whining, lying, food issues, learned helplessness and stress

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by lmf64, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Before I get going, please know that I love my nephew more than I love life itself and just really need to vent, but if anyone has any suggestions for me pipe up.
    Since I've been unemployed I've been providing child care for my niece and nephew. My niece aka Boo aka Diva aka Lil Monster (you get the picture) is 2. My nephew aka Lil Man aka Not so Lil Monster is 4 1/2. Boo is not your typical 2 year old. She is compliant, loves to help, rarely has meltdowns and is the reason I get up every morning. Lil Man is a different story. He is basically a pretty good kid, but lately is pushing every button to the point I think some of them are permanently broken. It seems like lately he can't talk, everything he says is in a whine and is a catastrophy (ie he dropped his hat while driving home from preschool this morning and screamed in a whine about it) I can't stand whining and it's driving me crazy. I've tried whining back at him to see if it would sink in that that tone of voice is irritating with no luck. He also lies all the time. It doesn't matter what it is, he'll lie. (ie as I'm standing there holding his boots telling him to put them on he looks me straight in the eye and says I have them on. When I point out that I am holding his boots so he obviously doesn't have them on he'll say those aren't boots, they're socks) I've begun giving him a time out every time he lies, but there are times when due to time constraints a time out isn't possible, and it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm not the only one who sees/hears the lying, my brother and sister in law are both at their wits end with it. He also has major food issues, has been dxd with food neo-phobia. The boy literally eats less than 12 things. He is in therapy for it, but it's so frustrating to not be able to make one meal (the 2 year old will eat anything you put in front of her). He does have a reason for his food issues though. As an infant he had to be taught to swallow and ate only stage 2 baby food until he was over the age of 2. It's so bad still that he will vomit if you even try to give him one bite of something not on his list. A while back I made banana bread and tried to get him to taste one bite by putting a crumb on his lip which resulted in carpets needing to be cleaned. He also has a major dose of learned helplessness, or male syndrome lol. He refuses to do most things for himself. It's pretty bad when you lay out clothes for a 2 year old to dress herself, so you have time to dress a 4 year old Know what I mean??
    As for stress, well living in a hotel room for three months with a 16 year old male because I can't find a place and even if I could can't afford it. enough said? Children's Mental Health is paying for the room using respite funds thank god. We had been living with an elderly relative, but the stress there was just too much for me and I called difficult child's case manager saying he needs to go to foster care as I can't find us a place and need to get out of where we're living right now. She didn't want him in foster care and pulled strings to get it worked out for us to stay in the hotel until we find a place. I did get good news this morning from her though. After many weeks of waiting a multiple phone calls and emails and faxes HRA is looking for a place for us now. I hope we can be in our own place within the next couple of weeks.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like things are really hard and stressful right now. With Little Man, all I can say is (((((hugs))))). Try to NOT get worked up about new foods. Can the foods he eats be fixed in bulk then just heated for his meals? If he eats cooked ground beef, brown a pound or two and put it in the fridge then at mealtimes fix his plate, warm it and let him have it type thing. Then cook for you and Diva what you want. Let him see that you enjoy your food and that he is NOT ALLOWED to have it. This probably won't do a lot, but it will work to make you and diva feel like you haave something special. Is the barfing because the taste, the texture, the unfamiliarity, or an uncontrollable reflex? There are food that make me vomiit and always have. Liver for one. I have no control - even if it is sneaked into something wiht a very strong taste my body will NOT keep it in my stomach. There are things that I cannot stand the taste of and can vomit but can force myself not to if it is important. There are foods taht the texture of it in my mouth creates this reaction - cooked spinach is one. I don't like the taste, esp creamed, but the texture is just not going to work for me. Ever. I have worked at it.

    What has the food therapist suggested doing? I can see that it would cause some problems. My youngest had reactions to lots of foods and it got to be a real PITA at times, esp if we wanted to go out to eat. Our fave restaurant had exactly NOTHING on the menu that he could eat besides salad and he wouldn't eat that as a little kid. Luckily I used to work there and know the owners and they let us bring in food for him or would make something special like putting tofutti cream cheese and pepperoni on a plain baked pizza crust.

    Has he been evaluated for autism spectrum disorders? Much of his rigidity sounds like he may be on the spectrum. Even if he isn't, reading some of the methods used by parents of kids on the spectrum might help. does he have other sensory issues besides the food ones? Has he ever had brushing therapy? It needs to be taught by an Occupational Therapist (OT) but it can create HUGE changes, including letting the child feel that he CAN do things. I watched my child sit and tell us he was a failure and couldn't cut or color on the lines. he was having problems due to sensory and other Occupational Therapist (OT) issues. As he worked the Occupational Therapist (OT) did gentle joint compressions and magic happened. Not really wand waving magic, but suddenly he sat up straighter, he held the scissors easier, he had confidence and said that it wasn't so hard, that he could do it. I was stunned. First I hadn't seen him do much of the "i can'Tourette's Syndrome" because he never colored or cut at home. Had no interest and never would do it for long no matter what. It has made huge changes for my child na dmay for your nephew.

    The library or the therapist should have The Explosive Child. Read or re read it and look on the early childhood forum for the sticky thread about adapting it to young children. It can be amazingly hlepful. Also read love and logic magic for early childhood. Again, try the library or therapist or case mgr. It will be a big help with him also. Check their website out for free info from them - www.loveandlogic.com .

    I am sorry about the cramped housing, but it is very good that you are away from the relative. I hope that a home opens up for your famly very very soon! Do you have a doctor? You may need to ask about medications for depression and anxiety for now. They can also be a big help.

  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear, you poor thing!

    I don't know anything else about your nephew but what you've posted here, but I would watch him carefully in social situations to see if he changes his tune. For ex., will he stop whining when he has friends around? Will he eat more foods when he's in a restaurant?

    I have to say, autism spectrum crossed my mind, too, but then again, it could be learned helplessness. Or both. :(

    Fingers crossed that you get a new place pronto!!!
  4. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Susie, thank you for the hugs. I try not to get worked up about what he will or will not eat, but there are days like today. Today I gave him mac and cheese for lunch (has to be Kraft, no homemade or any other brand) and he sat at the table for an hour refusing to even pick up the spoon, wanting to be fed. After an hour he got to go take a nap, as if I hadn't put him down I would have said something I wasn't proud of. As far as why he vomits I'm not entirely sure. I know he does have issues with texture, but then again so do I. I suspect that in part it's unfamiliarity. His therapist is working on him learning to smell things (seems he has issues with smells) and learning what smells good and what smells bad. He also says he's scared of food, it has mouths, etc to which we are to respond how can I help it not be scarey. She's only observed one meal so far, so I'm hoping she'll come up with more ideas after observing him a few more times.
    I've had concerns about the spectrum since he was a baby and would sit and rock the cat food container for ages (I wanted to say hours, but I know it wasn't that long) and because of his rigidity to change, but because of my son I began working on eye contact and flexibility at a very early age (but food is the one area I couldn't break through to him). I do still have concerns about him being on the spectrum, but now it's in mommy and daddy's hands. I've told them what I see and can only hope that his preschool teacher sees things and recommends testing. He has his kindergarten screening next month, but as far as academically he's way ahead of his peers (he's reading already and loves math) but does have issues with fine motor (can't seem to figure out how to hold a pencil/crayon even after we've worked on it for the last 6 months)
    I've been waiting for an appointment with a psychiatrist for me since October, but only 11 days to go. I have been working with a therapist for the last couple months, but you're right I do need something for depression and anxiety.

    Terry J, no there's no whining when he's at school or when we go to the library (so when he's around peers), but he only eats the foods he's decided are okay (chicken nuggets and fries or cheese pizza) in a restaurant.

    Thank you ladies for your suggestions and for taking the time to read my vent.