marking territory

30 06 2009

GM manages to successfully divide Little Sis’s precious ‘blanky’ in two, bind the edges and get one in the wash. As soon as the wash is finished, she gets the clean half on the washing line.

A little later CD goes out to a meeting, leaving GM to manage bath time on her own for the first time. GM is feeling on top of everything, the girls getting evenly spaced snacks, treats and rewards in the build up to bath time. Indeed, she is feeling so together that she puts the rest of the washing out and brings in the now dry clean ‘blanky’. This is speedily exchanged with the very dirty one, which is accepted without a ripple by Little Sis.

The bath is running, and as both children have filled their nappies in the past half hour, they are now running/crawling around bare bottomed.

GM walks into the hall to see LML sitting on the clean ‘blanky’.

“Wee wee” she says smiling, “mummy, wee wee”. LML points to the blanky.

“Oh LML, you haven’t?” she asks, without much hope.

Oh yes she had …



27 06 2009

“What you need is TLC,” says CD to LML, after she has thrown yet another toy in Little Sis’s direction, “and I don’t mean tender loving care.”

GM is listening to this whilst doing the washing up, and starts to think what it could stand for .. Tut’s? Telling off? Lectures? Confinement? Clapping in Irons?

“Yes” continues CD, “what you need are tickles, laughter and cuddles … here come the tickles.”

CD is clearly not feeling quite as frayed as GM at his particular moment.

Coming Home – Part III

26 06 2009

Bath time for both girls goes smoothly, CD baths LML first and then GM bathes Little Sis. Little Sis is soon downstairs having a bottle of milk on GM’s lap.

This fascinates LML. She sits by GM and holds the bottle for Little Sis. Little Sis sucks greedily, gulping down her milk. “Ook” says LML pointing at her sister as she drinks from her bottle.

“Do you want to taste it when Little Sis has finished?” enquires GM

LML nods her head and smiles. “You didn’t like it very much when you were a baby” warns GM

As soon as it looks like Little Sis is finished LML is trying to release the bottle from her grip. “Just wait a second, darling, she might want some more”. LML stands impatiently and is soon easing the bottle out of Little Sis’s hands.

She tastes the sweet milk, feeling the teat in her mouth, and pulls a face of disgust.

Satiated Little Sis sits there gurgling and the mostly functional parents agree that she should be put to bed. GM takes her upstairs and without any fuss whatsoever she’s put down in her cot.

On returning to the living room GM finds LML still engrossed in one of her favourite DVD’s – Madagascar.

“Come and sit on mummy’s lap and have a cuddle” she says to the transfixed three year old.

LML sits there, contentedly sucking her thumb. “Dad” she says and points at the bottle. “You want the bottle?” “Yeah” she replies. CD hands it to her and the mostly functional parents exchange a wry smile as she holds it to her chest.

LML soon relaxes and GM swaps the bottle for her favourite soft toy – cheeky monkey. The little girl is soon so relaxed that she’s starting to nod off to sleep. GM takes her upstairs and puts her in her bed, next to her little sisters cot. She pats LML’s back for a minute or so to help her settle and then kisses her goodnight. GM is grinning from ear to ear as she leaves her daughters to sleep together for the first time.

Coming Home – Part II

26 06 2009

“MUMMY!!” screams LML from the bottom of the stairs “MUUUUUM…MEEEEEEE!” She then throws herself on to the floor, shot by the ‘No’ from CD as he tells her she can’t follow GM as she puts Little Sis to bed for her afternoon nap. By the time GM returns LML is in floods of tears and being comforted by CD.

For the next two hours, as Little Sis sleeps, LML demands constant attention and reassurance from the mostly functional parents.

She becomes inconsolable when GM goes to the toilet. She whinges and whines at every opportunity.

When not being ‘entertained’ LML undertakes little acts of defiance and resistance. She throws what was left of the mixed bowl of fruit she had lunch up in the air, scattering chopped up pieces of strawberry, cherry and raspberries all over the dinning room carpet. She fills her mouth with juice from her cup and squirts it all over her blackboard and the dinning room window. When playing with a balloon she deliberately and constantly tries to hit GM around the face.

LML bangs her head in frustration on the settee, a wall, a number of doors and the floor.

At various times both CD and GM sit LML on their laps, give her a cuddle and offer soothing words and kisses.

Coming Home – Part I

26 06 2009

So far so good. The mostly functional parents arrived at the foster carers slightly late but not unreasonably so. The foster carers we clearly feeling a bit emotional but holding things together really well. After all Little Sis had been living with them for 15 months, almost since she was born.

There were photos of the mostly functional parents, the foster carers and Little Sis – all smiles and warmth.

Then a few goodbyes and hugs and the mostly functional prepare to leave. Pat, who had held it together so well up until this point, turned and walked away purposefully, clearly unable to hold her emotions back any longer.

A final ‘goodbye’ and the mostly functional parents drive away with Little Sis gurgling away in her car seat.

GM turns to see the little girls smiley face and CD notices that she too has tears in her eyes.

Once home LML greets Little Sis enthusiastically and they play together in the hallway with a suitcase and a helium balloon.


25 06 2009

  • Little Sis crawls to GM and puts her head on her lap, sucking her thumb contentedly
  • LML launches the full sized drumstick across the room to bounce off the head of Little Sis
  • Little Sis bursts into tears as crap dad prepares her for her bath. There seems to be pattern emerging
  • The sisters play in the garden together crawling over a plastic sandpit after each other
  • LML refuses to cross main road when the green man shows. When she does decided to cross she falls down in he middle of the road and begins to scream.
  • The Social Worker phones to say good luck with the move tomorrow
  • LML strokes Little Sis’s face, gives her a kiss and a hug as she sits on the mostly functional parent’s bed whilst she wakes up from her afternoon nap.
  • Little Sis eats all of her evening meal without it covered in her desert.
  • Crap dad hands over a large bunch of flowers to the foster carers to say thank you for their contribution during introductions, to the delight of Pat.
  • GM has to protect Little Sis from LML, fighting her off for 10 minutes, whilst CD prepares her meal.
  • GM sits on the settee, LML walks up and stands by the side of her, as GM turns to see what LML wants the little girls leans forward and kisses her mummy.

Introductions Review Meeting

24 06 2009

The living room rapidly fills – three social workers, one foster carer, two adoptive parents and Little Sis, happily playing, smiling and gurning in the middle.

When CD tells the chair of the review meeting that the plans were altered slightly, Pat, the foster-carers almost chokes on her tea, knowing that she and GM sat down early on in the introductions and completely re-wrote them. The chair doesn’t notice though, as she says “but you’re supposed to tell me about any changes to ‘the plan’.”

“Oh, we just thought that Little Sis was ready to spend more time here” says CD, Pat nodding in agreement and adding that “it’s helped LML and Little Sis no end.”

The chair draws out her check-list, “so” she begins

“You’ve both given Little Sis a bath at Pats?” … check (and here too actually, every night for the past three days)

“You’ve both put her to bed?” … check (we started doing that on the second visit at nap times, and have been doing bedtime routine for about four days now)

“She’s eating ok here?” … check (except we just aren’t willing to give her white chocolate with her mash!)

“She’s due to spend the day here tomorrow. Everyone is comfortable bout this?” … check (well, we’re now on our sixth day of Little Sis being here for most if not all of the day)

“We are usually reluctant to move children on a Friday, are you all still comfortable with the move going ahead this Friday?” …

“More than ready!” bursts out of GM before she can stop herself.

The meeting concludes positively, with agreement that everything is going very well indeed.

The mostly functional parents are so ready for Little Sis to come home that the next two days feel like they will last a week each – roll on Friday.

mirror, mirror…

22 06 2009

GM is clearing things way in the kitchen, following Sunday dinner, and looks down the hallway.

She sees LML hiding behind the pushchair, playing boo with Little Sis who is on the other side. LML begins to copy Little Sis’s actions – waving her arms and pulling faces. Little Sis loves to be copied, but she hasn’t figured out the fun of copying others yet, so when LML starts to perform actions for her sister to copy she looses interest.

GM feels a swelling of pride for LML, who is responding so well to this ‘usurper’ in our midst.

The question is …

20 06 2009

The mostly functional parents take LML and Little Sis out for a walk to their local town street. Their first ‘family outing’ with Little Sis.

On the way they bump into a group of people that are just finishing some community gardening in one of their local community parks. CD and GM are both trustees of the common land for the area, and would usually have been out working with them, so they stop to chat, pleased to see that there are a couple of new faces, including a young boy of about 11 years.

“Yes, yes!” they say to their friends, beaming, “this is Little Sis, but she’s a bit shy so please don’t fuss her.”

After five minutes they go on their way and rapidly complete the few errands they had, so they head back home. As they walk up the road, they see a few boys playing in the park by the side of the pavement, noticing that the same boy they had seen earlier is in the group. As they draw near one of the boys shouts out

“Hey, missis. Are those two babies yours?”

“They are!” answers GM proudly, continuing up the road.

“Did you two have sex to ‘ave ’em?” He asks as he looks between GM and CD.

As CD rapidly heads up the road, laughing, GM replies primly that “It is none of your business!!”

It is only later, relaying the amusing tale, that it sinks into GM that these are the sort of questions that her children are going to be asked, by their peers, almost as soon as they go to school. “It’s none of your business” is just one of the answers she wants them to be confident and assured enough to give!

No one said it would be easy

20 06 2009


Today was hard work.

Little Sis spent her first full day at the house of the mostly functional family.

We made a couple of mistakes, mainly around morning naps for LML and Little Sis. Normally LML will go to bed between 9.30 and 10.30. Today Little Sis arrived about 10.15 and LML was still up. She was so excited to see Little Sis that putting her down was postponed. When we did try, although she was clearly very tired, she just got out of bed and came back downstairs. Even when GM sat with her until she looked as though she was about to nod-off she still came back downstairs. Too excited and too interested in what is going on.

LML did eventually go to sleep and we gave Little Sis some lunch. The little love was so tired that she needed to go to bed shortly afterwards, so forty five minutes after LML had fallen asleep Little Sis was put in her cot. We made the second mistake then by turning on the musical mobile Little Sis is used to going to sleep to. GM didn’t realise just how loud the music was!

Within a minute or two the mostly functional parents could hear little voices laughing and babbling to each other. When GM arrived LML and Little Sis were pulling faces and laughing at each other through the bars of the cot.

LML was scooped up and taken downstairs and the tired Little Sis was soon asleep. LML would normally sleep for at least an hour and a half, so the 45 minutes she had was no-where near enough and she was not happy. In fact she was positively miserable.

One of the great things about LML though, is that she’s easily distracted, so CD took her for a walk to the supermarket to do a bit of shopping and she soon cheered up.

On her return LML was much chirpier and she engaged with Little Sis mostly in a positive way.

As the afternoon wore on LML’s tolerance of Little Sis diminished and she regularly either smacked, threw things or blew raspberries at her little sister. Little Sis mainly took it in her stride and remained indefatigable. Thankfully.

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