This week’s WASO (weekly adoption shout out) theme is Food and I have spent the last couple of days thinking about what angle I could take. Did I want something warm and fuzzy with a hint of laughter? Or, did I want something very factual and serious? I decided just to start typing about how Beeswax and Buzzbee’s relationship with food is diametrically opposed and see where my words took me and hope that I don’t waffle on too much.
Buzzbee is the easiest to start with. He is an extreme fusspot with his food and goes through phases where he will obsess over a specific meal and insist on it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (sometimes snack time too), but we have never really viewed this as much more than age appropriate. Buzz’s issues with food will primarily rear its head after he has been poorly. He becomes convinced that it was the food that has made him ill, so he will refuse to eat (and sometimes drink). Early in our placement Bumble and I would spend hours/days worrying about what we were doing wrong, getting into a position where it had become a battle of wills and at the same time trying to stop Beeswax from taking off into orbit (due to his anxieties around food being triggered). Nowadays we are far more relaxed about this and tend to weather the storm as best as we can. When he has been ill, I pick up his favourite food from the supermarket and drop all expectations of a structured meal time for him and usually within a day or two he is munching away and back into his usual eating habits. Oh and 70% of the time he refers to food as “num nums”
Beeswax and food is a whole different kettle of fish. It is hard to know how to pinpoint the key issues for him. Waxy’s anxiety around food (or rather the lack of it) has been a central part of him for as long as we have known him. Beeswax feels the need to control every element of food – quite honestly I could fill several posts just talking about Waxy and food. Before they were taken into care, Beeswax had to find food for himself and his brother. Unsurprisingly the fear of going hungry is ever present. Waxy came into care with no apparent awareness of when he was full and to this day if we do not monitor him he would eat for eating sake and on the very rare occasion that he doesn’t eat everything barring the plate the food is on, it is usually because he has bolted his food down faster than a Formula 1 race car and has made himself feel sick. We have always made sure that food is always available but he still feels the need to steal food (or squirrelling as we call it to decriminalise it for him). He has to know that he is getting exactly the same as Buzzbee and when he comes home from school at the weekends he will spend hours obsessing about what ‘treats’ Buzz may have had. When we went on picnics, he used to get himself into a state worrying that others would get more than him and he won’t have enough to eat.
I could go on further and to be honest I haven’t even skimmed the top off how Waxy and food can take over the whole day if we allowed it to.
Actually a perfect example of how much importance Beeswax put on food was last night’s “Britain’s Got Talent Final” and the drama with a violinist throwing eggs at Simon Cowell. This morning both boys were sat watching it while eating their breakfast and where most people were simply shocked by what they were seeing, Waxy very nearly spontaneously combusted and to put it mildly, the air in our lounge was ‘bluer than a summer’s sky’ because Waxy was outraged that the eggs had been wasted! It was certainly a very extreme reaction but it was not the first time during the series that one or the other had an opinion about the use of food in the acts. They have both been very vocal about the wastage of fruit (watching a pineapple being sliced in half with a sword or an apple shot with an arrow) whilst seemingly oblivious to any danger to Ant and Dec underneath the fruit! They have also very loudly questioned what would happen with the food afterward and said things like ‘if that was me I would eat every last scrap before I would listen to the judges or leave the stage’.
Over the years since the boys were placed with us we have tried and tested several different ideas to help the boys and one or two have not really gone how we would have liked them to and some have become a godsend to us.
So what have we tried? Did it help? Do we still use? Here are a few examples:
- Waxy squirrelled food so we put locks on the larder door and provided unlimited supply of fruit with only one rule ‘No fruit 30 minutes before meals’ and I put a snack box in his room.
Sadly this was not one of our more successful ideas. Waxy never touched the fruit or his snack box (he said it is too easy) and at some point he found a way to get his hands on a key for the larder and had been for some time still getting into the larder. Despite the genuine fear of hunger, part of the issue with Waxy is proving to himself that he could fend for himself if he needed to.
- As picnics were a source of anxiety for Beeswax and to a degree Buzzbee we started giving them both separate picnic boxes with their food and drinks in anytime we had a picnic.
This was definitely one of our better decisions and one we still use to this day and currently on a good day the boys are managing to pace themselves and not shovelling it all down faster than our cats can run when Beedog is in hot pursuit.
- Neither Bumble or my family live close by so the boys have had to get used to travelling quite a bit and so I have had to think carefully about how we manage this for the boys. Very similar to the picnic snack boxes, I make each boy a travel box with enough of their favourite snacks to last them the journey.
Like the picnic boxes this has been invaluable to us all (boys are not afraid of not being fed and Bumble and I keep our sanity). Although giving them food in the car has backfired on us a couple of times and turned into an opportunity for them to have a food fight in the backseat. As the boys have relaxed more and they have got used to the journey lengths, we have put one rule in about the snack boxes. If they eat it all at once, then they will have to wait until we reach our destination or stop for a break before they can have anything else.
- I never go anywhere without having some kind of snack with me either in my handbag or in the car and I never let them go into a supermarket hungry.
This has been by far my biggest saving grace and got me out of many difficult situations (irrespective of the dirty looks I am being given by people for giving treats to children who are behaving really badly).
On a personal learning curve (and really it isn’t rocket science just a dizzy Honey) I have learnt the hard way that chocolate and handbags do not mix – particularly in hot weather!