Thursday, September 5, 2013

Food and Kids.......

Do you have a picky eater in your house?

We have a picky eater in our house.......BGA.  BGA was not a picky eater when she came home at age 6. She devoured any and all food at 6.   Was worried food would not be there and upset if a meal was delayed, or worried if we were out close to a meal time and she wanted to know when the meal would be.

Now after 5 yrs, this has changed somewhat.  I started to see pickiness around food after she had been here a year.  She would turn her nose up at something for dinner, and take forever to eat whatever it was, almost like she was gagging.  BGA would finish it (or the equivalent of what we consider finishing it, with some crumbs and parts of meat she didn't like, or pronounce, "this has fat on it. I don't like fat." ) and we'd move on.  However, it became apparent that she really only liked certain foods, Pizza, Meatloaf, Cheeseburgers, Fettucine Alfredo and Tacos.  She would not venture to try new things, she wanted what she knew.  As I tried (and failed) to get a meal rotation going, I would try out new foods to see which foods the girls would like.  I could always tell if BGA did not like it because she would move her fork around and eat the other items on the plate first.  She doesn't like mashed potatoes but does like some vegetables (Lima beans being one of them.......ewwww, not a fan of the lima bean, personally).  So I make sure she gets a good helping of vegetables and sometimes the girls will fight over who gets the last serving in the bowl.  Seriously, who ever fought over the last vegetable serving?  I certainly did not.  I like vegetables now but hated them as a kid.

When I started cooking and using new recipes, I didn't catch on at first, because I thought she really wanted to know what I was fixing and how it was fixed, ie an interest in cooking, she would ask me what was in a certain dish.  I happily obliged and told her exactly what I put in each dish, really thinking she had a genuine interest.........wrong.  She wanted to know what was in it, in case it had something she didn't like in it so she could delay meal time and push the food around her plate.  So now when she asks, I tell her, "oh it's got a lot of stuff in it. Try it." Fool me once (or a few times evidently) not gonna happen again.  Her newest tactic is to ask a lot of questions at the dinner table and get us all talking.  Took a few to figure that one out but Dave figured that one out first.

Meal times at our house can last 30 mins or more, sometimes up to 40 mins as they eat their meals.  LGA used to be a fast eater, and my 'good' eater.  She likes all foods.  She will not have 2nds if she really doesn't like the food we are having.  But most times she has 2nds.  She's a light girl, still, both girls are, and because of their issues with food in the early days, they had 2nds.  I don't mind them having 2nds at all, as they are in lower percentiles for weight, most likely due to the ADHD meds.  BGA will sometimes have 2nds but very very rarely.  Unless it's vegetables.  However, I have come to find out that the reason she likes vegetables is she can serve herself out of the bowl.  We have not previously let them serve themselves because we had issues of people taking large servings and then not enough for others, or not eating what they have taken.  So we got used to serving up plates and putting whatever is left on the table for whoever wants it.  That works for us and the kids can take 2nds off the table if they want it.

Meal times in our house though, are taking a long time these days. I think part of that is because of the meds, so I haven't really made a big deal of it.  In the summer the girls and I sat at the table and had discussions about stuff, talked a bit over our meal. My family (including aunts, uncles and cousins) has always done this.  We would go over to my mom's sister's house once a month when my cousin and her kids came to visit and have a meal (even holidays would be at my aunt's house) so we would all sit around the table after the meal was eaten and talk.  Dave's family was more of the 'eat and leave the table' kind so he really does not want to sit at the table and have discussions, he wants to move on.  The girls find this frustrating at times as they want to talk (however, it has lately become a bedtime routine stalling tactic, so when we are done, we are done).  So we try to get some conversation going if we can at the dinner table, while still making sure two girls eat their dinner.  I have tried to get the girls moving faster for meals, but either an ADHD med has already worn off, or they just had it in the am and it has not kicked in yet.  Either way, it's been hard to get them moving for meals.  I know that is why BGA didn't gain much weight at school, because she has to rush her meals and because she is picky she wouldn't eat what was offered or not enough to sustain her.

BGA gained 8 pounds over the summer.  Since she's in a lower percentile (I think 25%) I really wanted her to gain weight.  She's been a size 7/8 in pants for 3 yrs and finally grew to wear a 10/12 (with an adjustable waist).  I really wanted her to grow a bit.  I knew it was because we ate well and she had time to eat.  So my worry for her this year is that she will lose weight.  I have discussed with her that we can send a lunch if she's not liking cafeteria food.  I have the menus printed up and she knows what they have each day.  She eats breakfast at home most days, however, LGA eats with her class in the classroom (and her teacher helps her pick her meal as we asked if she would and she or her aides will do it for bkfst and lunch).  LGA would prefer to eat at home but there is no way her morning routine will allow for it, to get her on the bus.  So I give her control over her snack (most days).  I send a snack in for LGA and BGA's teacher also said it would be ok, although BGA's teacher prefers no fruit or fresh food, only pre-packaged.  LGA's prefers fresh.

I am learning to pick some foods for BGA to try that are new.  They say you need to introduce a food to a child many times before they will eat it. That was the case for some foods for BGA that she will eat routinely now.  But I always have her try what we are eating.  If I know she won't really like the food I will give her a smaller portion than the rest of us and let her know if she likes it she can have 2nds.  Very rarely if I have picked something she does not like will she have 2nds.  She is starting to like casseroles, however I am not a huge casserole fan. I have made them but I really find myself having a small portion whereas the girls will want a bigger portion than they are used to.

I am happy that LGA will eat most things and never turns down a food, although her current favorite is peanut butter and jelly and she will pick that for lunch most days when we are home.  I have to say I was a picky eater so I do get it.   I would prefer peanut butter and jelly to pizza.  I remember my mother telling me a story and I have a vague memory of it, that my mom left me with a neighbor who also had kids around my age.  The neighbor wanted to get pizza (which in the late 60's was a treat I will bet).  Mom said I refused the pizza and only wanted peanut butter and jelly so the lady had to make a separate sandwich for me.  I didn't care for most vegetables, the textures always were weird to me.  So I get BGA's picky eating.  I don't force her but I do make sure she eats what we are having.  I am not of the "cook another meal" for the picky eater.
I have found meal times to be challenging at times, but I am happy that BGA will try and eat her meal. I know it could have been a lot worse, so I go with it and don't let her heavy sigh when she sits down at her plate, get me down.  :-)

In other news the girls are going to be flower girls in my cousin's wedding, which is coming up soon.  They are very excited about this. I don't know how they will do, have no clue really, but there is a rehearsal the day before so I am happy about that.  They will have an idea of what they are supposed to do going down the aisle, etc.  Dave cannot come with me, work is pretty stressful for him these days, so my friend T is coming with us (wedding is in the bay area) to help with the girls and hang out when we come back.  I am not a hair person so have no clue what to do with their hair.  I never was a long haired kid, except for a couple of times in my growing up years.  Mom kept my hair short (probably because I don't think she knew what to do with hair either) most of my life and I have no clue about french braids or curling it, etc. I am hoping T and I can figure it out. If not we may have to get a load of bobby pins and take them to a Supercuts or whatever hair place is near and open. Otherwise my other choice was to flat iron their hair (they each have bangs) and then put some pretty hair/bobby pins in. I wish I knew how to do hair, I just never learned.  T says she's not sure either, but we're gonna give it a shot.  Maybe some of my cousin's friends (who are all young 30somethings) can help us out.

Not much else new here these days.  Getting ready for fall, my favorite time of the year.  We have lots of milestones to celebrate, the biggest being my 'milestone' birthday. I certainly do not feel my age, so hard to believe I have this big birthday coming up.

The girls are settling in to school.  The bully situation came back up for BGA, so I emailed the teacher and we will see if she responds.  BGA tells me she is going to adopt her grandchildren so am curious to see what that is about. BGA chose not to mention she was adopted but made the mistake of telling one of the bullies at her old school (both girls attended the old school together, then the bully moved to the current school and BGA moved to it last year) that she was adopted and the bully told one of the boys who made a hurtful comment.  Younger BGA would have flipped.  This time she calmly told me what the boy said and we discussed it.  But I felt bad for her.  So I am sure there will be more discussions coming up.  I let the teacher know she was adopted (her last year's teacher knew and the two teachers discuss students, as well as this year's teacher is friends with LGA's teacher who knows the girls are adopted.  But I did tell the teacher that BGA was choosing not to tell students.  Now that's out of the window as the bully told a student). And now we navigate the system and mean girls.

LGA had a hard transition, lots of fits/tantrums, lots of bad days.  But almost a month in, it appears she's doing better, as she settles in with the new routine and the older kids.  She told me they were bullying her so I told the teacher.  We are in the lying phase of FASD for her these days, so I am never sure what is the truth or what she perceives is the truth as the FASD mind sometimes perceives things that are not true, to be true.  So I just tell the teacher what she tells me (told the teacher that she was fabricating the truth a lot more these days and got a blank look - really?  You aren't up on FASD?  Well, guess some printing material is in order.  However, this is a teacher who has taught 25+ years and has had foster children, she should be aware of it).  There are still days LGA will hold it in at school and then come home where she feels safe and let it out. I have to admit as she gets older the behaviors are more challening and harder for me to deal with some days.  It is hard and there are days I have felt really down about LGA and her FASD. I think Dave and I need to find a support group to attend, so will try to find one in the area.  There are days I just really hate her behaviors, but I do understand how her mind works and I am learning to not react which only gets her going into a full blown fit.  But some days it's easier to do that then others.  When I am not feeling well it's really hard not to buy into the behavior.  School wise her reading is taking off, as I posted in a previous post, and she did a page of double digit math on her own while I sat there with her (I still have to sit with her to do homework).  That is great for her and she seems to realize what she is missing reading wise and is determined to read, which I like (BGA is not really a reader, I wish that she was as I am a reader).

BGA and I are working out her homework.  I have let her know she will be accountable (4th and 5th grades she lied a lot about not having homework) in 6th grade and that I will be in contact with her teacher about homework. I tried to let the teacher know about homework and her issues with it during the back to school night but we really didn't get to talk about it. Her teacher and I think we know each other from somewhere but haven't figured it out yet. I don't know where it could be as I don't really know a lot of people in our town.  Also she appears to be older and my age, which is nice and more like LGA's teacher (they are friends).  What I also like about the two teachers is LGA was having issues having recess with her sister and not being able to play with her (BGA wanted to play with the big kids)  so I told this to LGA's teacher.  At back to school I found out that LGA's special ed class and BGA's class were having PE together.  I thought that was pretty awesome.

So far the year is going ok.  We will keep hoping it goes ok.  Part of me misses the carefree days of summer. But a part of me also enjoys more free time. :-)

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