"Did you put just one tablespoon of oil into the bolognaise sauce? Because it's normal minced beef, not lean mince?"
Now, as we eating disorder parents know, the obvious response to this anxiety-fuelled question would be: "Yes, don't worry, just one tablespoon and I've also drained off all the fat" or something like that...
"I've just put in what I normally put in", I said. Matter closed. Take that, anorexia...
But - ouch! - I then find myself adding, "Anyway it's not 'normal' mince, it's lean mince" aware that Ben had been subtly avoiding eating this particular packet of mince for some time... ("We've had so much meat recently, mum, it's not healthy to eat meat all the time" and "I was wanting to save that for a chillli at some point", etc etc etc.)
Shame on you, Batty, you know you're appeasing the ED by saying things like this. What did the Queen Mother say? "Never feel you have to justify what you do or explain yourself" (or something along those lines at any rate). And this has never been truer than with anorexia nervosa.
Also I was cringeingly aware I was singing the same song, over and over again, at the top of my voice, like I used to do in the Bad Old Anorexia Days of cooking meals for Ben, to kind of keep me calm and make things seem as normal and 'happy' as possible.
Who was I kidding?
"I'll get us some parmesan cheese to have with it", I added, testing the water.
"No, I'm fine", ED replied predictably, followed by "I wish you'd used less oil because then I could have had some bread with it".
Aaarrrgggghhh... why restrict yourself like you are on some kind of slimming diet where you're only 'allowed' so many calories? Good God, if an 18 year old teenage boy wants bread with his tea he should be able to have it, without a moment's thought. 1, 2, 3, 4 or more slices. And pile on the parmesan cheese as well. After all, teenage boys are supposed to eat their parents out of house and home. Teenage boys have 'hollow legs'.
But not this one.
Should I chuck in some extra oil just to get my own back at ED, the anorexia demon?
But I found myself thinking "No point, because if his weight increases significantly at the next weigh-in, he won't be able to handle it".
Not entirely sure that thought wasn't appeasing the ED, too.
The point I'm making? Well, obviously it's an absolute 'no no' to appease the eating disorder, yet we all do it to keep the peace. But at the same time we're probably helping to keep the eating disorder here, too. I take my hat off to parents who just plough on regardless of what the ED says or does, because I am guilty of saying and doing stuff I shouldn't.
Also, why is Ben saying stuff like this when he hasn't said this kind of thing for so long?
There are so many stressers going on at the moment what with the social problems and A Level exams in a couple of weeks that he has admitted that "The ED voice is getting very strong at the moment".
But, thankfully, he has also said that "The good news is that I can recognise it for what it is and use the tools I now have to bat away the ED thoughts. The ED thoughts are there, but I know how to deal with them".
This is Great News. But I look forward to the day when the ED thoughts aren't there at all...