Venting about picky eating - Staying with in laws for Xmas, they won't allow his food

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PlainJane, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    Short and sweet. Made plans to stay with inlaws for 10 days over Christmas. We are staying with them because we do not want to be in a hotel over the holidays. Bought the plane tickets. Plan have been set. We have been out there before, though always stayed in a hotel. In laws really are wonderful, and they want us to stay with them and not at a hotel for the holidays. We all get along, no family issues, ect.

    Was told after all plans were final ($1400 worth of tickets) that my sister in law do not allow certain foods in her house. Chicken nuggets, or hot dogs. Two of my son's prefered foods. The list is short, and chicken nuggets are the only meat. We buy the all white meat, healthier ones, not the garbage ones. She still thinks he will just learn to eat what he is given. Truthfully, I wanted to strangle her through the phone. My husband told her that if we are staying with her, then we are buying those food for our son, and if she does not want her kids to have it then she can tell her kids no. He told we don't give our son juice (actually because he gets horrible diarreah from it) and that we will deal with telling him no when we are out there.

    I just told my husband we should eat the ticket money and stay home. I just wish she had brought up this stipulation before we purchased the tickets. My husband is not worried at all. He said she does not understand the situation, and she will not have any input. He said if our son had a food allergy, and she forbid his special foods, how would we handle it?

    I must admit the last time we were out there, my sister in law tried telling me that my son was "fine" and needed XYZ, to which my brother in law (who satyed with us on many occasions) came to our defense, telling her that he has seen our son's behavior and this is not just a cse of being a little out of control. He fully agrees that there is an under lying issue, and didn't dismiss the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnoses.

    Ok and the kicker sister in law is a teacher! Ta-da!

    Ok so that wasn't short and sweet. Just nervous, My gut says we should not go out there, because there will be a problem.
    On a side note, my sister in law has been told by her pediatrician (she boasts about him telling her this and her not listening because docs don't know everything) that her daughter is under weight and has growth issues. I have seen first hand (though never said anything) that she keeps her 2 year old on a low carb diet,no breads, crackers, ect but does allow juice and fruit. So this is more than just them not wanting nuggeting in the house because they are health conscience, but rather there's some disordered eating going on there. oh, and my sister in law isn't underweight herself, SHE eats carbs, but doesnt want the kids to have them.
  2. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I completely understand your dilemma. I would say your decision of going or not really depends on the kind of LONG TERN relationship you want with your in-laws. If you don't care to see them much in the future, then don't go.
    If you want to keep in touch and enjoy each other company, than you need to go and stand your ground. Just like your husband suggested: sister in law will have NO say.
    Of course, it might mean an explosion, but you can also let her see the "real difficult child". Let him go into full blown tantyrum and let her experience some of it.
    I had to do that with my own parents. It was SUPER hard to do (for me and difficult child), but I believe it was for the greater good. They don't deny anymore that something is really wrong. There is no more talk about me being just stressed and tired (which I am of course, but they see it as the consequence of difficult child's behavior, not the cause of his behavior).
    If you are that stressed over it, maybe let your husband handle it. Try to make a plan A (B, C?) with him.
    Last thing don't mention anything about her daughter's weight! A point might come where it would be tempting, but really would only make things worst!
    Tough decision, hopefully more will come and give some advice.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd be more understanding if she forbid certain foods because they have food allergies, but that's obviously not the case. At some point her kids also have to learn to watch other kids eat stuff they can't have. Hate to see what happens when (if?) they go to some kid's birthday party.
    Do for your son what he needs, let your husband handle his family. What does he think about it? Does he have a plan?
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    it is a wonderful learning opportunity for kids at home or in school to see that some kids need individualized accomodations. It is the way of the world. If kids are given credit, and it is explained to them in an easy way that does not invade any privacy for difficult child...(if that is a issue)... they generally can shine. And can maybe teach sister in law a thing or two. Does sister in law have an eating disorder? Sounds way too controlling about food. A teacher who doesn't undersand Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at this point in the world...still makes me crazy.
  5. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    Thank you all for your support. I was a little concerned that we were crossing the line by going into her home and not respecting her food wishes, as difficult as they may be for our son.
    A plan is a very good idea. I already told my husband that if his sister and I go shopping, he has to go. Because I don't want the poo to hit the fan in the grocery store without him. Actually this whole issue came up when I was on the phone with her, and told her that the day after we fly in her and I should go shopping, as we would never expect her to take on the burden of the grocery bill for our family (of 4). She then responded by saying what we can not buy. Instead of gettinglosing my temper and yelling at her which I wanted to do, I gave the phone to my husband, and he told her that we are getting what we get, and she will have to be a parent and tell her kids no. He said it was taken care of, but when I got back on the phone with her, it didn't feel resolved, only buried...for now.

    Ktllc, my husband actually made that point, that he would like to visit often (at least once a year, they are on the west coast, us eat) and if we bail on Christmas, not only will we look bad, but it will not resolve the issue at hand. He wants to nip it in the bud now. I really am glad he's willing to stand up to anyone for his little boy. :) We have dealing with my parents here, not "believing" in autism. My father has told me I caused this. I made this happen. And once even said I wanted this to happen. He's tantrumed infront of them once or twice, and my father's response is to keep telling my son that kind of behavior is "unacceptable". :groan:
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Sounds like your husband is totally on board, which is a wonderful thing! If he's the one that told her, she'll be mad at him, yes, but he's family and she'll deal with that better than she would if it came from you. Your priority is your son, and that's exactly what you're doing.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I was a REALLY picky eater as a kid.
    Mom worked with me to find a few "normal things" that people (i.e. extended family and close friends) would be likely to have around the house... most people have bread (sorry, if they don't, we bring... bread is a "staple" - for a minimum, its rice-cakes!), and jam... I loved PB, so that helped at some homes (unless there was a peanut allergy...). The brilliant one she fell into was scrambled eggs; couldn't stand fried or boiled, but dry-scrambled (no sticky egg stuff left) turned out to be OK. "Everybody" has eggs around, or egg-beaters, or some equivalent... (well, maybe not your sister in law?) Mom cut a deal with the rest of the family that if there was not enough available of the foods I would eat... she'd scramble up a couple of eggs, I'd always eat bread, and I wouldn't starve.

    She was right. Not only did it reduce the need for major scenes, it made the whole "family gathering" thing less stressful for ME... so I behaved better.

    See if you can find a couple of things that your difficult child already likes or can learn in the next month... that are based on simple, common ingredients.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    Not only is your husband on board and stepping up and "handling" sister in law, but brother in law is also on board with both of you. Let the men deal with this woman.

    No carbs for kids? That's as ludicrous ans no fat for kids! You may be right that she's got some strange eating disorder/thinking going on.

    Stand your ground with her on food issues.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im hoping you will find this funny and not get mad at me. This post struck my funny bone because last Thanksgiving my daughter in law informed me they were coming to my house and that I had better have chicken nuggets and cheese puffs for my granddaughter Hailie to eat because that is what she wanted to eat right now. I told her I will be damned.

    See...just a few months before this "demand" I was chastised royally because I ate some of Queen Hailie's private supply of cheese puffs when I was left at their house without any food to eat for hours on end.

    Also Hailie is not autistic and will eat normal foods with absolutely no issues if her mother is not around to coddle the little brat. My daughter in law has turned that child into a terror.

    In your case with a child who has true food issues, I wouldnt care if you bought special food for him. My issue was with my daughter in law. I can completely understand you wanting to make sure your son has food to eat. I have no idea if you are going to only give him chicken nuggets and hotdogs the entire time or if he will attempt to have some of the Turkey day dinner. Maybe there is something in that meal that he likes. Corn, mashed taters, rolls, stuffing. Maybe even a piece of turkey. I dont know. Even if putting his hotdog in a dinner roll makes him happy and able to sit at the table its worth it.

    Sure sounds like Turkey day will be tough if her kids cant eat carbs though. Guess that means no pumpkin pie?
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Geez InC, we're a pair. My parents went round and round with me all the time trying to get me to eat something. Once a week that fight was a hard-boiled egg and it took a few years before I tried any other way to make them and learned I much preferred soft-poached on toast and omelets (with just Gwaltney bologna, nothing else and no other brand).
    Still picky as all get-out, but if I question if I'll eat what someone has when I get invited, I bring my own can of Spaghetti O's (which I will happily eat right from the can).
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you think sister in law will have a meltdown over this? Do you feel you will be fighting?

    If so, you aren't going to have much fun. I think this is the bottom line: How will she respond when she finds out that your kid is going to eat what he is allowed to eat and her kids will have to see it.

    I think she sounds kind of eating disordered by proxy. Depending on how extreme it is, a high protein diet is not healthy for anyone. But that's not your issue. Yours is...will you have fun there or will you be fighting? If you know you will be fighting a lot (or suspect) then think about if this is what you want for Christmas. To me it's not about the food, but if you want to have a nice holiday or one filled with tears and bad feelings. Hopefully sister in law will not give you a hard time.
  12. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    I should say that she allows the kids carbs on special occasion, like cake at a party. Though, I dont think there will be any pie, because it is "loaded with sugar and empty carbs" and I know she won't bake it...While we were out there last time, we offered to take her daughter with us to the zoo. She sent her with no packed meal, but when we got home, she grilled me on what we fed her daughter (this is when I first was informed about the carb issue) At the zoo, her daughter wanted a PB&J sandwich and my son wanted a hot dog, no roll, as he will not eat the roll. After which her daughter asked for my son's hot dog roll...I said yes, I didnt think it was a big deal, but my sister in law was upset we ordered her PB&J (all carbs and sugar, and the PB at the zoo isn't natural) and she was annoyed I gave her my son's roll. sister in law said "I have to watch her with those coarbs, she really loves them".

    difficult child will eat eggs, scrambled, grilled cheese, noodles with butter, PB sandwiches, and sometimes toast. Oh and certain yogurts. New foods on his plate are not an option. He goes into a melt down. Last Thanksgiving at my parents house, he refused to eat all day. I ended up making him a grilled cheese. It took him months of feeding therapy to eat PB. PB is our victory because it doesn't require cooking or refrigeration, and can easily be brought anywhere that will not have food he will eat available. I know he can last 10 days with out nuggets and hot dogs (assuming that all the other foods I listed are permitted at her house) I guess I just already feel like his food list is so darn short as it is, I don't want to shorten it anymore. Also, my husband had similar issues as a child (we think he is undiagnosed Aspie, but that's another story) and his mother did not cater to his food issues, and I kid you not (as he will tell it and so will sister in law and mother in law) that he lived on a diet of 90% dry toast for years, and sometimes mother in law wouldnt fed him if he refused to eat what she made for the family. And while mother in law and sister in law don't acknowledge it, my husband was severly underweight and malnurished as a kid. The pics of him as a child are heart wrenching, and he did run into health issue because of it. (mother in law plays it down) Nothing too severe, but enough that I feel mother in law is in no position to give the advice on how to handle food issues. Not to mention sister in law's eating issues that I'm not even fully aware of the extent of.

    Anyway, hubby and I are not in the camp of "if you don't eat what I give you then don't eat." Because difficult child was failing to gain as a toddler, and falling off the weight charts, I was told my concern is to make sure he gains. He is still a little skinny. And at 4 years old, hasn't gained in over 6 months. Thankfully, he is in a healthy weight range, even if near the bottom, but its honestly because hubby and I are diligent about secretly monitoring his intake. (We don't let him know, or it will turn into a battle)

    I don't want there to be issues because of this. My inlaws, dispite what I've focused on, are really good people. We do get along and enjoy each other 's company. I think, and this is my opinion, that its very obvious that mother in law has A LOT of adult Asperger's behaviors, (even sister in law has acknowledged this) and so does hubby (which he acknowledges) and sister in law (who insists that her aspie behaviors ar NOT aspie, but "perfectly normal") and I think by acknowledging difficult child, sister in law is aknowledging this (possible Asperger's) about herself she doesnt want to? I could be way off on this, but it just seems that way. (by the way, I have many asperger behaviors, and my father also. It doesn't bother me, but dad believes he is "normal" [what is the obsession with the word normal?] and denies difficult child diagnoses...)

    Anyway, this will make me nervous until we get out there and face it. I think we can take nuggets and hotdogs out if his menu, and be ok. I'm worried if its not the food issues, then it will be difficult child's behavior that she will comment on. It was his behavior and my stress over it she was dismissing last time when brother in law spoke up and told her that difficult child's behavior is more then just being a brat. She felt if we stuck with time out, then we could stop all his behavior problems...
  13. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Honestly, I think you need to have a conversation with sister in law. Your husband needs to be present and take the lead actually.
    Something like "you voiced your opinion and I have heard your input when it comes to raising my son. Now, I am the mother and I will make the final decision on how to handle things. Maybe you will agree, maybe you won't. But it is not up for discussion anymore. I am the parent and will do what I feel is best. I know you will be respectful of my choices just like I am about yours."
    This kind of discussion is usually a necessary evil if you want a good relationship in the long run.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Just out of curiosity, will your son eat only certain kinds of pasta, or is whole grain high protein pasta something he'll eat? Pasta is a big thing for us, and while it took me time to get used to the whole grain kind, Kiddo is so used to it that typical white pasta (like they serve at school) tastes weird to her. :)
    For what it's worth, we eat no veggies and next to no fruit, like your son our list of what we will eat is a lot shorter than the list of what we won't eat.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    HaoZi... you're worse than me! Sensitivities rule out a couple major food categories (like milk), but beyond that... veggies if raw, fruit within reason (not really looking to try star-fruit) and especially if in season, plain meat (spices but no sauces, and not mixed with other stuff), starch (esp. bread, plain/buttered pasta and rice). The MD told my Mom that my tastes in eating, while "nique", certainly didn't preclude a very balanced diet! (which of course shot her whole argument that by being a fussy eater, I wasn't going to get a healthy diet, which is why she took me to the doctor about it!!)

    The trouble with eating at other people's houses is... the stuff I like isn't what gets served to company. Instead, you get... sauces, mixtures (soup, salad with dressing, chicken cordon bleu, etc.), cooked veggies... sigh. I'd eat better as a hunter-gatherer than I do as a guest! And no, I can't take a can of spaghetti-os... 'cause its a mixture. I've told everybody that, now that I'm and adult, I don't come for the food, I come for the social interaction. If all I get is bread and butter, and a good cup of tea... but we have a good time together... its worth it. I can always eat later (unlike a young difficult child).
  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Considering our finickiness, I'm sooooo glad that are high fiber options out there these days that we'll eat. The lack of those made my bathroom time growing up not fun at all. (pardon if that was too much information)
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK, I have never been a picky eater. There were/are a few things I'm not fond of. For years after I had my tonsils out, I couldn't eat scrambled eggs at all. While I loved cooked spinach, raw wasn't happening (that one has changed, as has cranberry relish. The jelly-nasty that most people have with turkey is still on my "ewww" list). Whole okra - bleah!

    But here's the thing. I have been to, and hosted, people that couldn't/wouldn't eat certain things (BFF H cannot have red 40). So I adjust.

    I don't let Jett have too much Ramen, and I try to balance the diet out and have reasonable snacks available. But I also try to have things he likes on hand. String cheese... Bananas... Wheat bread (another thing I refuse to eat). And if there's a special request - I try. If I cannot do it, I will say so. BUT - if that's the case, the guest is more than welcome to bring whatever (I mean, c'mon, I have friends with infants, but I'm not going to go buy formula for them! Might not be the right kind!)...
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    I think you're on to something here. When son was diagnosed, sisters and I realized that Dad was an Aspie as well. Of course, we knew he'd balk at anything like that, so to this day, he still doesn't know that son has such a diagnosis. Once he asked me "what was up" with son. I just said that he was different in the same way you (my dad) are different. "Oh, well that's a GOOD thing!" my dad replied. So just last week, I was talking to sis1 about sis2. Sis2 is becoming more and more like Dad every day. Sis1 and I picked apart her behaviors and compared/contrasted them to Dad. I was already piecing together that sis2 is very likely an Aspie. Sis1, however isn't ready to hear that. She may be once (if) DD1 get an official diagnosis. The reason, is because both sis1 and I have definite Aspie traits. Some of which I'm sure are genetic, but also some due to the fact that we were raised by a single Aspie father. Are either of us on the spectrum? Me more likely than sis1, and becoming apparent that sis2 is very likely.

    So yes, acknowledging a diagnosis in a close family member, and having obvious similar traits can very much be unnerving for a person - especially an Aspie who perceives things in a very black and white manner. Ironic, isn't it? An Aspie can't accept they are an Aspie?

    Oh, and the thinking they are "normal" thing? Perfectly normal if the family is filled with Aspies. Our familial foundations are our very first gauge of what is normal and acceptable in life. That's the primary reason abused children grow up to be abusers or abused spouses - they think it is "normal"

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Is this your first time to stay with them since you've had kids, or kids old enough to have food issues? I ask because I found as our kids grew older it really became easier to stay in a hotel (or in our camper nearby) while visiting relatives. Not only does it help with the food problem, but it also provides a time out space and place for a child who is going to be challenged by having a disrupted routine.

    Reading about sister in law's food rules made me think of something I recently read about how food has become the new American religion. Eating healthy has taken on a whole new look, with believers ranging the spectrum from quietly making changes in their own eating habits all the way to overzealous followers whose aim is to convert the masses. It sounds wise of you to be firm in setting boundaries during this first trip.
  20. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I went looking to see how the holidays went for a fellow picky eater and thought the trip was for Thanksgiving. Kimmie, if you're around still, have you made any progress on handling sister in law?