Friday, October 22, 2010

Eat

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything. We have been really busy around here.

Today I am talking about odd obsessions some children with special needs have.

For my daughter, she has an obsession with food.

Not just eating it. Playing with it, hiding it, wasting it, ruining it.

You name it, we have found it hidden in her room.

We first noticed an over-the-top love of food when she was 2. She had 2 words in her vocabulary: Mom & eat. At least one hundred times a day we would hear "eat eat eat". It didn't matter when she ate last, whether it was a full meal or a snack. She didn't care what she was fed next. She wanted food. All.The.Time. The strange thing is, she wouldn't always eat it. A lot of times she would choke and gag. If it was something she really liked, cereal for example, she would literally eat it until she threw up. We never seemed to be able to get her full. There was a time when we considered she might have Prader Willi Syndrome. But it just didn't seem to fit.

Then, she started eating non-food items. Styrofoam, paper, hair, pretty much anything. And then, she started doing strange things with food. Once we found her in the middle of the night in the kitchen. She had a baking sheet out. She laid out all the bacon on it, covered it in mustard, cheese and cooking oil. She didn't want to eat it. She just wanted to play with it. She has dumped countless pounds of sugar out for no apparent reason. I can never keep cooking oil in the house. It always ends up in the tea pot. And sweets? Forget about it. Gone within 3 seconds.

Then, we started finding food hidden in her room. The list is rather strange. Onions, potatoes, rice. Nothing was ever eaten. Just there. Under her pillow, under her bed, in her closet. At the bottom of her clothes hamper. We have found more normal things too. Ice cream, cereal, cake. It is a compulsion for her. I think she genuinely cannot help herself.

At this point, there is nothing we can do to stop it. It mostly happens in the middle of the night. We wake to find crazy things have happened. She once ate an entire gallon of ice cream in the middle of the night. We could not figure out why she was sick the next day until I found the empty carton in her dresser after doing laundry.

Some people would say we don't watch her closely enough. Others who have stayed with us for any amount of time know this is not the case. We have 3 other children as well as other household responsibilities. It is simply not possible to keep all eyes on her all the time. Besides, she's fast. One time she went into the kicthen to throw something away. She was in there for maybe 2 minutes before I realized she was in there too long to be simply throwing something away. By the time I got in there she had poured out a pound of sugar onto the floor along with 2 packets of kool-aid mix. In 2 minutes.

Another time I was cleaning our bedroom. All I did was make the bed and sweep the floor. Maybe 5 minutes. By the time I came out she had poured out an entire bottle of olive oil inside the refrigerator.

People say I need to watch her better. What would you have me do? Sit her on the couch across from me and never do anything but stare at her? Others have suggested she stay in her room if I have to do something. What part of fast and sneaky do you not understand? Others have said lock her in her room all day. I can't do that. Besides, one time when she was grounded to her room for the afternoon, not even locked in there, she ripped her sheets apart, tore down her curtains and apparently had a knife hidden in her room and cut up a bunch of her clothes.

Her oral obsession goes beyond food as well. We have caught her trying to drink mouth wash. Eat any pill she can get her hands on. It doesn't matter what it is. If she thinks it goes in your mouth she tries to eat it. The thing is, she is not stupid. She understands that these things aren't edible. She simply doesn't care.

In our house, if it can't be locked away, we can't have it. It's too dangerous. For her and our other children.

What are some of the odd things your children are obsessed with?

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