Nate has a difficult time controlling how much he eats. Like Robert Downey in Tropic Thunder, he gets excited about his foods, but it’s more than that. He’s constantly snacking and we are the worst enablers. Part of it goes back a long way, letting him “enjoy” his candy, popcorn, cookies, chips, because life could be hard for him. Part of it is avoiding fighting over how much he eats because, over time, there were bigger battles to have. Having less food in the house seems to be an impossible goal, like walking to Venus, and asking him to moderate his intake is met with screams and growls.
We watched The Hobbit last night, mercifully part 3 and the end of way too many hours invested in mediocrity. Nate set up with a bowl full of two bags of microwave popcorn and a bowl of candy. He shared with us, doling out handfuls of his horde rather than handing over a bowl. At one point, Karen took the white chocolate M & M’s (so very good) mainly to keep Nate from finishing them. Finishing is, in itself, a goal for him.
When the movie ended, Karen handed me the bowl, but I was slow on the drawer and Nate went for the reaming pieces. I pulled the bowl away, told him to stop eating and, in the tumult, a few M & M’s dropped to the floor. Nate scrambled to grab them and eat them as if he hadn’t had food in weeks. I got really pissed off at him.
“You’re out of control, fat and unhealthy,” I shouted, all true, none of it kind. As I walked out of the room I told him I was going to throw out all our candy, which I knew would get a reaction. It did. He was upset.
A lot of yelling ensued. I called him a “fat ass,” he told me to “stop nagging him.” We kept going back and forth on the matter, me trying to get my points across, him spouting nonsense and fury. Eventually things calmed down.
“Dad, tomorrow I’m going to eat carrots and apples for dinner. April Fool!”
“Dad, tomorrow I’m going to the fitness center. April Fool!”
By the time we went to sleep, I felt as if Nate had listened. I told him I wanted him to eat less and be healthier, that I loved him and that it was important to me that he feels better. This morning when he woke up, the first thing he said was “You called me a fat ass!” He was laughing about it, but hearing those words tossed back at me made me realize how needlessly cruel they were. I apologized, but we were cool.
During the afternoon, Nate called me from the other room. “Dad, I exercised today.”
“April Fool,” I said.
“No, no really, I exercised on the stepper.” Karen nodded her head.
It seemed like Nate ate less today. Even at dinner (Wednesday night is pizza night), he only had 3 slices, less than usual and less than me. Maybe we broke through something last night, a place that’s been impossible to get to.
Still, I feel pretty bad.