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Kaitlyn is Not Hungry

I know I bought a bag of 15 apples but I only see three in the fridge.  That’s strange, but I could just be losing my mind.  Why wouldn’t I be? On the other hand, I’m sure I bought that bag of apples. I mean, I JUST bought them.  Oh, not this again! Yesterday it was the Nutella, and an entire box of crackers. The day before that it was a loaf of bread.  Someone is stealing food! I have to find it before the ants do! Or, mice? Oh my, Ohhhhh! I would just die if the house got infested with mice. There is no way a mouse is not hungry! If one found a hidden stash of food it would surely bring all it’s little mice-y friends to the party.

One day just over ten years ago, there was a mouse in the kitchen.  I’m scared of mice.  I was able to do the rational thing though. I jumped out of the kitchen window! Then, my husband jumped out that window, too. We turned back around and there was Antonio laughing at us. We started screaming at him to come to the window so we could pull him out.  He wouldn’t. My husband and I started arguing about who had to jump back in the window to get Antonio.  There was no way I was going back in that house.  Antonio told me he would catch the mouse if I jumped back in the window.  I couldn’t do it.  I just stood at the window staring at him, staring at me.  You know what that boy did? In the middle of laughing so hard he could barely catch his breath, he also caught that mouse! Yep.  He trapped it under a pot. He figured I’d go back in the house at that point. Um, NO! The mouse was still in there. Duh… So, Antonio jumped out the window, too. (we caught him and it was just a few feet off the ground) Then we all went to the neighbor’s so he could get the mouse.

Antonio the mouse catcher

Worst Mom of the Year

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes! If there is food missing, it could be in some random hiding spot in the house.  We could get mice and I would maybe die. Then there is the other problem. My daughter likes to eat.  I do not consider  myself one of those parents who cares about their children’s weight.  It’s not like I make them weigh in each week and count calories.  But, I want them to be healthy. I try to monitor what they eat, pay attention to their growth, and their figure.  One Summer I noticed that Antonio started to get some love handles.  I felt so guilty. It was my fault! It really was. It was during the Summer and he spent most of the day watching TV or playing games.  He somehow managed to get at least a buck from dad, every day. So, every day he ate chips.  He drank sodas and got almost no exercise.  I let that happen, right in front of me. So, I had to fix it.

 

Without making him feel bad, or even realize what I was doing, I got it together, quick!  Understand, at that point in my life, I was feeding the triplets 24 times per day! For at least a year, I was a walking zombie.  My point is, ignoring Antonio’s increasingly unhealthy habits was not intentional.  When I realized what I let him do to himself, I found creative ways to get him active, every day.  I started sending him to the store, 5, 6, 7 times per day.  I would play innocent and tell him I forgot.  We did a lot of “speed cleaning” sessions.  We raced around the house cleaning for 10 – 15 minute increments, actually breaking a sweat.  Now, he thanks me for that time.  I wasn’t so worried about how he was, but I was very worried about how he’d be if I continued to let him have such unhealthy eating and exercise habits, just because I was busy. We can’t be too busy to care about our children’s health.

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So, back to that other problem! Kaitlyn has the world convinced she’s hungry.  Listen y’all.  That girl is NOT hungry.  She just likes to eat.  In fact, she likes it so much, she will hide and hoard food.  She weighs just 10 lbs. less than Pedro and just over 10 lbs. more than her triplet brothers. She is also much taller than her triplets brothers and almost as tall as Pedro. The problem though, is a big problem.  Most of you already know that Kaitlyn and her triplet siblings have Autism.  If you know Kaitlyn in person, you likely just see one of the most friendly and adorable little girls you’ve ever met in your life.  You might even be really confused about how she could have Autism, because she seems so “typical.”  In many ways, she is.  In many other ways, nothing could be further from the truth.

There are so many things I’d like to share with you about Autism, but for right now, we’ll stick with one thing.  Autism is like a fingerprint.  Autism is not exactly the same for any child.  Period.  That shouldn’t be so hard to understand.  No child, special needs or not is exactly the same as another child, even when they have identical DNA! Enrique and Andres are so different, yet, they are identical. So, that’s what Autism is like.  Kaitlyn’s food issues are derived from sensory issues.

Lately, Kaitlyn has been hiding more food again.  She will eat until her stomach hurts.  She’ll take food from the sink, floor, and even from the garbage. She tells everyone she is hungry. All. The. Time.  I get pretty frustrated too, trying to explain to everyone that she is not really hungry.   People still look at me as if I’m starving her.  Even with the doctors saying she should not gain any more weight at this point, I would not put her on a diet.  She’s only four-years-old.  I also can’t let her keep eating whatever and whenever she wants.  For the record, it’s not like I “let” her.  I just don’t always catch her.  So, I have to be even more careful.

There are a lot of moms who have to deal with picky eaters and non-eaters.  We hear tips about that all the time.  We don’t hear enough about kids who are over eating.  We hear tons about childhood obesity.  I know.  I’m talking about something different.  I’m talking about solutions to get them to eat less.  As Parents, sometimes we have to forget everything we know.  If what we know isn’t working, we need to learn something new.  We need to do something new.  Some of the things I’ve done to help Kaitlyn are things I never would have imagined doing with my oldest two, when they were younger.  I had to forget about what I did with them because she is NOT them.  I can’t parent her like I parented them.  Monitoring Kaitlyn’s eating is not a little task.  It’s takes  a lot of work.  Imagine what might happen if she eats rotten food she had hidden away.  Her health and her life could be at risk if I didn’t take this seriously.

Kaitlyn likes to eat and eat for two main reasons.  First, she is trying to fulfill sensory input needs.  Second, she has a hard time telling that she is full.  She can recognize a stomach ache.  She’ll even say it’s because she ate too much. Yet, she will also try to keep eating.  It is very rare that she stops eating of her own free will.  Usually, it’s because she has been cut off.  Oh, and ya’ll should see how that goes down in public! Whoa, baby.  If I cut her off and she tantrums and starts screaming how hungry she is, people will sometimes stare at me with that, “you don’t deserve to be a mother,” look. Luckily. I’m more concerned with doing what’s right for my daughter than worrying about what they think.

I KNOW I’m not the only parent dealing with overeating in children.

So, I decided to write, 20 Tips for Parents to Stop Overeating in Children.

Then, life happened! This post was already written and scheduled to publish on Tuesday. Then, this happened to my computer:

IMG_20140901_092902

So, stay tuned for that list!

By:  Alicia