When does the messy eating stop?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by firehorsewoman, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. difficult child is an incredibly messy eater. This is one thing his father and I do agree about. Ex will even tell psychiatrists that difficult child still eats like a toddler. I often wonder if it is part of his Sensory thing going on there. If he is on the hyper end of that spectrum wanting to touch, smear, play with, spit out, etc his food??? He will tear a wrapper, paper cup, etc into numerous shreds. He will gargle and spit out liquids. Chewing gum can be a nightmare but I take avoiding yet another meltdown (gum will many times stave off his hunger) over cleaning up yet another mess any day.

    On another recent thread I mentioned that I always have food with me. I also invested in a shop vacuum because a simple after school snack in the car can leave my vehicle looking like a party of two years olds took place in there.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    in my opinion, yes it's the sensory issues, coupled with lack of fine motor skills.
    Does he even try to use his utensils?

    At 11 DD1 rarely uses a knife, and when she does, she refuses to use it in her right hand - claims left gives her more control even though she's a rightie. She's not as messy as your difficult child, but still messier than she should be at this age. Let me put it this way. I can usually tell what she had for lunch at school by looking at her face and/or shirt.
  3. He will try to use them if I remind him. He is also left-handed which doesn't help with using a fork and knife. Honestly, I would be happy if he just used a fork and if most of the food ended up in his mouth and not on the floor, the table, his clothes.
    Lasted edited by : Jun 5, 2012
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My son is almost 15 and still is a messy eater and exhibits many of those behaviors still.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Mine is mid-teens, and... it IS getting better, but "getting" is a relative term... and part of the "getting better" is ME getting better at picking the kind of meals that DON'T require fine motor skills (and are still healthy...)

    Sensory, fine motor skills, and fatigue.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Err... With some it gets better... And some, not so much. Jett is almost 14, and has a LOT of trouble with knives and forks. Onyxx is 17 and when she gets up, the table looks like Pompeii after the the eruption...

    So, it can get better. And if Jett and Onyxx pay attention, it's not as bad.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Mine is pretty messy still too...at age 15. Shoves food in really fast and it gets all over his face. He does not do quite as much as yours but is like others here, doesn't cut well so will pick up large things and bite off of them making a mess of what falls. He is working on this stuff in Occupational Therapist (OT) right now. Cutting is getting a little better but he doesn't get the idea that a knife can work better if you "saw" it not just rip thru things.....he is just recently using a napkin more. (saying no girl would ever like that seemed to help, LOL)
  8. It does get better - slowly and with a lot of effort and coaching. My difficult child and my easy child are both messy eaters - although difficult child is soooo much better now. That's been in the past couple of years though. easy child still has 'pompeii' (LOL - that was funny!) around her plate after a meal because of her poor motor skills but I'm hopeful that it will get better.

    That said, I'm not spewing food everywhere but I still dribble from my glass the odd time and generally spill something off my fork onto my shirt and almost every meal (I'm 42!) as does my mother who is 68. So I think it gets better but not great! Just last week we had dinner at a friends place and I dropped food on her pristine white tablecloth twice! Ugh! Felt pretty stupid about it but it is what it is...
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    The "sawing" is an interesting thing, a piece of meat I can slice through with one or two motions can take Jett 30-40 back-and-forth. husband and I have both worked with him. I find it easier to place the knife blade behind the fork, husband through the tines - and husband has a harder time than I do, I might add - and Jett either places it through the tines, or in front which makes it even harder. I recently just gave up - as long as he cuts things small enough, we're good. (He choked on a too-big piece not long ago after being told it was TOO BIG, and after he got it spit out got a lecture and grounded for a day for ignoring us... And I got to practice the Heimlich, which he DID NOT LIKE.)
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Trouble cutting with a table knife? Occupational Therapist (OT) said to try a good-quality steak knife... if your kid is safe with knives...
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL IC... This is a good steak knife... Or any knife... The only one we don't allow him to touch is the ceramic knife, because we'd like him to keep his FINGERS!
  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I don't know if the messy eating ever stops. My difficult child will be 23 this fall, and I can still read his daily menu from his shirtfront and around his lips.

    The youngest 4 of my Monster Collection all have sensory food quirks of one sort or other:

    Little easy child, 10, has stains on the shoulders of every t-shirt he owns from where he wipes his mouth. We have (finally...sigh) taught him the right method to use a knife and fork for maximum effectiveness,
    but he reverses his hands. Knife in left hand, fork in right. He's ambidextrous, as am I, so this is just a preference for him. I'm willing to live with it. The finish on our kitchen table has completely worn away at Little easy child's spot from repeated scrubbing of the table after meals. If you lift his plate, there is a plate-shaped ring of food on the placemat, then little stalagmites spreading slowly out in all directions.

    Tyrantina, 2 1/2, loves to squish things and smear things. She ends up with a clown-mouth of whatever she's eating, and food-gloves, but she doesn't tear into it like the boys do.

    Tyrannosaur, also 2 1/2, seems fascinated by the laws of physics as they apply to food. Honestly, I get a kick out of watching him eat pancakes, just to see what he does with the syrup. He puts his hands in it and then "lathers" them until he has a pair of syrup-gauntlets that go up to the elbows. He then proceeds to stick himself to things, and then slowly peel off, to see how far his skin stretches before release. He stops only when the syrup turns to shellac (or I hoist him out of his chair into a hot bath, whichever comes first).
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    :rofl: I hope you've gotten video of that. Sounds fascinating to watch!
  14. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Using utensils for eating is about as complex as writing... and WAY more complex than most people realize.
    Even MINOR impairments in neuromotor control can make these tasks very difficult.

    Unless Jett has something on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum - and it doesn't sound like that is the case, based on other posts - it really sounds like he struggles with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder.

    The fine motor stuff, the personal space stuff (needing more, getting into other people's space....), the general dislike of sports... SO much of Jett falls into Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) issues...
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I found a substantial amt of the messiness left when the kid had to stop and go treat the stains on the clothing after each meal/snack/eat-portunity when we were at home. They also had to pack low-wrinkle shirt if we had to go to the city -90min away- for any reason. They got to sweep the floor, and pick up any big messes. Soon they were more careful with food because they truly hated all that cleaning and mom making them do it again and again until they didn't miss any stains or bit of food on the floor (within reason, of course, depending on their age and ability).

    Wiz had a sp ed class that ate bfast and lunch together and they worked on table manners at each meal. It made a big difference. This was 5th grade.

    I think work on fine motor skills can help this greatly, and that it is mostly due to sensory issues and fine motor sklls/coordination issues. I would NOT avoid food just because they are mesy unless we had to go somewhere right after the meal. Kid need much practice andtime to learn to get these skills down, and always avoiding messy skills put them at a strong disadvantage.

    I do allow each child to pick the type of stain treatment they like best - spray bottle, stain stick, whatever. I have found it makes them more likely to use it properly and it is no big deal to buy one for each kid or one for them to share. You go through the same amount either way. I don't buy 2 of the same product because then you get into 'he used mine' garbage. i don't play that game. So if they both like/use the same one, they share. My kid WERE responsible for making sure that we were told when they were low on stain remover. We asked when we made the list each week, and made them go and look to see if they were low. Runnng out totally meant paying for the next bottle/tube out of allowance, and it only happened one time. Wiz did it and the other 2 learned from his mistake.

    Mostly I think it goes away as a problem when they either discover the opposite gender or they move out.

    thank you is 12 and has trouble with utensils. It jut is who he is, and he mostly can clean up after himself now. He isn't great with a knife though. But he is getting better. When Wiz was in motessori preschool they had the kids cutting bread, etc with plastic knives by age 3 or 4. It helps develop not just table manners but also the coordination for writing and many other things. They were carefully supervised, 4 or so at a time using the knives, and it really did make a difference. Odd that I just thought of it, and how PROUD the kid were to be cutting things at the time. They made osme sort of snack with the cut up bread.