Thursday 14 January 2016

Why it's important that I stopped eating the leftovers

Everyone does it. There's leftovers in the fridge. It's not a mealtime and you are a little peckish so you eat it. That's not so bad. My problem was I ate it before it came off the kids plates.  It's got to be fairly common for anyone with young kids but I started to realise I was eating two meals at each sitting in secret. I didn't feel great about it and as I started to think about it the more I realised it was important that I stopped.

When Jane was two we went along to one of the local Children's Centres for her two year check up. I'm not sure what they checked, it actually appeared to be a short parenting class. All the first time mums had questions that I could answer better than the health visitor.  Its even possible I corrected her about a local service when she got the details wrong. The only useful tip I got was about child sized portions. Apparently a portion is about the size of your fist. This goes for adults, kids and toddlers alike. This was great, Jane finally started clearing most of her plate. But then, she's not the problem plate.

Our eldest, Anthony, has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He uses up a lot of energy, is super lean and so eats like a horse. His plate can easily be described as an adult size portion and virtually everyday he clears it. He's helped by the fact that he likes almost everything we put down to him. That's because we design it that way. Like his younger brother, he has issues around eating that aren't just being picky. He finds textures, particularly mixed textures difficult. He gets tired chewing food really easily. Strong flavours used to overwhelm him and he's also quite sensitive to the smell of the food.  This is great if it smells good.  He'll be excited about dinner before anyone else because he can smell it from elsewhere in the house, particularly if contains garlic.  Italian food is very popular in our home.  

So given this, Jane and Anthony were now eating most of their dinner. With only David's plate left why did I still feel like I needed to hide the fact that I was finishing his meal?

David, Anthony's younger brother also likes garlic. But only when it's on garlic bread. Like many kids with autism he has a restricted diet. He has many of the same issues Anthony has (or had), but worse. A while ago I noticed he was refusing more and more things, even some things he had eaten before. I began to think that if it continued my almost five year old child would only eat Shreddies, chicken nuggets and brown cola junky ice lollies. You may think I'm joking, but I knew of an autistic boy that only ate red baby food and cupcakes with blue icing. 

And so began the process of expanding David's diet. I'll write another time about our ABA type approach. Needless to say there is usually leftovers of rejected food everyday. I don't like waste, especially food waste, it seems so ungrateful to throw it away. I can't feed it to the dog, he's got 'food intolerances'. So I eat it. 

What's worse, is that it takes so long for David to eat the rest of the food he hasn't rejected and for us to trial through new foods that I'm usually left eating leftover food that's gone cold.  With a plastic spoon too. 

And what's a few mouthfuls? Well, I definitely don't need any more food so it's just pointless calories. But I'm also a bit of a stress eater. I think I've figured that eating the leftovers straight after they've been rejected (again) was quite depressing. It was like I was eating the failure.  I couldn't get him to eat something... again. It was as if  I had to hide what wasn't eaten. Like it was better to feel a bit guilty about eating the leftovers than feeling like a failure for not getting him to eat it.

Darling son. How dare I.

Once I realised that this wasn't a failure on anyone's part, once I saw a bit of progress was being made and once I knew that eating the remains of David's meals was making me feel bad, I suddenly felt better.

I now put David's half full plate under the pile of other plates in the sink. It's just a few mouthfuls and I still don't like throwing it away. But, it's better that I waste a forkful than waste my efforts on feeling like a flop.  David's adorable, and so are the other kids, so I can't be doing that bad a job.

Our blog -
Double Rainbow and Breakfast

Our blog - Are my kids in need of someone better?

External Links
National Autistic Society - Sensory issues

1 comment:

  1. I'm also the same and I have two kids, imagine the amount of calories I ate on top of my own meal?! Made me think why I gained weight, I should really stop eating leftovers. Lovely post! #coolmumclub


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