Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Merons meltdown Monday Feb 12

This was the worst day with the kids by several light years. Meron was just out of control. A crazy violent kid. She was throwing everything she could get her hands on, slapping and punching us, tipping furniture over, stripped off all her clothes, and screaming so forcefully I though she would burst her arteries. It was downright frightening. We could not reason with her because of the language barrier and we could not strike her because, well, we just don't do that. Basically we just restrained her when we thought she might hurt herself or somebody and we let her scream herself out. I'll tell you, the kid has endurance.

We seriously wondered whether this timid little child had been medicated at the orphanage and nobody told us.

While Meron napped, we replayed the days tapes to figure out what was happening. We discovered the pattern revolved around food. For example, we gave her a serving of eggs rather than the entire skillet full of eggs snd that set her off. We gave her a half banana to share with her sister rather than a whole banana and that set her off. She saw a box of pancake mix and we did not make pancakes, and that set her off.

It occurred to us that Meron is still in survival mode. She does not realize that food is plentiful and she views every feeding as a need to gorge because she does not know when she will eat again. There were probably few days when Meron ate three meals. When she arrived at the orphanage, she was seriously undernourished. Even now, after three months of good feeding at Horizon House, Meron is in the 3rd percentile of weight for her age.

On Tuesday morning, shortly after she woke, we took Meron through the kitchen and opened all the cabinet doors. We showed her all the food, counted the eggs, counted the bananas, counted the bread. I could feel her relaxing in my arms as we proceeded with this exercise.

Then we took several small plastic bowls; filled then with a variety of stuff like cheerios, graham crackers, popcorn, raisins; and left them on the coffee table for the entire day. We did this to demonstrate to Meron that there is plenty of food within her reach and she can have it any time she wants. No more meltdowns.

One cute thing the girls do is ask for a banana every morning after breakfast. They don't eat it. They just carry it around as insurance against hunger.

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