Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hunger

Our son E. has been home for a whole year tomorrow!

We have had some small struggles with food and eating since he's been here. Thankfully E. is not a picky eater. But I would like some advice. The boy can eat!! He eats more (if allowed) than anyone in the house. He will always ask for seconds, thirds, fourths. Most of the time he won't really stop eating until I say "there is no more, it's all gone". Then he is pretty content, gets down from the table and goes on with his day. But, he's always asking for something to eat. Always whining about being hungry. Sometimes sneaking and stealing.

He has been hungry. Truly hungry. In Haiti he was only 8 lbs. at 7 months of age. He was dying of kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency. I don't know if he spent the entire first half of his infancy starving, or not. It is possible. And this could possibly effect him now, maybe?

Here's an example of our day:
7 am. E. wakes up, finds someone older than him, and say's "Hi ____, I hungy." Then waits a bit. "Can I have some ____? (banana, cereal, etc.) If that person doesn't jump to and get him breakfast he will move to the next person. And the next. He doesn't come to me and J. first anymore, because he has learned that we tell him he needs to wait. We like to help get everyone's breakfast all at once if possible. It's just easier that way. But he doesn't want to wait.

8 am. We are in the kitchen, making breakfast and he is RIGHT there. Watching, waiting, with big puppy dog eyes. He sometimes whines. He asks "whatcha doin?" over and over. He eagerly sits at the table and as soon as the food is in front of him he eats. Shoveling BIG mouthfuls of food. (this has improved since working with him on taking little bites) He is the first one finished, most times he is asking for more before I get to sit down to eat my firsts! Sometimes there is enough of whatever for him to have more. Sometimes it is gone after everyone gets one helping. We offer yogurt, or some fruit. He eats that too. Afterwards I clean him up to get him mind off of asking for more. He knows once the washcloth is out he is done.
Most mornings he will eat about 3 scrambled eggs, two pieces of bacon, two biscuits, two glasses of oj or milk, and cantelope. Or two bowls of oatmeal, yogurt, banana and two glasses of juice or milk. Or a bowl of cereal, banana, yogurt, toast with peanut butter, milk.

He plays for about an hour and a half, around 9:30-10 is is asking for food again. "Hi Mom, I hungy." I tell him to wait a bit. He whines and looks so sad. Then has a hard time going back to play. Sometimes has a fit. Sometimes I get him something to eat because he looks so pathetic.

11 am. He is asking again. He is moping around the kitchen. If he finds something on the counter he may sneak it. He is following me around with fake tears. If I am on the computer he will sit next to me, whine about nothing. When asked what's wrong he says he doesn't know. I know it's because he's "hungy".

11:15 am. I can't hold off anymore. I get ready to make lunch. Repeat of breakfast. Right underfoot. Peeking in cupboards, looking in the fridge past me, asking questions, seeming way too eager.

11:30 am. Eating lunch. Happy again for a bit. He doesn't typically ask for more servings during lunch for some reason.

We are not big snack people. I really like to serve three meals and one snack a day. Sometimes two. I have found if my other kids snack too much they will not eat the food I prepare for meals.

random times during the day, he's asking for something to eat. I give him a snack after rest time. He eats it all, sometimes stealing his little brother's. A fight breaks out.

3:00 pm Official snack time. The kids have an after school snack. Of course E. feels he should have another too. I let him have another one.

5:30-6 pm. Dinner time. After being hounded all during dinner prep and being warned a few times, E. is so "hungy" all he can do is sit in his chair and wait. He asks every so often if dinner is ready. When it is on the table he wants to pray. He says his blessing, and then is first to eat his food. There are some veggies we are finding he doesn't like all that much. He asks for seconds for some types of food. We oblige. He asks for thirds. We tell him he needs to eat everything else on his plate first. He does. Then asks for thirds. We give him more. He wants more to eat after everything is gone and everyone is finished. He is ok after we tell him we're all done and there is no more. Sometimes he glares at me.

After dinner we start the bedtime routine. Cleaning up, bath, book, teeth brushed, etc.

The boy is almost four. He weights just over 30 lbs. He hasn't gained much weight in a year. He is always hungry. He's been through a thousand tests. Nothing has turned up. I tease him that he has a worm named "Harry". He laughs.

Is his big appetite normal?
Are we doing what we should with him constantly asking for food?
Could this be a pych. problem vs. a medical one?
Just my problem, or no problem at all?

The other thing I have noticed in the past few weeks is his position at the table. He sits, with both arms bent, elbows on the table, spread out and encroaching on everyone around him. Almost like he is guarding his plate.

Thoughts anyone?
I have ordered the book "Parenting the Internationally Adopted Child", recommended by a friend. Looking forward to reading what it has to say about this topic.

6 comments:

Benita said...

Have you had E checked for a tape worm? This might explain always eating and not gaining any weight. Just a thought.

Kristi said...

That is just like Cameron. He eats about three times what I do in a day and the doctors still say he needs to gain more weight. I asked my doctor if i should limit his food intake and she said that i should not because he is not gaining weight. That as long as the food is health to let him eat. I do make him wait right before meals if i am in the proses of making it. I let him eat as much fruit or veggies as he wants. Write now they are testing him for hipper thyroid. I too hear the bagging for food all day.

One Crowded House said...

Eli who is almost 4 and been with us since birth is always hungry and sneaks food (something that has just really happened in the past 6 months) he doesn't guard his plate... but he is hungry all the time... maybe their metabolism at that age just requires that they eat often.

Stevenson eats more than any one in our family (at meal times) but only snacks at normal times during the day- and seems to be fine.... (and he was severely malnourished when we brought him home.

So that probably didn't help you at all.... I don't know if he has been to a GI specialist or not- but ours was recommended we see a nutritionist with Stevenson if he didn't gain weight well (but since he gained 10 pounds his first month home, we never saw one).

Svetlana said...

Alisha's son Mathuew is the same, when i go visit always after food and he is been here i think 2 yr. At school teachers saying that he always ask for seconds and guards his food. He is 6 now.

Laurie said...

Food is very important to my kids too. As soon as we finish eating one meal they are already asking what we are going to eat for the next meal.

Nelson came home guarding his bowl, crying & wanting on his booster seat as soon as I started cooking; to screaming if some food fell on the floor, & shoveling it in as fat as possible. They both are GREAT eaters, will eat anything & everything & eat as much as an adult & still ask for more. But they have grown so much & now have caught up with their peers so they need lots. But I have never seen other people's kids consume as much as them. :)

Eric and Tara said...

My son used to eat just like this- it was SOOO unreal. We had him tested mulitiple times for parasites, worms ect and everything came back normal. We finally went to a naturopath and they did some muscle tests on him and found that he did actually have 4 parasites! So, you may want to go the natural route and see a naturopath. Just my 2 cents... :)