It’s been particularly nice to be at slop point and stay in one place for a while where we can keep a good routine as a family. As we travel and visit new, and old friends Isla’s anxiety rises. As their kitchens aren’t locked, unlike ours in our bus, so we have to keep a very close eye on her. If there’s lots of children Isla’s well distracted – most kids are understanding and have a quick lowdown on a few dose and don’ts, like please don’t snack in front of Isla between meals, or if you see her in the kitchen with any food to let us know.
Social meal times are another story, as anxiety heightens dramatically making dinners not as straight forward as we might like ! We find the most important thing to do – is basically never leave Isla alone in this situation! In our own space I normally plate our food up in the kitchen and then we eat at the table which makes it easier than a buffet stile dinner of seconds and picking over time. If I was to leave the room I’d dedicate someone to keep a general eye on Isla. I normally serve Isla a little plate of food first, this way we know exactly what, and how much she’s having, then try NOT to sit her in front of a table full of food! Isla always eyes up everyone’s plate, and discusses what there eating – she wants what they have, or more! often there’s an escalated moment of stress which will need defusing right away so as we can all continue with our meal! Then when we’ve all finished we clear the food away – out of sight – out of mind. Or if it’s a BBQ kind of dinner I’ll remove Isla from the dinning area until its all cleared away. Then despite the fun she might be having with her friends there’s the thoughts, and questioning right away of when the next meal might be?
I try and put myself in her place, and feel how heard it must be for her, so focused on one thing, and so anxious all the time. We hope by putting Isla in theses situations she’ll learn to understand how to manage them a little better herself as she grows older.