Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kitchen confidential

It's only March, and I'm already out of the running for Mother of the Year.

Remember a few months ago when I told you that Bud was on a new medication that made him ravenously hungry? I was under strict orders from Bud's doctor to reign in his caloric consumption and I began ridding the house of all of Bud's favorite snack foods: blueberry bagels, ice cream cups, Nutri-Grain bars, frozen pancakes - everything. But Bud was intrepid - and hungry - so every time I left the kitchen he'd go foraging and then try to hide the evidence, stowing Popsicle sticks under the sofa and leaving a tell-tale trail Whole Grain Goldfish crumbs in his wake. He quickly learned to master the art of the dine-and-dash, waiting until he heard my footsteps going up the stairs, then diving headlong into the refrigerator to scarf down whatever he could reach. At day's end, when Bud was fast asleep, I'd open the refrigerator to find thick boy-mouth sized bite marks through a half-pound stack of American cheese or a bag full of stems where a pound of grapes had been that morning.

But nothing - nothing - compared to last week. Bud and I spent the usual amount of time engaged in food negotiations ("But I'm hungry, Mama"/"I'll get you a snack in a few minutes, Bud,") but, due to limited shopping opportunity, our house was even more free than usual of anything approximating snack food. Still, I'd hear the refrigerator open when I went upstairs, but then I'd dash back down to find him empty-handed, over and over and over again. It wasn't until week's end when I discovered two things in our mostly-empty refrigerator: 1) a tub of Olivio butter substitute that I thought was unopened, but that was, in fact, filled with the deep track marks of the eight-year-old who was eating the stuff by the fist-full, and 2) a bottle of ketchup that days earlier had been full, but was now completely empty.

Margarine and ketchup. My son is so hungry, he's been eating margarine and drinking ketchup. If you are what you eat, then I am raising my poor boy to be a condiment.

I have got to find a better solution.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god!! Well, for whatever it's worth, I cannot turn my back on my son and a stick of butter (or tub of Olivio, for that matter).

Hope Bud (and you) find some good alternatives soon...you know, when my guy was little, I used to make whole wheat pancake batter and add grated carrots or zucchini. Something about the combination made me feel like he was at least getting something healthy in his belly.

PS: I suspect "Mother of the Year" is a highly overrated honor.

Anonymous said...

You could buy condiments in small packets, mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc. Same for goldfish, etc.
And/or lock food in the trunk of your car and take it out as needed for meals. Normal for some people maybe not, but definitely a new normal.

Some people keep a separate fridge in the cellar or garage that is locked. Seeing the fridge however is a constant temptation whereas the trunk is out of sight. Just some thoughts. You will prevail but not without stealth, mom stealth, the scary kind!

Niksmom said...

Fiber capsules. Open them and mix w/a food he likes. Should help him feel more full and also mitigate any, um, digestive difficulties resulting from his foraging. Good luck!

Daisy said...

Does the doctor know how desperately hungry Bud has become? This can't be good.
If it's any consolation, condiments always seem to come in attractive packages. :)

Phoebe said...

Man, that medication must otherwise be all kinds of awesome to be willing to put up with that.

I hope you guys figure something out soon.

Angel The Alien said...

What is it with little kids and weird foods? I have heard of lots of kids who would sneak butter out of the fridge. One kid even ate a whole stick of it! Yuck!

Neurodivergent K said...

Poor Bud! Being that hungry HURTS, and it's so hard to make doctors UNDERSTAND how hungry one can be.

I used to eat butter too. Id dip it in sugar and call it candy (and this is without medication helping the hunger fires, I just liked butter).

kristina said...

Oh dear, although Charlie has become very fond of condiments in the past year (relish too).

Are Bud's needs for food outweighing the effects of the medication?

I have been very insistent about keeping Charlie's dose low for this very reason. Sure, the medication has helped with behaviors but the behaviors that arose from trying to deal with Charlie's need to eat----a maddening circle. I have a special box of crackers for Charlie in my office and he does not go there.

How does the school handle the food cravings?

Anonymous said...

lol...what would you buy a condiment for Christmas...a bun? Feeding our kids is always a journey. Good luck :)

Drama Mama said...

Miss M is the same way.

She seems happy with a whole apple, or pear, or sliced veggies.


Could it be the sugary high he's craving?

We've found a sugarless solution to those vitamin water drinks (no splenda or chemicals either) and that seems to fill her up.

Poor Bud.

mommy~dearest said...

Wow- I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Jaysen had a major appetite increase as a result of his med too. He hasn't gone that far with the condiments, but he wouldn't eat them anyway. He does, however, eat his snack and his lunch as soon as he arrives at school. Wish I had some advice for you!

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for a while, but haven't commented before. This sounds so much like my son, though, that I had to this time.

My son with autism, also has medication-induced hunger, and, combined with his naturally impulsive nature, is a rampant food thief. I knew it was bad when I came out of the shower one morning to find he had ingested an entire large-sized bottle of soy sauce.

I tried emptying cabinets and the fridge, moving foods to high shelves, and then just not having very much food around at all. This just caused him to eat stuff like the soy sauce, and even several non-food items.

I ended up chaining the fridge shut. This sounds drastic, but it works. I use bungee cords on cabinet doors. These two keep him from actually being to access food.

I also make smaller, more frequent meals, and rely on gum for in between those eating times. This helps to quell the constant chorus of, "I'm hungry." I still have to be vigilant - there are still non-food items around. But at least now I can take a (very short) shower without too much worrying.

Anonymous said...

but is there anything else going on? some other chemical reaction with this medication? it reminds me of something i've heard of with some children who are up in the middle of the night eating cupfuls of stolen crisco.

that said, fluffy would eat bowlfuls of butter and wash it down with ketchup drunk through a straw.

Patrick said...

I somewhat understand Bud's (and Moms) dilemma. I was authorized to use a special antidepressant, as long as I didnt go on an eating spree. Well, the antidepressant indeed made me feel ravenous, and never even got it refilled.

I would suggest that Kristina's approach might be the best... absolutely to lowest possible dose that helps, if possible.

Otherwise for me it boils down to ARRGH, Why do they keep approving the use of drugs whose side effects are nearly as bad (if not worse) than the symptoms being treated?

Don't these people (designer drug engineers) get guidance to avoid making cross reactions with their biochemical concoctions???

Kaethe said...

If the hunger is bad enough that Bud is sneaking into the kitchen whenever possible, and eating condiments, I think you need to present the seriousness of this more forcefully to the doctor. The doctor issuing the "strict orders" is grossly underestimating what this costs both you and Bud. When an eight-year-old is compulsively stealing ketchup, he's really feeling ravenous.

Anonymous said...

I just googled the med that Bud is taking and found the "official" website. They report that the average weight gain in the first year is 16.5 pounds!!!!! A lot for a full size person too much for a little boy! They offered no insight on how to manage this side effect (Maybe they think a a "few" extra pounds is the least of your worries?) Does Bud's hunger include a rumbly tummy? or is it the "I must put something in my mouth or I will implode!" kind of hungry? if it's the latter I would try gum....There are some really yummy gums out there. Our current favorite is Icebreakers ice cubes (watermelon flavor) Maybe you could make a deal with him that if mom can hear the rumbly tummy he can have a snack (I'm thinking super healthy, not much fat microwave popcorn) or a protein snack. If his tummy isn't talking he can have gum. (bonus: learning to blow bubbles!) I'm 40 and I still love to blow 'em! Super for stress reduction!

MOM-NOS said...

Thanks, folks. I do appreciate your help, though I have limited your ability to be helpful to a degree, because I have been purposely vague (out of respect for Bud's privacy) about the hows, whats and whys of my decision to use medication with him. But I do want to clarify a bit, so that no false assumptions are made. Please know that:

- Bud's doctor is fantastic, attentive, and responsive. She understands the big picture here.

- Bud's medication is monitored very closely by his pediatrician and two child psychiatrists who all work collaboratively, with each other and with me.

- I make the decision to use medication (or to stop using medication or to alter amounts or frequency of medication) very, very carefully and in consultation with Bud's doctors.

- The side effects - margarine, ketchup and all - are a jolly holiday when compared with life for Bud pre-medication.

- Bud is not so hungry that he would deign to eat a rice cake or a carrot or a blueberry Nutri-grain bar instead of a strawberry Nutri-grain bar. Yes, Bud is eating Olivio and ketchup because he's hungry, but he is also eating Olivio and ketchup because he likes Olivio and ketchup.

Thanks for indulging my clarification. Hope I don't sound too defensive (it can be hard not to be defensive...)

VTBudFan said...


I don't think you sound defensive, and I expected to see a follow-up like that because I knew you made med choices with thorough research and a good, helpful doctor!

And I laughed out loud at your clarification that Bud just likes Olivio and ketchup. Okay, let's be honest...how much difference is there really between that Olivio stuff and a can of grocery store frosting?? Not much, I bet!


P.S. You are still on my list of nominees for Mother of the Year.

Anonymous said...

No, you don't sound defensive, you sound like the caring and thorough mom that you are. We appreciate your clarification but none was needed, I think everyone was only doing their best to give you advice of the "whaever it is worth" type, just in case we stumbled onto a solution.

Hey, now I sound defensive! Anyway, we do know that the snap shot you present is by no means the whole picture. Keep on keeping on MOM-NOS you are an inspiration to many and your generosity in sharing your life is deeply appreciated.