Beauty and the Beast

Houston, we have a problem. I might’ve mentioned recently, the Hope has started sneaking food again, but I probably didn’t mention that she has generally stopped eating lunch. She’s stopped eating lunch at lunch, but still wants me to pack her a lunch. Usually, Hope will wait to pick through her lunch at home in the evenings and snarf the bits she likes and leave the bits that she doesn’t.

It drives me nuts for so many reasons. I get up early to pack lunches that often don’t get eaten. I buy snacks that last only about half the time they are supposed to, and I find food wrappers all over the place because despite my constant exhortations, Hope leaves wrappers strewn about and/or stuffed in her clothing and desk drawers.

This thing of Hope’s—the sneaking, hoarding and lack of cleanliness—seems to be a mixture of food security issues and teenage junk food cravings and nastiness.

Hope is my lovely Beauty in this story.

Yappy is the beast.

Our lovely little terrier mix is a hunter-gatherer. He has an absurdly strong nose and can root out possible food treats like we’ve been starving him and he’s about to have his Last Supper with the Holy Homeboy. Typically we ban Yappy from entering Hope’s room because of his hunting/gathering desires. One of personal highlights is when Hope leaves the door open to her room; he has that rare opportunity to hunt for treasure.

I bet you can see where this story is going…

Recently, I found chunks of a three day old chicken sandwich under my bed. Yappy had sought out the food from Hope’s open lunch box on her floor, dragged it to my room, dispatched with the cling wrap and tried to devour the old sandwich. Of course it made him sick.

Just awesome.

I found these lovely presents under my bed (aka Yappy’s Lair) while fishing him out to put him in his crate for the night.

Me: Hope did you put a sandwich in your trash can?

Hope: No.

Me: Did you put food wrappers in your trash can? (She’s not allowed because of the risk of bugs and because Yappy roots through her trash).

Hope: Nope.

Sigh.

I clean the mess under the bed.

I open the door to Hope’s room. I find the remnants of last week’s lunch and wrappers. Oh and the trash is full of wrappers.

Sigh.

Me: Hope, there are wrappers in the trash and all over the floor.

Hope: Oh, I forgot.

Me: Hope, your lunch from last week is strewn about the floor.

Hope: Bad Dog.

Me: Bad Hope and bad dog. You lied and you left food out.

Hope: (not meaning it) Sorry.

We have worked on the food stuff in therapy. We have had brief periods of dormancy. I have tried calm responses. I have tried outrage. I have given consequences, I have pitched fits, I have taken to just cleaning her room myself on a regular basis because it seems she can’t or won’t. I have even tried banning food in the room, but she always finds a way—I think she gets up at night to sneak food. I’m wondering if I’m going to have to move all the snack food to my closet so they are inaccessible. But that doesn’t solve the messiness or the Beast’s treasure hunts.

I’m not sure what else to do. The next stop seems to be full on food poisoning leading to a vet visit along with an infestation of pests.

I really need a vacation.

Suggestions [not for the vacation; for the Beauty and the Beast problem]?????

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2016. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

10 responses to “Beauty and the Beast

  • DeCaf

    I read an article from a former foster child (I really wish I could find the link for you) that recommended parents should give the child a clear rubbermaid container to keep whatever food they want in their room (to deal with the pest-control issues), and just to go through it and throw out what’s rotting with the kid’s permission.

  • Belladonna Took

    Here’s another wonderful blog about a family that’s adopted several (as in seven or eight) kids, all with problems of one sort or another. I know she’s written about food hoarding … I think she also mentioned the plastic bin idea.
    http://backwoodsmom.com/

  • rknoyce

    It sounds to me like this is as much a dog problem as a Hope problem… right? I mean, it’s both! Is it possible to work on training Yappy that he is never, ever allowed in Hope’s room? Dogs are pretty good at learning and adhering to that kind of boundary so long as it is 100% consistent. (Ie you can’t ever let him into Hope’s room even a little bit. Once his nose is too close to temptation it’s over, and if you let him in sometimes he will be confused about it and try to come in other times too.)

    Or, easier – as a short or long term or long term dog solution – put up a baby gate in Hope’s doorway. From what you’ve posted Yappy is a small dog and shouldn’t be able to jump over it… it will be a nuisance for you and Hope to step over it every time you go in or out of her room, but it sounds like it might be worth it! And if Yappy’s behavior isn’t escalating the situation it might give you some more breathing space and time to work on Hope’s food hoarding problems with her.

  • rknoyce

    It sounds to me like this is as much a dog problem as a Hope problem… right? I mean, it’s both! Is it possible to work on training Yappy that he is never, ever allowed in Hope’s room? Dogs are pretty good at learning and adhering to that kind of boundary so long as it is 100% consistent. (Ie you can’t ever let him into Hope’s room even a little bit. Once his nose is too close to temptation it’s over, and if you let him in sometimes he will be confused about it and try to come in other times too.)

    Or, easier – as a short or long term or long term dog solution – put up a baby gate in Hope’s doorway. From what you’ve posted Yappy is a small dog and shouldn’t be able to jump over it… it will be a nuisance for you and Hope to step over it every time you go in or out of her room, but it sounds like it might be worth it! And if Yappy’s behavior isn’t escalating the situation it might give you some more breathing space and time to work on Hope’s food hoarding problems with her.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      This is a good idea, one that we’ve tried. The concern is that Yappy is already quite attached to me and full on prevention of entering Hope’s room only reinforces his preference/attachment. This is a very big source of stress in the house because Hope desperately wants Yappy to “want” her. There’s some trauma associated with that whole bit as well. So, actually times that Yappy goes in her room with her are total wins for her. It’s a challenge for sure since Yappy then wants to go rummaging in her room.

      Oh, and he’s climbed every baby gate, doggy play pen we’ve had–including the one with vertical bars instead of the crisscross ones. He’s a dog burglar!

      • Beth

        given that, is there any chance that part of her carelessness with her food is related, consciously or not, with wanting Yappy to come into her room and forage? I can’t think of a better way to make a room enticing to a dog than to scatter leftover sandwiches about.

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