Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eating disorder

Porgie is such a big girl. She knows all of her colors and shapes. She knows some letters and numbers. She likes to pick out her own clothes. She eats water ice with a spoon. She bravely goes down the big slide at the park. Although she seems advanced for her age, I did not expect Porgie to become bulimic at the tender age of two.

My darling daughter has discovered the fine art of making herself vomit. She repeatedly gags herself while we are driving in the car. She seems to spontaneously vomit when she is upset. She will forcefully shove her fingers down her throat until she pukes if she doesn't like the food being offered at dinnertime.

Over the past two weeks, I have watched her vomit no less than 7 times. And every time I witness one of these events, I feel my blood boil. I get angry. Very angry. When she first started gagging herself, I would say, "NO!" in a stern voice, and she would stop. But that tactic stopped working after a few days. Then I started distracting her with promises of going outside. But that tactic stopped working after a few days too.

According to parents on various message boards, I should be ignoring her behavior. But that is the hardest advice in the world to follow. When I watch her gagging herself I know that a few things are going to happen - 1) I am going to have to clean vomit off of the floor. 2) I am going to have to clean vomit off of Porgie. 3) I will have to send my daughter to bed without eating dinner AGAIN. And have I mentioned that it makes my blood boil? It is very difficult to stay clam, when your BLOOD IS BOILING.

So, any advice? Is my child the only one with this annoying habit?

36 comments:

Midwest Mommy said...

Huh, sorry I have no clue. I am curious what others who have experienced this have to say. I have cleaning up puke so I feel so sorry for you.

Melissa said...

My younger one (now almost 9) did this for about a week at around 18 mos. He'd just stick his hand in his mouth and YAK! And then the behavior stopped.

My best guess is he was trying to figure out how this whole body thing worked, and this was one way to do it. He's still the very inquisitive type today. But this doesn't sound the same. It sounds like a tantrum variant. So how do you handle her tantrums? Maybe that's where you should start.

Hope this helps. Hang in there!

Timi said...

That really sounds like no fun at all. My guess is that the message board people are right and you should just ignore it like lots of other behaviors. It probably doesn't stem from the same causes of bulimia in older kids. But I would also suggest running it by your doctor. Good luck.

Becca said...

Do you ever watch Jon and Kate plus 8?? One of their girls does the exact same thing...especially if she gets mad and doesn't want the mom to leave. I wonder if you should say something to her doctor about it??

dani said...

i googled it, christy, and i found the same information as you did. i had never heard of a toddler doing it.
i know there's something that you can put on a child's thumb to get them to stop thumb sucking, i wonder if the same thing would work for stoppin porgie from putting her fingers in her mouth???
i'm with you, though, it would totally make me angry as hell to clean up vomit on a regular basis from a WELL child...
was the target incident the first time she did it???
good luck...
love,
dani

Kaknu said...

I'm with timi. I don't think it's actually the same as poor self-image bulimia. I hate to use the cliché, it's probably just a phase. It actually sounds like she's seeking attention. I say that because the promises of going outside stopped it. I would talk to a doctor about it.

Mary said...

I have no advice at all for you, but ignoring it just doesn't seem possible. Hopefully it will pass soon. Good luck.

Z's Mom said...

Oh, I'm so sorry she's doing this. I'm sorry I have no advice for you. I do think this is a phase some kids go through, although I know saying that doesn't help anything. I hope she stops doing this soon....they would be a little scary and yes, enough to make your blood boil.

moo said...

wow, I have no advice. But many hugs to you.

I'd also go with the "ignore" it idea, but GOD I would be PISSED if I had to clean up vomit too.

ok, maybe one bit of assvice. When Gray gets frustrated, I "give him words" ... so I say, "you're really frustrated about ____ huh?! I know; mama would be frustrated too! Let's _____ and see if we can feel better."

So to apply to eating, you can say (when you see the hand snaking toward the mouth) "oh, you don't want that? OK. Mama will take it away. You let me know when you want to eat." and let P get down from the table.

Heather @ A Boy, A Girl, A Pug said...

You defintiely don't have the only little girl to do this.

Last year when I was teaching 2 year olds I had a little girl that did this every time her mom left her. EVERY TIME!

I know she did it for attention and they say to ignore it, however that is a hard thing to ignore! I never could and neither could her mom. We just told her mom to leave and that we would deal with it.

Once mom was gone she did better.

Good thing I'm not afraid of other kids vomit! Let me know if you need me to come over and clean up Porgie:)

I don't know if this helped you or not, but at least you know that Porgie is NOT the only little gal doing it.

amanda said...

oh no friend.

wish i had some wise words.

but puke. not fun.

hope the "phase" goes away very soon!! for you and porgies sake!!

Amanda said...

Poor you! I hate cleaning up vomit. Common sense tells you that you should just clean her up and ignore her. But in reality, it's a whole different story. Good Luck Christy!

TEACHBROECK said...

I saw this on John and Kate plus 8 as well...they tried to stop her in action I believe..like IF YOU DO IT ...you don't get this...she was older thought easier to reason with...good luck wish I was a better help!

Eva said...

She'll get over it soon enough, I'm sure.

In the meantime, like I suggested, try leaving the room and bribing her with candy if she doesn't vomit.

Dana said...

OH NO... not good... no one likes vomit.. I hope she stops soon...

Rachel said...

Well when Max does not like food-he starts to gag and then he wipes his tongue and then he gags again but does not vomit. Maybe try giving her foods that she likes and keep it simple for a while.

Maybe give her something to play with in the car to distract her.

I wish I could offer some real advice but for this I have nothing.

As for you-well try and take a breath. I know the blood boil feeling.

HUGS

Jeninacide said...

Yuck! Kids are so WEIRD sometimes! I have definitely heard of kids doing similar things- so I don't think it is probably anything permanent. I would definitely call the doctor or on-call nurse however and ask them if they have any advice... Sorry about the PUKE!

Jennifer said...

Definitely a phase with my now 6 year old stepson. When he was 4, he would do the EXACT same thing. He'd gag himself if he didn't want to eat something. One of the pediatricians I work with says it's probably a phase if your child is otherwise healthy; however if it keeps on and concerns you to go see your pediatrician. It is SO HARD to not get mad. Well, what am I saying? I always got mad too. I once made him help clean it up...but he was 4. :( Good luck!

Marni's Organized Mess said...

A friend of mine went through this. She said her husband made him sit in it for a while because he was a CLEAN freak. She was PISSED. But it turned out, he never did it again.

Steph said...

Our little one will still pull this shit and I like you, get livid. It makes me want to rip my hair out. He does it when he just is done eating and wants down. Pisses me right off. We have learned to know when he is going to do it and can usually get him not to. But just two weeks ago, he did it and I almost went ape shit. As he is getting older, it isn't happening as much, but for awhile there, it was ALL THE TIME!!!! And who likes to clean puke just because their kid is being stubborn??? Not me.

Good luck my dear. I hope she grows out of it soon.

iMommy said...

If you have a pediatrician that you can trust, I'd definitely bring it to him/her.

Meanwhile, some of the other re-direct/ignoring/bribing things sound like they might work. Pick what you think will work best with Porgie and stick with it for at least a week... if you aren't seeing any improvement maybe reconsider and try another tactic?

anymommy said...

Ack! My daughter just started doing this to. She just turned three. She does it when she's mad, she screams until she gags and vomits. I know it exactly what you mean. My blood boils too, it comes out my ears I swear. Fortunately, I have warning (the hideous howling screams), so I've started just sticking her in the shower. I put her in there and igore her then I hose her down and put her back with the family like nothing happened. It does nothing for my boiling blood, but at least the mess is reduced. I have no idea what I'll do if she pulls this crapola at school next week. Rip more hair out?

Constance the 14,000th said...

oh i am so sorry. that is horrible for a mother to have to watch.

i have no advice, except around here, we use timeouts for repeated bad behavior.

or maybe make her clean it up?

anymommy said...

Um, I mean my own hair. I do not rip my daughter's hair out, internet, I swear.

Jenn said...

I'm sorry you are dealing with this..yuck..poor you! I know one of Jon&Kate's girls did that too , I forget how she said it finally stopped though. I don't know if it might say on that website or not since I have never went to look at it,but it wouldn't hurt to look.

Jamie said...

Wow, I've heard of this one, but can't tell you what to do about it. I agree, ignoring it is crazy advice (how exactly do you ignore VOMIT)??!! I'm unsure of her age, but would a consequence work? For example, if she gags herself she will not be allowed to play with a favorite toy.

Just an idea.

Jamie

Insta-mom said...

I don't have any advice because I have four boys who rarely turn down anything on a plate in front of them, much less voluntarily return food.

I can tell you, though, that my mother-in-law used to hold her breath until she passed out (not since I've known her of course, but when she was about 15-18 months). Much cleaner, but equally worrying.

Wish I had more to offer.

Mama Kalila said...

No new advice but wanted to let ya know I feel for ya. Hopefully one of those suggestions will help.

Lainey-Paney said...

Oh my gosh.
I have no idea, but I'm sure that just is horrible to watch, and I'm sure it makes you worry & I understand the getting angry part too. Oh, bless your heart!

chris said...

Wow. Sorry to hear about that problem. I hope it resolves itself soon.

Sugar and Ice said...

When I worked in a pre-school there was a kid that only ate junk food...period. If we tried to make him eat anything remotely healthy for lunch he would gag himself and vomit. His was definitely done because he knew if he vomited then he wouldn't have to eat.

Anyway, that would bother me tremendously as well. If it were me, I'd probably call the doctor and see if they thought it was necessary to bring her in. You could probably get an answer over the phone though, as I'm sure it's something they see more often than you'd think.

The Woman said...

oh no, i have no advice but I hope she stops.

Bon said...

oh, Christy, that's yucky all around. i don't have anything helpful to offer except that, yep, it sounds like a form of tantruming, of exerting control...i wish you luck in redirecting and hope it ends soon.

Nellie said...

I think our daughters are strangely like distant twins. It started with "cullies" and now this! Ellie does the same thing... or I should say she is experimenting with this gagging thing right now. She jams her entire fist in her mouth! Repeatedly. Each time gagging. She has yet to puke. The first time she does it I will hardly be able to ignore it! More likely she'll get a time out.

Danielle said...

Not fun! I think it is hard to ignore since you have to clean it up- yet it is sitll probably the best route. Let us know how it goes.

jen said...

my oldest went through this same "phase". argh. it is annoying and bothersome and worrying!
it happened for about two weeks or so...for no apparent reason. then she just kinda stopped. i have NO IDEA what i did to initiate that.
but i'm glad it's over.
like others have said...i think the reacting to it...made it increase in frequency. stopping it and redirecting before it happened helped. here's to hoping it stops...quickly.