Mealtime and Food Chapter 1
Some of our meal times were quite interesting to say the least. There were children who did not know what most food was and did not want to eat what they had never eaten or seen before. Some wanted to eat nothing but macaroni and cheese, some wanted only bread or something sweet. Others had eaten only one thing for so long that was all they wanted to eat. One little boy wanted to eat nothing but corn.
Other children would eat anything set before them and would eat until they were sick unless food was portioned out for them. They would ask for more but had to be trained to eat only what they needed. They for sure never went hungry at our place though.
A few of the children would take food and hide it when they could get it with no one seeing them. Pants pockets were found to be a good place for hiding food like bread, cookies and crackers. Under the bed pillows made good food storage places too. I would find sliced bread, biscuits, cookies and the like hidden around in the bedrooms. Once I found biscuits lined up neatly on the window sill near a bed. The child was taking biscuits in there, placing them in the window and eating them at night.
One of the boys became ill and was diagnosed with having Salmonella. Since no one else was sick I knew it had to be something that only he ate that made him sick. When we returned from the doctor I searched the room where he slept. In the top drawer of the chest I found some spaghetti from a meal the day before wrapped up in a pair of his underwear. I discovered molded food under and behind the chest. I thought it strange that we could never smell the food that had molded. When questioned he first denied putting it there but later said he forgot about the food behind and under the chest.
A sweet little girl that was with us for about a year and a half was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome when she was around 2 years old. She most always felt hungry and wanted to eat all of her waking hours and would wake hungry in the night so she had to be watched closely. Because of the hunger she would even eat non-food items. I won’t mention some of the things we found her eating that was not food, just too gross. With therapy she was doing fairly well when she was adopted. Her mom called me with questions a few times after she was adopted. They attended family therapy sessions for awhile and had learned to manage her eating and how to keep her weight from getting out of hand. I had told them about needing to keep all places locked where food was kept. The last time I heard from her mom the little girl was still in therapy and doing pretty well. She looked beautiful and happy in the pictures her mom sent.
One boy that stayed with us for short periods of time over a few years was on medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and had severe behavioral problems. He was one of the most difficult to place children and was bounced around from place to place until they finally found a permanent foster placement for him.
A great foster mom kept him, but when she and her family would go on vacation each year to get a much needed break from the stress of caring for this boy he would stay with us. They could never find another foster parent willing to keep him and they tried many.
He always wanted to be the center of attention and had many ways of trying to get attention. He sometimes would eat his meal and then throw up in his plate.
The first two weeks that we kept him he did it twice. He did not know that I had been made privy to his little game.
The first time he threw up his food I told him he would get no more food until the next meal and he didn’t. He tried it one more time but in all the years to follow that he stayed with us for those two weeks he never did it again. I would love to know how he is doing as an adult but I have no idea where he is.
Yes, mealtimes around our table did get very interesting but we made it fun which helped those children who did not want to eat to eat and learn to enjoy the food. Messes could always be cleaned up so we weren’t too concerned about messy eaters as long as they ate. Learning table manners were put on hold at times. We stayed in practice for Easter egg hunts because we had food searches around the house quite often. :) One would never believe some of the strange places we found food. To be continued…
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