain messing about with food. It was like feeding time at the zoo. A quiet afternoon and an early night followed!

Monday morning I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead. My morning trip to the bathroom was interrupted by my middle girl who stomped into the bathroom informing me she needed the toilet.
After 3-4 minutes
Me: are you done yet I need to shower?
Daughter: I need a poo
Me: ok
After a further 10 minutes
Me: are you done yet?
Daughter: No I’m having a poo
Me: ok hurry up I need to have a shower.
Another 10 minutes (over 20 minutes she’s been in there)
Me: are you done?
Daughter: not yet
Me: have you had a poo?
Daughter: no I’m waiting for it
Me: (getting irritated) well wait in bed I need a shower
Daughter: I need another wee though
Me: (shouting) for gods sake xyz hurry up, quickly, wash your hands.
And then I showered.

Once I showered I got all the girls up so they could use the bathroom, brush teeth and get dressed. We have a very good morning routine and it usually works very well and requires little effort from any of us, which is always a bonus in the mornings I think!
Seems today my baby girl forgot how to get dressed, being already irritated by the earlier bathroom incident I shouted, and shouted some more.
We finally all made it down stairs for breakfast, albeit very rushed due our late start and delays. Breakfast was served, toast as usual. My big girl decided she didn’t want to eat it instead she was just going to play with it. Being very out of character for her I asked what was wrong.
Me: come on eat up
Daughter: ok mommy
Few minutes later
Me: what’s the matter why aren’t you eating
Daughter: shrugs shoulders
Me: is your throat sore again
Daughter: no
Me: do you feel unwell?
Daughter: no
Me: what’s the matter then?
Daughter: nothings the matter
Me: if you don’t tell me I can’t help you can I
Daughter: there’s nothing the matter
Me: so why aren’t you eating, either somethings the matter or your just messing about
Daughter: I’m just messing about
Me: why
Daughter: I’m just being naughty

The conversation really went just like that, it was one of many bizarre conversations I’ve had over the last 22 months with my big girl. She is unpredictable, impulsive and unreliable. I know/understand/connect with her the least.

So ultimately today my baby girl couldn’t dress, middle girl wanted to spend the morning sat on the toilet doing nothing, and big girl decided she’d like to just be naughty.

They went to school. I cried, ate cake and cleaned my house, a lot.

I knew there was a reason I didn’t like Mondays! Or is that Mornings! Or just Most days!

I called and made the appointment with the counsellor today, its Friday. Providing I haven’t been committed to an asylum before then that is.

Like vs Dislike, Truth vs Lies, Real vs Fake

Published April 1, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Today I made the girls lunch, they had wraps filled with cheese, tomato and cucumber, their favourite. I added a tiny bread stick type snack to their plates, for them to try.  My baby girl and my middle girl took a big bite and simultaneously said that they liked it, in fact what they actually said is ‘Mmmmm its yummy’.  My big girl, always the least brave when it comes to trying new foods, had tiniest bite, pulled a face and said she didn’t like it. I told her to try to eat it all and then decide if she liked it or not as a teeny amount wasnt really enough for her to be able to decide properly. So she pulled a strop face and ate it. All the time she was eating she was pulling faces and shuddering in disgust. So whilst she was eating her teeny bread stick, I offered my other two girls the bag of sticks and told them to help themselves, they took a nice big handful each. My baby girl commented that her big sister wouldn’t want any as she didn’t like them. I then looked at my big girl who was mid shudder (fake of course) and I asked if she wanted any more. Her face changed from disgust to happy in an instant and she said ‘yes please I like them now’ and with that she took a handful and happily sat and ate them, not a shudder in sight!?

So what was that all about? the faces she pulled and the shuddering were very obviously exaggerated, if not fake. so why? I wonder if she doesn’t know what ‘to like’ or ‘to dislike’ is? She’s shown me that she doesn’t recognise some of her other ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’ so maybe ‘taste is another.

At tea time tonight I served up their meal. They were having breaded turkey scallops , roast potato’s and vegetables. My big girl said to me ‘is this fish mommy?’ I told her it wasnt and that she should try it to find out. She muttered to herself ‘oh it must be chips then’. …………………Hmmm……….yes of course, that big flat piece of breaded turkey looks just like chips doesn’t it?!

This is just two examples of strange ‘reactions/behaviours’ from my big girl, my days are filled with these. I’m left feeling very frustrated, confused and bewildered most days.

Their ‘lies’ come in many forms, meaning I have to scrutinise their fake reactions as well as their misleading words to try and see whats ‘real’.

I miss those days when I could beleive what my eyes saw and trust what my ears heard.

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