When the first one happened he asked to come home from school because his head hurt and then all he wanted to do was lay there, covering his eyes. We thought it was the change in surroundings, his aunt was there babysitting him for the week and he isn't fond of change. But a few weeks later, the same thing happened. And then one night, he woke up screaming, holding his head and dry-heaving from the pain. Some water and soothing talk and he eventually calmed back to sleep.
The poor guy is developing migraines.
So I made 2 appointments. One with the doctor, because it seems like due diligence to make sure there is nothing the doctor believes is physically wrong (and he doesn't) and the chiropractor. Because I love the Chiropractor and I know it's been known to help for other's so I thought we'd give it a shot.
And Monster had a great time! There was some checking, a few minor adjustments and thankfully my sensory child is the opposite of most and really, really, REALLY likes being touched. So it all went well.
But as I discussed it with friends and on facebook, the most common response that I got was to ask about changing his diet to see if eliminating a certain food might help.
And I don't blame them. I'm all for finding a natural remedy for things. And I normally appreciate suggestions. But here's the thing.
Monster eats less than 12 kinds of food at any given time.
Cheese (preferably string, occasionally Babybel, rarely block)
Ritz Cracker sandwich things with the cheese in the middle
Chocolate Milk warmed up 30 seconds in the microwave (and don't even THINK about adding some Pediasure. He WILL KNOW.)
Instant Oatmeal (must be the PC brand maple flavor. Absolutely no substitutions)
Chocolate (without anything inside the chocolate with the exception of pretzels)
White bread bun (usually with ketchup on it, no butter)
Peanut Butter sandwiches (no crust, no butter).
Yop (all. the. time.)
Vanilla Ice Cream
Oh, I'm sorry, did you not notice meat? Vegetables?
Ya, me neither.
And I don't mean that those are the only foods he will eat without a fight.
I mean those are the only foods he eats. Ever. Nothing else will make it past his mouth. No matter how hard or long you push, try or coerce.
Monster and I have been to feeding therapy classes and sat next to moms who just don't understand why their children won't eat things like the corn in their Shepherd's Pie.
And I want to secretly punch them in the face.
Or the mommy groups where someone is concerned their child is on the low end of the growth chart and all of a sudden panicking over whether or not they need to feed them more fatty foods because they already eat edamame and spinach like it's going out of style.
I secretly loath them.
Not because their concern are not valid, because they are and it's not fair of me to judge them while I live in fear of other's judgements.
But because I can only imagine the dance of happiness I would do if my child would eat potatoes, meat, tomato sauce or any vegetable of any kind. Or if they even registered on the growth chart.
But most of my frustration comes from times when we are out and my child won't even eat the special meal they prepared for him that was SUPPOSED to be on his list, but for some reason he won't touch.
Or the times I have to look like I am giving in when I say 'Fine. Put your plate on the counter. There's no more food tonight.
Or the moments that I know you are thinking 'if only she had offered him healthier food from the start'. Because my friend, you have no idea.
I know that most parents would think I'm doing it all wrong.
Because if I was them, I would be judging the crap outta me.
But I need you to understand something, just for my own validation.
There is a difference between your 'picky eater' and mine.
I read an article the other day and one line almost brought me to tears. Because it's what I feel like yelling to everyone all the time.
“Picky Eaters” Will Not Starve Themselves But Problem or Resistant Eaters Might.My 5 year old weighs 31lbs with his clothes on.
When he gets a stomach bug, it takes less than half a day for him to end up in Emergency with dehydration.
I simply cannot leave him until he eats what I serve.
He will simply not eat.
And if I were to have to change his diet, I would have to do so under medical supervision and more likely than not, by using a feeding tube.
Meal times? I have one of two options:
I make one meal for us and one for him.
Or I put him in front of what we are eating, there is crying (from both of us) and screaming (again, both of us), possibly hysterics (sigh... ok, sometimes that's both of us too), he doesn't eat and we are left following through on threats that have at some points meant he has had nothing but water for 24 hours since he would prefer that than taking even one single bite of food he doesn't want to eat.
I hate mealtimes.
I inevitably end up feeling like either a terrible parent for always giving in to his food demands, or a terrible parent for putting him to bed with nothing to eat.
One seminar we took explained that for extreme picky eaters, or more clinical sounding, children with Selective Eating Disorder, there can be dozens of steps before a new food makes it into their stomach. All the way from allowing it on their plate, to touching it with their fork, smelling it, touching it to their lips....
What makes me feel worse is that his father and I, we follow a relatively Eat Clean diet. No refined sugars or white flour, lots of veggies and oats and whole foods.
All the while, feeding Monster those little Ritz crackers with the fake cheese in the middle and just being content that he has something in his stomach.
So I apologise, friend, when we come for dinner and I have a peanut butter sandwich in my purse. I don't have time for 47 steps to eating at your house tonight.
I also apologise when I shrug off your suggestions of dietary changes for little Monsters with Spectrum Disorders or Migraines or both.
It's not you, it's us.
But I do hope that next time you see a mom at the restaurant allowing her child to eat only the hot dog bun and ketchup and then praising him for finishing it and letting him have desert... you'll remember.
Sometimes, eating is not just a battle of wills with a picky eater.
Sometimes it's a battle of desperation.