November 09, 2009

Feeding The Furnace

Our life revolves around food now. Everyone's life revolves around it when the teenager's life does.

I call it... Feeding the Furnace.

He was in a foul mood last Wednesday. From the minute he got in the car from school until he went to bed, cranky cranky cranky. He's 14. It's going to happen... the mixture of self loathing, "Why can't I be like ?", and just all around unhappy with lifeness.

We've all been there.

I'd not go back.

I gritted my teeth through most of Wednesday, just listening to him vent, occasionally adding my two cents, never getting through.

Finally I said, "Are you hungry?"

He said, "Yes."

I replied, "Feed the furnace and let's move on..."

Shoveling the coal didn't help that much. He was still a crank, although a slightly lesser one.

Bothering him on that particular day was his lack of stature and how much he eats. At 5'1" and 100 pounds, he probably consumes over 3000 calories a day.

I'm not kidding.

The kid can put away the food.

And I guess his friends who are far bigger, eat far less, and like to tease him. He came by this all naturally. Both my father and his father had huge appetites and lean frames at this age. They both remain lean, but it's through curbing the intake as the furnace has required less fuel.

He was grousing about it in the car. The conversation went something like this:

Him: None of my friends eat like I do.

Me: None.

Him: None. I went to Peter's house the other night and his folks had ordered pizza. We were all eating and they had ordered a lot. They told me to eat as much as I wanted. I just kept eating after everyone was finished. I ate an ENTIRE pizza. Alone.

(Sidenote: Peter is a big football player freshman.)

Me: *blink* You ate an ENTIRE pizza? The whole thing?

Him: YES. YES. And they said it was OK. I ate a WHOLE pizza! And WHAT do I have to show for it? Look at me. I'm 5'1. But I have size 10 feet and big hands. Big deal.

And so it went. We had gone from food to self loathing to 'I'm short and hate it' to 'why am I so out of proportion?'. He's like a frickin' Clydesdale.

Saturday, we had a family baby shower to attend. The entire family was invited. He was less than enthusiastic. So finally on Saturday as I grabbed my keys to go, my husband already being there with Bones, I said, "Are you coming or not?"

He stood there, staring, and finally said, "Will they have food?"

"Yes," I replied. And with that he said, "Yes. Fine. I'll go."

That was the tipping point. Food = yes. He's all about eating.

Afterwards I dropped him off at a girl friend's house while he waited on a buddy to come get him to spend the night. This is a girl friend who is just a friend; one of his best friends since Kindergarten.

She is an only child.

They have only one girl and they kept my son through dinner.

I said to him today, 'Did you have enough to eat at Mr. and Mrs. C's house the other night?"

He nodded.

I continued, "Really? Were you full? I mean, they only have Caroline, were you hungry still? I can't imagine they were ready to feed an extra let alone feed YOU."

He grinned and said, "No, I was still hungry. But it would be rude to ask for more. I ate enough to function."

And that brings us to today. He didn't go to school today as he threw up last night and this morning. Throwing up means no school. I did stop by the school to pick up his double bass so he could practice.

Not having thrown up since 8AM and not having eaten all day by 4:00PM, he was STARVING.

He went with me to pick up his double bass..."Please, please, please, Mom," he begged, "McDonalds. Let me get a fish sandwich. Please!"

Me: That crap is so bad for you...

Him: Please. I'm starving.

Me: Seriously, bad for you... *I pulled into McDonalds*

Him: And an Oreo McFlurry!

Me *glaring*: No.

Him: come on... I'm really really hungry.

Me: One day you're going to be really really fat...

And so it went, he ate his fish sandwich, his oreo McFlurry, and he'll eat a full dinner.

The guys at work think he may have gotten sick from putting too much weird stuff in his stomach yesterday at the school picnic. He ate... from 1PM until 4PM. All.Day.Long.

Everytime I would see him, he'd be at some long table with a plate of food. He'd quietly give me a nod or a quick wave.

They may be right...

Posted by Boudicca at November 9, 2009 05:18 PM

That's how I used to make myself sick at his age. Eating weird combinations of food that may have been tasty at the time, but didn't set on the stomach well, especially at night.

Reminds me of the other night when my nephew JJ was begging for leftover chili. At 11:00 at night. Knowing the potential disaster that could create in an eight-year-old that late, I said no. He wasn't happy with me but, after remembering a barf-splattered experience I had around his age for making the same mistake, I stuck to my guns. So it's good to teach your kids that certain foods must not be eaten after a certain hour, and certain things don't mix.

Posted by: diamond dave at November 10, 2009 12:18 PM

Bou: I really think he is preparing to grow overnight in one big burst. And he may do it again! Some guys don't hit their full height until their mid-20's.

Our oldest son (20) complains about his height too, although at 5'8" I think he looks just fine. He works out, and is lean and muscular. His younger brother (15) is 6'1", and seems to still be growing. That is a little unnerving! I know it bothers our oldest son to have a "little brother" who is taller ... but what can you do about it? I don't think I can shrink him in the laundry!

Posted by: PeggyU at November 10, 2009 04:06 PM

I was skinny as a rail at his age. And I bet I ate more than he does. Seconds and thirds at holiday dinners. You should have seen me at an all you can eat buffet. They didn't make any money off of me. It lasted until I hit my late 20's. Alas, I can no longer eat that way.

Posted by: Denny at November 10, 2009 04:53 PM

Sigh...I miss eating like that.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at November 10, 2009 05:13 PM

It's like my husband's aunt says: "When you hit 40, it starts to hit back!"

Posted by: PeggyU at November 10, 2009 05:21 PM

The only real way to tell how much more he'll grow is if they do an X-ray of the bones - then they estimate based on size of the epiphysis. (aka - they make a decent guess. LOL.)

Most docs don't do that unless there is a medical reason. He could grow a few more inches and stop or he could have a large spurt late. (I knew a guy in college who grew 12 inches at the age of 18 - he had topped out at 4'8" in High School and was on the gymnastics team - no one recognized him when he went back to his reunion - heh). Anyway, it is what it is.

Both my kids ate like that (my daughter ate smaller quantities, but she did eat all day). My son tells me that he is now always hungry, but is afraid to eat like he did as a teen because he'd gain so much weight! So tell your son to eat up and enjoy the fact that he CAN eat this way. He'll get to the point where he can't and that isn't nearly as much fun. LOL.

Posted by: Teresa at November 11, 2009 01:24 PM