Calm down, Goo! I'm getting your bottle right now. For the love of God, calm down! Image via Wikipedia
As I’ve mentioned before, Goo wasn’t just a picky eater. She was a non eater. The child literally hated eating. She still kind of does, unless it’s pretzels or goldfish or one of the forbidden foods. Short of literally prying her mouth open and shoving the food down her throat, I couldn’t get her to eat. And since that seems just a tad over the line of abuse, I never went for that option. I chose these handy, but completely ineffective, methods:
- “Disguising” food
- Strong sedatives (for me, not her)
- Beating my head against the wall
- Giving up completely and researching whether you could have a feeding tube put in on request
Smush is now on the same path. Both she and Goo were anemic at their last check ups. So let me introduce you to the new sheriff in town. No more nice Mommy. You eat, or you lose. End of story. Because the bottom line is, I’m the Mom. They’re 3 and 1, and I’m 28. I win. Now, figuring how to win was a whole different story.
Goo’s problem was that she was addicted to the bottle. And I mean addicted. The DSM-IV (that’s a big fancy book used by the American Psychiatric Association – and something I read in college), discusses the following, among other symptoms, as characteristics for clinical addiction:
- Tolerance – requiring more to get the same effect
- Withdrawal – experience physical or emotional symptoms when the substance has been used
- Affecting personal relationships
- Disregard for consequences
- Spending significant time or emotional energy trying to obtain the substance
Umm, is there a Milkaholics Anonymous? Because during months 9 – 13, Goo was most definitely addicted. She required more and more bottles to stay satisfied (tolerance). When she didn’t get the bottle, she sort of resembled an eruption at Mt. Vesuvius (withdrawal). We had more bad days than good days, and I was borderline calling the hospital to see if they had a return policy (personal relationships). In fits of rage, she would scream, flail, throw things off the high chair tray, and threaten with deadly weapons (consequences schmonsequences). And she most definitely put almost all her energy into making my life a living hades in an attempt to get her drug of choice. Namely, lactose.
I did what every loving mother would do: I had an intervention. Because I came home one day when the Nerd called to tell me that something was wrong. She had been screaming inconsolably and he thought we might need to go to the hospital. She was writhing in pain, and there was nothing he could do. I came in and figured out what her ailment was: her bottle of milk was on the top of the book case, and she couldn’t reach it.
Original image from aetv.com.
I kid you not. We both seriously thought there was something very, very wrong with our baby. The Nerd was almost in tears with worry. That was our little Goo’s last day with the bottle. Sorry, kid, but they don’t make a patch for quitting the (milk) bottle, so it was cold turkey. We took it away and never gave it back.
She had about 24 hours of withdrawal. Refusing to eat, screaming, crying, all-out wars at nap time or bed time. And then it just … stopped. She gave up the fight. She accepted a normal amount of liquid in a sippy cup, and surrendered. She started eating more. And more. And more. Because once she knew that I wasn’t enabling her anymore, she gave in and just ate the food.
She’s still a picky eater, but at least now she’s not a non eater. Picky I can deal with. I have several tricks up my sleeve for that scenario.
So, my sweet Smush, consider yourself warned. I am well seasoned in the fight against the bottle. You will eat, little love. And someday, maybe you’ll even like it.