back to school blue

21 09 2015

GM is met by LIttle Miss and her TA as always.  She can tell it hasn’t been a good day by the look of defeat and depression on the face of the dedicated and loving TA.

“It hasn’t been a good day” she confirms as they meet.  “Little Miss has hit a number of children today, she has threatened to hit a number of members of staff and has been swearing and aggressive.  I have worked hard with her to calm down but every time she has seemed calm she has immediately started again the moment I have let her move away from me.”

GM listens and nods and has nothing to suggest.  Everyone knows that this is no longer the tight setting for Little Miss.  She is not coping and the school are also struggling to cope. The review meeting to amend her statement had been planned for the end of September months ago.

As GM leaves the school ground another teacher runs up to them, calling. The head teacher would like to have a word.  GM and the girls return to the school and go to see the head in her office.  She repeats the litany of awfulness and says that she is confident that they will be receiving complaints from parents tomorrow.  She tells GM that they will have to undertake a new risk assessment and it is looking like Little Miss is going to have to move to more intensive 121, maybe even solely 121, in order to ensure the safety of other children.

GM is due back in school for a governors meeting the following day and has agreed to meet with the head before the meeting.

GM is not really looking forward to a Happy Birthday.





Uninvited?

28 08 2015

A niece of GM is having a naming ceremony on Saturday for her baby daughter and the mostly functional family have been invited to the late afternoon party. GM received this message when she was a work, 24 hours before the party.

“Hi GM. How are you? I’ve been meaning to speak to you about tomorrow and Little Miss, it’s been playing on my mind for a few days that it’ll be too much for her. There’s going to be loads of kids and people she doesn’t know and I’m concerned about how she may react. I know that when she’s stressed she lashes out and may become violent towards the other children and I really don’t want that for her, the other kids or you. What are your thoughts on this? Xx”

GM struggles to get beyond the intense feelings of rejection, hurt and quiet despair to formulate actual thoughts.





Small things

28 02 2015

GM is watching Lolly at gymnastics, chatting with another mum. She has already explained that Lolly has trouble processing multiple instructions and retaining routines. The conversation moves on and the other mum asks one of the killer questions …

“How many parties does she have this weekend? We only have one this weekend but last weekend she had three!” Another mum joins in and the conversation soon moves on.

This gives GM time to scape her bruised and battered heart off the floor and put her sadness back in its box. Lolly has been invited to one party in this school year. LML has not been invited to any. For over two years.





The land of no

26 07 2014

“No LML! Nonono”

GM translates for her daughter “LML, be careful with the walking stick. It must stay pointed at the ground love. Yes that’s right, well done.” In the first few hours of their visit the “no’s”  come thick and fast. The interpretation is exhausting, but very much needed.

Much as GM loves her in laws, visits are always difficult for LML. GM has to remind herself not to internalise her daughters stress and not to take offence at Nan’s lack of understanding.

Still, GM finds that she smarts a little when LML is told she can have no more ice cream, when Lolly is tucking onto her second bowl.

LML is lovely. She is loud. She cannot do as she is told”. She does not understand threats of consequences. When she is stressed she does not stop moving. And nan just does not get it.

GM and CD manage LML’s behaviors, anxiety and stress as best they can. They model the scaffolding and support they give her, to help LML cope and to show nan how to help their daughter do better. GM sighs. Nan just doesn’t seem to get it.





Just that time of year?

16 07 2014

LML chooses to watch Something Special in the morning – the first time since GM doesn’t know when – specifically the ‘baby’ one.

After school LML goes to get her memory box out of the cupboard just before bath time.  CD tells her she can have a proper look after bath time.  He half expects that she will have forgotten as he takes it as an attempt to avoid  going in the bath; just another bid for control.  once she is ready for bed though, she goes to her memory box and explores the contents.  She recognises the number 1 on a birthday card and asks about cards that she received from her foster carers for her 1st birthday and her first Christmas.  She tries on the England (football) Team’s baseball cap which was a gift to her from her birth parents.  She rummages through the special gifts and items from her foster family eventually pulling out a tiny baby grow that GM added to the box to give LML some idea of just how small she was when she was born, and goes under the bed to dress her baby monkey in it.  All this whilst GM or CD make comments and observations about her early experiences, before she came home.

When they go downstairs for supper LML really surprises the mostly functional parent by asking if she can have the baby bottle.  They have kept one as sometimes Lolly will have a phase of revisiting the bottle, but LML has rarely shown more than a passing interest in it.  GM put milk in the bottle, and explains, as she always does, that mummy or daddy hold the bottle and she must lay on their knee if she wants some milk from it.  LML climbs onto GM’s lap and lays in her arms, way too light for an eight year old.  She suckles from the bottle and gazes at her mum, as she talks about how this is what she would have done if she had been there when she was a baby; about how LML was so tiny that she couldn’t feed from a bottle at first, but she would have held her and told her that she loves her, just like she is now. After a couple of minutes LML sits up and climbs down from her mothers lap, calm and ready for supper.  

Lolly quickly replaces her and goes through the same process, although she drains the bottle and clearly gets enormous pleasure from having teat in her mouth.  Lolly would have a dummy if she could and will always have her thumb or another item in her mouth, and there is clearly a sensory element to her desire for a bottle.  Lolly hasn’t asked for it for quite some time – certainly not this year, and LML never has – not once

GM is astonished by LML’s request.  Encouraged, astonished and hopeful.   





Days like these

6 06 2014

“No, no, no. NOOOO! NO! I don’t want it. Get off me. No! I don’t like my medicine. Noooooo. Leave me alone. I don’t want those tights. Get off me! Nooooo. NO! NO. NOOO. …”

GM holds the writhing, shouting, distressed and disregulated 8 year old on her lap whilst CD goes in search of leg/footwear options. LML has been in this state for about 10 minutes so far, and GM is quietly satisfied that she has managed to keep the yogurt and ADHD med mixture on the spoon. 

5 minutes later LML has had her meds and chosen a pair of black tights “to suit GM, ur mood” CD suggests to her.

In another 5 minutes the family are in the car on their way to school. The girls are happily warbling away to the ubiquitous “let it go” from Frozen. GM sighs deeply a few times, calming herself. CD pats her knee “your away day is going to be a doddle after that start” he says, smiling.

GM smiles back, already starting to focus her mind on the staff away day she is facilitating. The staff are in a very unsettled phase, due to changes in management and an information black out from the powders that be.  “Yeh right” mutters GM, taking another deep breath.





Loser

2 06 2014

“You loser! I’m going to hit you! You loser. Loser. YOU LOSER!” Rants LML.

The ranting and threats are a usual part of the getting ready for bed routine, along with the ‘being told no’ trials, any transition and general expression of frustration or fear.

It’s the language that has changed recently, and it worries GM.

“LML love” she starts, laying on the bed with her daughter, “where do you hear someone saying ‘loser’?” GM doesn’t really expect an answer, as LML finds this sort of conversation very difficult. 

“At school” replies LML with a slightly grumpy look on her face.

“Oh at school?” says GM, “who says that at school?”

“The boys.” comes the answer, quick as a shot.

“Who do they say it to sweetheart?”

“Me” comes the obvious answer.

“How does that make you feel love?” GM asks gently, again not expecting an answer.

“Sad” comes the reply.

“Yes it must make you sad sweetheart” GM says, searching for the next words.

“I farted on your hand mummy. I farted!”

The conversation moves on.





Ripon Cathederal

25 05 2014

“Ooooh, candles!” exclaims LML.

GM rapidly explains that they are lit by people to remember friend or family who have died. She knows that LML’s first impulse will be to blow out the candles. “You can light one for you twin if you want to” she suggests, hoping that lighting a candle will be more appealing than blowing them out.

With just a little help LML lights a candle, places it into the holder and steps back.

“I wish you could come back” she says.

GM sighs, amazed that she has expressed so much, proud of her daughters acknowledgment of the loss of her two day old twin.





Bye bye ganma jay

24 03 2014

GM has the weekend planned with military precision, as CD is presenting a course all weekend. Lolly has attended her gymnastics class and picked up her new glasses (pair 5!), LML has managed to sit and play on the tablet for the duration of the class and they are at last heading for her favourite place to play.

GM and the girls are slowly making their way up the hill with the scooters towards the skateboard park when Lolly shouts out “Daddeee!” Both girls abandon their scooters and run down the hill to his waiting arms.  GM is slightly confused to see that it is indeed CD, and finds herself dismissing the possibility that absolutely no one turned up for the training. As he approaches she sees that he looks upset, he reaches her and sobs an incoherent sentence as he gathers her into his arms.”Oh no” she says, grasping some of what he is saying, “Your Dad?” .. Her heart is in her mouth.

“Jay” he gasps out, “your mum”. GM freezes. She hears the rest of his words. Her sister had been trying to contact her, and eventually had got hold of CD. He had come straight away. GM walks back to the car, leaving CD to get the girls and scooters sorted. She manages to drive them all home before crumbling.
_______________________________
The girls go straight out into the garden to play when they get home and GM sits in the dinning room crying.  Lolly comes to her mother and strokes her hand, as GM explains to her that Grandma Jay has died.  Through out the day they talk about what that means “Grandma is gone, she is in our memories, but who she was is gone”, ” Now?” Asks Lolly repeatedly, “Ganma poorly?”, “No Lolly, she isn’t poorly any more” GM reassures her, feeling the relief of that herself, mingled with her sadness and heartache.





Can’t or won’t?

4 03 2014

As GM walks by the living room door she hears CD saying “you wouldn’t be cold if you hadn’t lost your fleece at school Lolly.” Unusually he sounds irritated. GM sighs … It is irritating. The mostly functional parents have had to replace so many jumpers and cardies, shorts and sports tops since September. Even a pair of (expensive) wellies.

It seems that Lolly is expected to be able to keep track of her clothes and equipment now that she is in year 1. The mostly functional parents have an on going conversation about whether Lolly can keep track. She is not as emotionally mature as many of her class mates, nor educationally. Developmentally she is probably about 12 to 18 months behind many of her peers. GM wonders if that is ‘all’ it is though, or whether there is more to Lollies apparent inability to keep track of her belongings.

At home she often looses her current favourite object or toy, and will have the bemused patents searching for days. She often puts things in a safe place and is then unable to remember where it is.  These things will often turn up weeks later, in bizarre and unusual places. Like finding the golden purse with current object of desire wedged between some DVDs on a shelf.  This ability to loose things extends to her most precious blanky and toy doddies. Her ratty, scratty holey blanket, that came home with her is no longer allowed anywhere other than home or in the car, due to the many retraced steps and waves of relief when it has been found.

After bed time CD and GM again mull over Lollies tendency to loose things. GM mostly believes that the loss of yet another pair of glasses is probably deliberate, but is not so sure about the clothes. They talk in circles, not really feeling that they understand what, if any, the problem is.
….
A few days later CD returns from Lolly’s parents evening meeting. Lolly is lavished with praise for the progress she is making in phonics, in particular how well she is doing with her blending.  CD tells GM that Mrs F is really pleased with the progress she has made, but .. But they continue to be concerned about Lolly’s ability to retain her learning. Not only learning, she has not seed to have internalised any of the classroom routines, and needs prompts to move between activities frequently. CD asked Mrs F to be more specific, and she described a particular daily routine. Every morning all the children in KS1 split into ability groups for phonics, with Lolly being in the reception group.  At the end the children return to their classroom, get a book and sit on the carpet to do independent reading for 5 or 10 minutes. Every day, Lolly returns to the classroom and will stand, confused, until the teacher or TA directs her to the books and carpet. Every day!  The mostly functional parents are quite shocked to hear that she has so little grasp of the class routines.  This seems to be much more significant than a penchant for loosing her jumpers.

CD delves into Lolly’s book bag … “This is some of the good work Lolly has been doing” he says, “and these are the forms we need to fill in for the needs assessment that they want to get in motion.”

GM goes to bed feeling quietly sad and bad. She wonders if they would have picked up on this earlier if LML’s significant needs hadn’t overshadowed Lolly’s?








%d bloggers like this: