Blood, sweat and tears

14 09 2009

Little Sis is put to bed for her morning nap, the early mornings mean that she needs to sleep again sometime between 9 and 10 am.

Twenty minutes after Little Sis is put to bed, GM leaves to volunteer at the community gardening project the mostly functional parents are involved in.

Crap dad begins to tidy up the chaos caused by the terrible twosome, encouraging LML to assist by putting away some of the toys spread across the ground floor of the house. After 10 minutes CD hears Little Sis beginning to stir. He mutters something about 30 minutes not being a long enough sleep, as he goes upstairs to get her.

He returns downstairs with a smiling, happy Little Sis. Determined not to let the opportunity of a clear floor go, he gets out the vacuum cleaner and starts in the living room. Little Sis goes over to the toy box and starts to fish around in it. LML is in the dining room pushing her monkey about in her pushchair.

Crap dad moves into the hall and continues to vacuum up the detritus. He soon hears Little Sis start to cry. He pops his head around the door and tells LML ‘do not hit your sister, it’s kisses not hitting” and continues, leaving Little Sis a little distressed but hoping they’ll work it out themselves. He works his way back down the hall and looking into the living room he sees LML giving Little Sis a shove in the back, she bursts into tears. He turns off the vacuum and says, “No hitting!” as firmly as he can to LML.

The vacuum goes back on and he makes his way to the dinning room. He hears a clunk. ‘I don’t like the sound of that’ he thinks. He turns the vacuum off and hears that Little Sis is clearly in some distress. He walks around the corner to find Little Sis crawling towards him, her head covered in blood. As he takes in the scene, he sees his mug fly towards Little Sis. The mug misses her, it too is covered in blood. He picks Little Sis up, panicking as he can’t see where the blood is coming from. “What have you done?” he shouts at LML who is now running around the room.

He takes Little Sis to the bathroom and begins to clear up the blood, wiping it from her face, she screams in his arms. There are tears running down her face and mixing with the blood. He clears enough to realise that the cut is towards the back of her head. It is still bleeding copiously and he is unable to see how bad an injury it is. He is shaking, babbling, unable to speak coherently. He takes Little Sis downstairs and finds that LML has been in the first aid box that he got out for sterile wipes. She is smearing some unctuous cream all over the patio door windows. He grabs hold of the tube and LML and moves into the dining room. He sits LML on one settee and settles on the other and, with Little Sis on his knee still crying, he phones Grumpy Mum. No reply.

‘Shit!’ he thinks. He tries to calm down.

The phone rings, it’s GM. “Sorry love, I answered but the phone cut off. What’s up?”

“Erm, there’s been a bit of a disaster. Little Sis has blood all over her. LML bashed her over the head with my mug. There’s blood everywhere.”

“OK, I’ll be home soon.”


Don’t do it

5 09 2009

When LML first came home the mostly functional parents ensured that all the safety precautions were undertaken and things like stair gates etc. were fitted. A gate was put on the kitchen door mainly because the kitchen is too small and when cooking you want to avoid a stealth crawling tiddler. Over time the gates have come off as both the mostly functional parents and LML have become more confident. With the arrival of Little Sis the stair gate returned immediately – mainly to stop LML going upstairs whilst Little Sis was napping and waking her up.

The mostly functional parents decided that they’d keep the one on the kitchen off and see how it went. However, this has now had to be revised. Not because of Little Sis and her stealth crawling but because LML has now grown tall enough to see across the surfaces. This has meant that any objects that takes her fancy, that look too good to resist, are grabbed at and snatched away. This can be food, cups, glasses, pans or knifes. Having spent a few weeks trying to manage LML’s behaviour the problem parents finally gave up and reinstalled a gate.

Yesterday Crap Dad was preparing some pasta for lunch and had left the gate open. LML saw her opportunity and grabbed at the small pile of food on the chopping board. She giggled as she ran from the kitchen putting the food in her mouth despite Crap Dad issuing the warning that she would like it. A few steps into the hallway and she stopped. A look of disgust crossed her face, she started to spit the substance out, flicking at her tongue to get the bits off, her face flushing pink.

“I told you not to eat it my love, it’s garlic, it’s not nice raw. Here have a drink” soothed Crap Dad.

Screaming Banshees

1 09 2009

It’s been a while since we posted. The last few weeks have been hard work. Little Sis has settled in really well and has attached to us better than we could have expected. Where we have had to work hard is with Little Miss Loud, who transformed from the beautiful, funny, cheery child we knew so well into a relentless and merciless bully. Slapping, kicking, shouting and jumping on Little Sis at every opportunity she created a tension that has made each day a trial, a battle of wits, as we have fended off the blows and comforted the often screaming Little Sis.

It was distressing to see that one of the first things Little Sis learnt at her new home was a flinch reflex.

This has tested the Mostly Functional parents beyond anything they had anticipated. It has been hard to provide rational, thought out responses, to LML’s behaviour when Little Sis was in tears for sixth or seven time in an hour.

So what has changed?

The mostly functional parents have got better at heading the more serious confrontations off, Little Sis has toughened up (a little) and LML has started to enjoy the company of new sister. The random attacks haven’t ceased, they’re just less frequent, with less intent to hurt and are now interspersed with play between to two siblings.

For the fist time in weeks the Mostly Functional parents feel able to leave the children in a room together with some confidence that LML will not be making an immediate attack on Little Sis. They still listen for the tell tale sounds of LML’s rushing feet, but they no longer have to hurry to get back in the room, with the cloth or snack that they wanted; they no longer have to remove Little Sis every time they want to do something in another room and are getting better at reading the warning signs or stress and irritation in both children.

It’s been hard because LML’s development delay means that she doesn’t have to spoken or emotional language to express her feeling about this interloper in her world. The problem parents have had to find ways of communicating with her which acknowledges her feelings and reassures her that their love for her has not diminished. They are still learning this, and are beginning to think it may be a lifetime’s work.

It feels like progress is slow and painful, and the Mostly Functional parents need to remind themselves that Little Sis only came home 2 months ago, and just a few despairing weeks ago, they couldn’t see how things could improve so much in such a short time.

There are unanticipated consequences to the glasnost that is developing of course. Today Crap Dad was woken by LML and Little Sis playing their new favourite game with each other at the bottom of the stairs – screaming at each other at a tremendous volume. It’s not the most pleasant way to be woken up, but it’s so much better than than the wailing wake up call of just a few short weeks ago.

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