Hayden had always had a fairly decent relationship with food. Whilst he will not eat things he does not recognise, he has a healthy appetite and generally gets quite a varied diet. Not as varied as I would like, but I know we could have it a whole load worse. However he seems to developed an expensive new habit surrounding food and it is driving James and I crazy.
About a year ago, I had to buy a Tupperware box to put all of our ‘goodies’ into. Any sweets, crisps, chocolate, biscuits that we had in the house had to live in the blue box on top of the cupboard. This was because Hayden would just constantly climb onto the sides and help himself. He started to be really sneaky about it. He would sneak into the kitchen when I fed Kinley or as soon as I nipped upstairs to the toilet etc. He is very bright, and realised once he has it I rarely say no (unless dinner was in the oven). So the Tupperware stopped the sneaky food munching. It also forced him to ask for things which can only be a positive for his speech development.
In the past few months he has started helping himself to the apples in the fridge. A packet of 7 apples started lasting a couple of hours. It was frustrating as he literally eats one layer of the apple then throws the rest to the dog. As she doesn’t always want them we started finding apples all over the place. Under the play kitchen, in a toy box, under the sofa. Apart from the obvious annoyance, the fact he was eating fruit meant I didn’t go too crazy about it.
An expensive new habit!
Over the past couple of weeks him sneaking food seems to have hit an all time high. He will help himself to anything in the fridge, ham, yoghurts, fruit. Whatever took his fancy. I’d go into the fridge to see the ham missing only to find the packet behind the tumble dryer or if we are lucky in the bin. He is so quiet about it, we often didn’t realise until it was too late.
Last week we hardly had anything in as we were due to do a ‘big shop’. I was in the garden playing with Ellis and Kinley, and out comes Hayden with a slice of bread. Just bread. He sat on the trampoline and ate the lot. Then he went and got another slice, then another. I told him to stop but as soon as my back was turned he would go right back and get more.
On Tuesday we went and spent £93 in Tesco on a relatively small shop for the week. We knew we would need a few more bits later in the week as I had family staying but by Wednesday evening the fridge was pretty much bare again. 8 yoghurts had gone, a large packet of ham, 5 Pepperami’s, along with a few other bits and 8 ice lollies from the freezer (helped by his 2 little brothers). But yet over those couple of days he still had breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Friday evening there was nothing for him to eat. I found him sitting on the side licking the salt grinder. I got him down and explained he couldn’t just eat salt like that. The next time I followed him into the kitchen, he had got the ketchup out of the fridge and was trying to eat that straight from the bottle.
I’m at a complete loss as to how I can deal with it? I can’t do shopping daily as it just gets so expensive shopping that way. I cant continue doing my normal weekly shop because he will clear everything out within a few days. A lock on the fridge will work for about 4 hours before he works out how to work it.
I suggested small Tupperware tubs to put everything into, but it would probably put him off for about a day, we are convinced he now knows how to get into the blue box on top of the cupboard as half of the dark chocolate I bought for the chilli seems to have disappeared. I cannot be on top of him at all times. I have three children, they all have needs and all want mummy’s attention. And to be honest catching him every time sends my stress levels through the roof. There are only so many times I can repeat myself.
This compulsion to eat and eat and eat is something I really do not know how to manage. So any tips or suggestions are welcome!