F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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hopeinChrist
My sweet S is doing well but not fully weight restored.  We are still in phase 1 of FBT.  We are approaching his first birthday with ED.  I’m wondering how to offer dessert?  If I offer it?  I want it to be a good day and honestly dessert has been hard so far so I almost don’t want to have any to make for a happier birthday.  I guess if you have any suggestions or stories on how did your S or D do on their bday with dessert?  
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ValentinaGermania
I would do a reduced version of all former birthdays but I would not give in to ED and serve no deserts. So if there ALWAYS was a birthday cake for example then I would serve one and give him a small slice for afternoon snack. It is normal to have cake at the birthday so he will have one.
If there was ALWAYS a pinata for birthday I would hag up one. You can serve some snacks out of it for afternoon snack in the next days. You can also put some small non food items in there.

My ds 17th birthday before diagnose and IP was horrible. She did not want to see any friends, she did not want to have cake, she did not want to have presents. We made 2 friends come around "by incident" and she did not send them away. We had cake although she did not want to eat any and one of her friends made her eat a small slice. We gave her only one present but we did not give in to ED.

Next birtday 4 months after WR was nearly normal. We had cake, presents (still a smaller amount as usual) and she even went out for pizza with her friends in the evening.

Try to make it an "as much normal as possible" birthday. Your S wants to celebrate his birthday. It is ED that does not want that and we should not give in to ED...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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hopeinChrist

Thank you ValentinaGermania!  I could not agree more!  I think that is what I planned to do, but a part of me was needing validation that I wasn’t being cruel to serve the dreaded “sweets” on his birthday.  I know you are right though that he does wish to be celebrated, just the ED is the culprit.  

Your daughter sounds like she is doing good ~ so wonderful to hear!!  

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Enn
My turned 12 one month after diagnosis. She truly was scared of the birthday cake eating.
she felt she had to have it and was very anxious. What we did was buy cupcakes and d did eat it. She felt quite guilty after that and we were not allowed to talk about it. That came from her. She felt uncomfortable with us being too effusive in our ‘ happy birthdays’. 

She got the new cell phone she wanted but really had a hard time hugging and thanking us. That was ok. She did write the family a thank you card. It  said that she was thankful and that she felt she did not deserve it because she was angry all the time. That was so sad. She rebuffed us a bit but that was her own sadness.  I have kept that note. 
We kept it calm and had no expectations. If she had not had the cupcake that it was still  going to be fine. I told her to have what she could, and had back up food in case. 
Take the cues from your son. They may not be able to handle the exuberance right now and it will come over time. But plan for a nice meal and cake and some presents and see..
all the best 
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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ValentinaGermania

Thank you ValentinaGermania!  I could not agree more!  I think that is what I planned to do, but a part of me was needing validation that I wasn’t being cruel to serve the dreaded “sweets” on his birthday.  I know you are right though that he does wish to be celebrated, just the ED is the culprit.  

Your daughter sounds like she is doing good ~ so wonderful to hear!!  



Remember - you are not cruel to your son - it is not cruel to serve a birthday cake, it would actually be cruel NOT to do it. You are maybe cruel to ED but hey, ED is not your friend.
We have a say here: be not afraid of what ED is afraid of. You son might say that he does not want a birthday cake but he might want the exact opposite. My d often spoke in that special ED language. If she wanted to eat fries she would have said: "I hope you will not make me eat fries for fear food day next week. Iwill not eat them". That was her way of telling me that SHE desperately wanted to have fries next sunday - and I loved to serve them.

Please give us an update how it went! We are with you in spirit.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Enn
When is the birthday? You mention he has not yet had much in the way of desserts and they have been hard so far. If you have enough time, I wonder if you could  try a few desserts similar to what you would serve on the birthday so that it is not the first time he has it. It may make it easier for him which in turn would make it easier for you.   Then it may not be such a challenge and worry.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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deenl
Hi hopeinChrist,

My son celebrated his 13 birthday about a month or so into the process. It's all a bit of a blurr but as far as I remember he had a day home the day before or after and we just treated it as a normal day foodwise. He did not want to celebrate it at all on the day. At Christmas, a few months later, we took the focus off food. I still cooked Christmas dinner but we ate it at the normal time and ate mince pies at the normal snack time and pudding at the normal dessert time. Same for Halloween inbetween birthday and Christmas, we just served Halloween sweets at snack time.

I think there are probably parents who have served birthday cake and it has gone well but in some cases not; parents who have not served cake and been glad and some who regretted it. As with so many issues in the treatment of EDs it is weighing up the priorities and choosing what fits best with you. Some of the factors I think would impact the decision are the child's current health, how far into the process you are, whether fear foods have been introduced or not, your child's reaction to fear foods, what your professional team are recommending, whether you think getting calories in or introducing fear foods / normality / flexibility are the most important at this moment of recovery and how strong you are feeling.  In our case when we were so early in the process and with a son who only ate safe foods, we did  not push it. You know your priorities and your child best and will make the best decision for you.

Best of luck whatever you choose,

D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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Pandamom
Hi hopeinChrist, my daughter just had her birthday several weeks ago. Ahead of the date, I asked her if something from Edible Arrangement was okay. Surprisingly, she loves the idea. I'm not sure if you have heard of Edible Arrangements. It is a company that make chocolate dipped fruit. We ordered a birthday box with 6 chocolate dipped banana and pineapple. We are a family of 4 people. One of the fruit even have a tiny candle that you can light up like a bday cake. For my daughter, this is something "healthier" and smaller than the cake. It's all in her perception. And it still fits in the sweet critieria. 

My bday is coming up. I asked if it's okay that she share a piece of cake with me. I am planning to get a small red velvet bundt cake with strawberry frosting. Yum! She agrees to have two bites. 

Wish him a happy birthday!
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sandie
I agree it is very individual and there are some great ideas already given. My D was very ill for her 15th birthday 3 months after diagnosis- screamed for 9 hours and ate nothing till 10pm. Fast forward 5 months to my birthday in July and she had her very first piece of cake - a normal sized slice and definitely enjoyed it.  We have not managed cake since—— yet..............funny she can manage chocolate and sweets now. 
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
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PurpleRain
You've received great advice so far and I totally agreed with deenl that every family would find what's best in their case. I actually I posted and update a few days ago that included birthdays (my ED daughter's and mine, and her cousin's, all in a month's time). My d was 3 months WR by the time her birthday came, she didn't want to do anything to celebrate. She was already eating almost everything with some push backs sometimes. We did our usuall birthday routine on the day (cupcake or similar first thing in the morning while singing happy birthday) she ate must of it, little brother helped. I organized activity (theme park) with cousins (we eat with them every week so I was confident she would be reasonably comfortable with the situation) and best friend. We ended up eating at Jhonny rockets. She was the only one who didn't order hamburger (but did order milkshake and drank it), I did not push hard but requested that she had a few bites from mine. No cake at that point but next day with my family we had dinner and small cake and she had some. My birthday was easier (she wasn't the focus) and she had some cake. Her cousin's  was complicated (too many people, I did push a bit about food) she didn't have cake (she didn't like that flavor even before ED) but ended up being a good experience and the first unsupervised sleep over. It's been exposure therapy for ME, the significant days, the more experienced I become and the more relaxed and I guess she feels that or maybe it's just time being WR and handles it better. I am bracing myself for Christmas but I am a little less apprehensive than even a few days ago.
Best of luck with your S's birthday, I wish you both can enjoy it even a little bit.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
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Foodsupport_AUS
My D had her first ED related birthday around 4 months after diagnosis. She was hospitalised for medical instability at the time, around one week from discharge. I arranged a few of her friends and for her to see a movie. Popcorn and drinks were offered as was cake. I did not expect D to eat any of it but she could. She tried some popcorn only. What she did have to eat was her usual food as per hospital dietitian - at the time it was approx 4000 cal per day. The goal was to give her some joy and normality on her birthday rather than a hospital ward. She was only allowed out for 4 hours. It was in fact her last birthday party - the last 8 birthdays she has declined to have one. She does go out and celebrate with her friends, and of course there is cake!
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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evamusby_UK
I love Deenl's analysis of the pros and cons. Different answers for different times.... This is very relevant to Christmas, of course. I remember a Christmas where we brought my daughter her usual kind of lunch and snack while everyone else ate Christmas food and did a great job of not commenting. We had discussed it ahead of time with her. 'Normal' came later and that was OK. 

But it is true that sometimes we get a hint that our kids long for a particular party food, and so this is a great time to prepare them for it.

Hope it ends up being a lovely birthday!
Eva Musby, mother, author, produces lots of resources for parents at https://anorexiafamily.com and on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/EvaMusby/playlists
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