Friday, 26 February 2016

Is it out of date?

Living with a child with anxiety is hard on everyone.  Adults who suffer from phobias will tell you that their fear isn't always rational. They can intellectualise until the cows come home about why they shouldn't be scared of something but, the fact remains, they still are. Katie has several anxieties with no real justification that I can find: being sick and food being out of date.

The two fears are obviously linked.  She's never had food poisoning (that I'm aware of).  She's rarely sick (a point I remind her of constantly). The issue remains though she is terrified we are going to poison her and make her sick by giving her out of date food.  The fact that food being slightly out of date wouldn't necessarily be an issue is hard to explain to many adults.  Then you have the whole "best before" and "use by" issue to explain.  Don't even get me going on the anxiety about food that we've cooked and put back in the fridge to reheat, which doesn't have a sell by or use by or best before date on.  That will send Katie into a whole new world of panic - as I saw yesterday when I gave her pasta made with the sauce I made for pizza's a few days ago.

Where did this anxiety come from?  I'm fairly laissez faire about food.  I check dates and use common sense but I also use my nose and my eyes to assess if food is suitable for consumption.  We have an amazing new fridge that keeps food beautifully cold so most foods have at least a few additional days before they have to be eaten. For a very literal girl with ADHD and FASD and an anxiety issue this is a potential minefield.  I am teaching her how to tell if food is safe to eat but it's hard talking to someone wearing metaphorical ear defenders and eye blinkers.  Daddy is a little anxious about making sure food is cooked through and often asks me to check food and, come to think of it does get twitchy about cleaning work surfaces, so maybe this has fueled Katie's worries as well.  I'm of the ilk that a little dirt never hurt anyone.  I'm not saying I don't clean etc because I do clean regularly and am careful with toilets and work-surfaces but I do think houses these days are far too sanitary.  Try living in a building site with a constantly dusty and dirty floor and you have to live and let live and put those blinkers on ALOT!

Anxiety is common in adopted children. It's also very common with ADHD and FASD so she's got a triple whammy there (ergo so have we). It's hard not to feel frustrated with her when she needs to check the date on everything we cook.  It also doesn't help that she doesn't really confidently know her months of the year so I'm constantly having to go over this information when she's panicking that it says the 3rd on a packet and I have to explain (yet again) that it means the 3rd month i.e. March and not the 3rd day of the month which has already passed.

Most nights I still have to feel her belly to make sure it's not a "sicky tummy".  Thankfully she at least trusts my judgement on this. I have a quick prod and judge how tense and tight her tummy is.  Sometimes we do some deep breathing exercises to help relax her tummy but, as I point out to her every single time, she is rarely sick.  I have to hope and pray that my healing Reiki hands remain good at sensing if she is unwell (I am very good at doing that I must admit) and Katie is fascinated by my "magic hands".

I hope that, as she gets older and her ability to rationalise catches up with her chronological age a bit, this anxiety will start to diminish. She was (and still is) a fussy eater.  She doesn't like a lot of textures and tastes. I sometimes wonder if my children are a clear example of the difference between a baby weaned with purees and a baby weaned in a baby-led way.  Pip is still fabulous with eating his fruit and veg as a result being baby-led weaned. It's just a shame he still prefers to use his hands instead of a knife and fork but we'll forgive him that minor issue and hope we're not the parents getting the letter home because their child can't eat with the proper utensils.

Disgust is a sense we have with a good purpose.  It saves us from being poisoned.  Could it be that Katie is one of the people who is a super-taster?  Maybe her senses are over-developed and foods do taste different for her or maybe it is anxiety that is to blame.

All I know is that it makes food hard work instead of pleasurable.  I also note that she isn't quite as discriminatory with foods containing lots of sugar........



Now there's food for thought......

2 comments:

  1. This is a very late comment but I also worry incessantly about food being out of date, and for me this was caused at least in part by my OCD. Personally I think the best thing you can do is to reassure her that the food is before the 'best before' date and even maybe initiate conversations telling her that the food is okay if you can sense that she is worrying about it. Another thing is to tell her that the chances of her falling ill due to the food being a day out of date are very slim xxx

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    1. Thank you for your reply. Apologies for the slow response. I'm sorry that you also have to deal with this. Thank you for your advice, which is really good advice. I am trying to reassure on an ongoing basis and am thinking of teaching her how to look and smell food to check whether it's edible. Have you ever had any support with your worries? xx

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