I know I posted about Pumpkin's food issues not too long after she came into our care. However, they keep getting more puzzling and more puzzling. Again, I'd love some advice!
Some history...Pumpkin ate almost everything offered to her for the first 2-3 weeks she was in our care. She used silverware and would feed herself. I was pleasantly surprised.
As time went on, Pumpkin started feeding herself less. Instead of eating, she would simply sit at the table and stare. She never complained. She never asked to get down. She just sat there. My first approach to this problem was to feed her myself. From there (about a month later) I progressed to telling her to "take a bite". Often this would get her started eating and she would feed herself. A little slow. But she'd feed herself. I would simply remind her a few times during the meal to "take a bite".
Pumpkin has been with us for over 3 months now. The food issues seem to just keep getting more complicated. I'm not sure what to do.
If the food in question is a pre-packaged processed meal (ie: Lunchable, spaghetti from a can, etc.) by and large Pumpkin will feed herself. Not only that, she'll eat it in the same amount of time as her peers. And you should see the girl put away ice cream. She knows how to eat. And she can do it just like her peers.
However, she no longer feeds herself breakfast. I'm tired of telling her to "take a bite" over and over and over. Unless I tell her to "take a bite" she just sits at the table. I don't really have time (I don't make time??!) to spoon-feed her breakfast during the school week. She is fully capable of feeding herself. She ate breakfast on her own for many, many weeks after she came into care. But now, she has pretty much stopped. On the weekends she sits at the table with her bowl of cereal slowly eating by herself. It takes her almost an hour, but I do make sure she eats.
For supper, if the food in question is homemade (which is largely what I serve) she just doesn't eat. She sits at the table and stares. She doesn't complain. She doesn't ask to get down. She just sits. It's gotten to the point where telling her to "take a bite" has little effect. Yes, she'll eat it if I spoon-feed her. But is that necessary?!
Taking into consideration that the food I prepare is different from what she's grown up on, I realize it could take some getting used to on her part. But she's rejecting the most simple of foods. Tonight I served apple slices and a hot deli meat sandwich. She didn't take a single bite the entire time the family was at the table together. After we cleared everything (but her stuff) away from the table and left her alone, she started eating. It took her over an hour to eat 1/3 of an apple and part of a small sandwich.
Just let her sit there and she'll eat if she wants to?
Continue to tell her to "take a bite" and still leave the actual feeding of herself in her control?
Offer her a different meal from the rest of the family so that she will eat by herself? (For the most part she doesn't eat bread so I can't go with the standard PB&J that we established in our food rules before. It would have to be something out of a can.)
I welcome all thoughts on the subject. To the best of my knowledge Pumpkin was never abused by having food withheld from her. Her mother has a drinking problem and a lot of Pumpkin's care was provided by older siblings. Pumpkin came into care when she was found wandering the streets. But other than the fact that her mom took her off the anti-seizure medicine, Pumpkin looks and acts like she was well cared for overall. She is of average height and weight. I don't think her food issues are that of a typical foster child situation. But then again - I don't know. I just don't know.