Food has become the focus at our house. Food for Bo. Food for the cats. Food for Emma. More food for Emma. And dessert, dessert, dessert.
Bo would happily eat nothing much more than ice cream and sweets. Emma will eat ANYTHING anytime of day. The cats are a story by themselves.
At five o’clock tonight, Bo ate a sandwich and grapes after eating nothing all day except a bowl of oatmeal and a couple of fruitcake snacks. He was tired from working in the yard and taking a walk with Emma and me so he ate, then he took a nap.
Two hours later, forgetting about the sandwich, he sat down to a big dinner: salmon, baked sweet potato filled with butter and brown sugar, corn, pears and then ……a hot fudge brownie sundae, more fruitcake and some Halloween candy.
Last week I came down in the morning to find he had left a treat for the cats: a bowl of orange marmalade and a pretzel stick. Luckily, I found it before Emma dog did.
One morning this week there were three dishes of food on the kitchen floor: grapes, broken Snickers bars and lemon cake.
You see, some nights Charlie cat sits at the bottom of the stairs and howls his tom-cat howl to go out. If Bo hears him and gets up, he feeds both cats too. Usually, Emma stays upstairs in bed.
Emma, of course, has gained 25 pounds since we adopted her. It’s partly her new-found health, but it’s also the many treats she gets from Bo when I’m not around. She’s learned to beg; knows the sound of the cellophane paper on cheese slices; the freezer drawer where there’s ice cream; the cabinet where we keep snacks.
Bo, on the other hand, has lost so much weight that he has no body fat at all. Most days he only eats two meals because he sleeps so late that he misses breakfast (or eats breakfast and misses lunch.) It’s not unusual for him to get up at noon – even as late as 2:30 when I’ve actually made him get up. My challenge is to figure out how to make sure he eats although he says he’s not hungry. A half sandwich or bowl of soup is all he’ll eat.
Most mornings I get out early to do errands so I leave hot coffee and cereal he can eat for breakfast (if he gets up), but I’ve learned that leaving Cheerios doesn’t mean he will get a decent meal because he forgets to put milk on them, even if I have a pitcher of milk beside the bowl. I don’t do any better with breakfast bars or sandwiches.
Bo is so child-like now, about so many things, but mostly about food. He will come obediently when I call him, then ask if he can sit at the table. I can no longer ask him to fix his own ice water because he forgets what he’s doing in mid-task. He plays with his food, moving it around on the plate, looking around, saying he’s not hungry, or he’s so tired that he stops eating and I find him either staring into space or his head drooping over his plate, then I remind him to continue to eat.
I try to always give him a dinner that he enjoys because in the end, he usually cleans his plate if I wait long enough, and no matter how often he says he’s not hungry, when I remove his plate, he always wants dessert. A couple bowls of ice cream plus cake or pie or other sweets are what he really loves.
Early this morning I awoke to intercede before Emma ate a bowl of Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel caramel sauce. I’m afraid she’s figuring out the night feeding thing. I wonder what I’ll find tomorrow.