I wanted to write sooner but I've had my hands more than full over the last few days.
Thanks for your suggestions and perspectives regarding calorie counting.
I really love your suggestions regarding making my son feel more loved HopeNZ, I'm definitely going to follow them. If anything I am more concerned for him than I was before. He has started to copy some of my D's ED behavior. My H thinks that it's just to draw attention to himself because he feels that his sister is getting so much of that attention. We've tried to address it by giving him more attention, but I'm honestly not sure of what to make of it. All of a sudden out of the blue he started bursting into tears saying that he was fat (he is actually very thin) and saying that I'm feeding him too much.
Ironically enough, he was always my picky eater and it was always his eating that I was worried about. He's 9 years old now, but from the age of 3 he always had a super sweet tooth. He would always eat snacks and then not want to touch his dinner, or walk away from the table 10 times because he just wasn't interested in his dinner. So I would actually hide all sweets, cookies, or crackers from him because he would always fill up on those while I wasn't looking. However even when I did this I never had a ton of success in getting him to eat all of his dinner, he would always just nibble at it and then lose interest. But when he doesn't eat much of his dinner he still eats cereal, cheese or yogurt as the night progresses. Ironically enough this type of behavior hasn't stopped. He is constantly looking through the cupboards or fridge for a snack. But he never ever expressed any concern about body image or weight before my daughter's ED and now he's saying that he's fat. Has anyone experienced any sort of attention seeking behavior from siblings? I seriously hope that's all this is...
My in-laws are in town to help out and I'm very grateful for the help, but they're in their 80's and not always aware of what they say or do. On top of that, my mother-in-law has her own emotional limitations as we only found out when my D was diagnosed that she herself was actually hospitalized in her 30's for anorexia. On the one hand my D has a special place in her heart for her grandparents and that is a huge motivator. If they ask, she will do things for them that she won't do for anyone else and that has been very helpful. But on the other hand I find myself having to handle my mother-in-law's emotional needs and limitations on top of everything else. For example, my MIL has been making dinner in order to help out, which we're very grateful for. I usually serve my daughter the entire meal at the same time because I know that she won't accept "add-ons" half-way through the meal and it leads to a fight. On several occasions, half-way through the meal my MIL brought out a bowl of fruit salad for everyone to have afterwards. Well of course my D refused to have it. So after this happened a few times, I asked my MIL if she could just let me know when she makes fruit salad so I could give it to my D at the same time as the rest of the meal. Her response? "Well, you saw me chopping fruit this morning". Seriously?? So I said that I had not really paid too much attention and that my D needed all of the food presented at the same time and if she could let me know anyway. She just repeated herself again, saying that I had seen her chopping fruit that morning. And then she ran to the bedroom crying. I was so frustrated....so I left and went to the movie theater to see a movie on my own, I really needed a break from it all. But I basically realized that I have another person's emotional fragility to handle on top of everything and it's just too much. Taking care of my D in the state that she's in is hard enough. I thought about talking to my MIL about it, but experience tells me that's not going to help and my H agrees. He's never had much luck getting through to his own mom. So the only solution I can think of is to shorten my in-laws stay, and that's what I think will happen.
And now for how D is actually doing...although overall the trend is better there is very much a daily struggle. In terms of food, I've been diligently giving my D several fear foods and her total meltdowns are gradually being replaced by an initial refusal but gradual acceptance (without crying or screaming). Instead I'm just told that I'm "the worst", which I'm totally ok with. However there are moments that just break my heart. D has a cold right now, so she asked for cough drops and I bought her some. At the end of the day she suddenly looked at the bag of cough drops and realized that each cough drop has about 10 calories and started begging me to deduct those calories from her next snack. Of course I refused, and she sat there eating her snack sobbing about the "additional" calories that she'd had from the cough drops. I felt so sad, what kind of horrible voice inside is telling her to feel so bad about some cough drops??
I have also realized that she's really scared of growing up and of the physical changes that her body will be going through. It really feels like I'm playing a game of whack-a-mole, where as soon as we address one way in which the anxiety is presenting itself it pops up in a different way.
I apologize for rambling, it just feels like the ED morphs and spreads its tentacles everywhere it can!