Disgraced

28 01 2012

Crap Dad usually spends a Friday with Lolly. Their routine is pretty relaxed and the rub along just fine. This week LML, who has been ailing all week finally succumbed to her virus and had been sent home from school on Thursday, so was also at home with Crap Dad and Lolly.

The morning had passed without incident and though LML was clearly under the weather her illness didn’t seem to slow her down. After a nap and some lunch Crap Dad decided that a whole day inside would drive them all stir crazy. The weather outside was cold and wet so they went to a local play centre.

Once there, coats and shoes off, both kids ran excitedly into the labyrinth of climbs, slides, walkways and crawl spaces. After a few minutes they are back encouraging Crap Dad to join them. He chases them around inside the play pen, they are quick and the centre is built for people a third if his size. He often loses sight if them. As he’s struggling to climb up through a series of twists and turns he hears a child start to cry. He hears a mother say, “Well if someone has hit you just hit them back”

A few minutes later he notices another small child crying and then another. He finds himself near an entrance where there is a mum comforting a child. She says to him that there is a child in the play pen going around hitting the other kids. He says he hasn’t seen anything. The mum goes off with the child to look for the culprit. Crap Dad has his suspicions, both LML and Lolly have been in the vicinity. He finds the kids and suggests they go and get a drink and some crisps. Over the snack he asks if either of them had been hitting the other kids. They both deny any involvement.

They eat most of their crisps, have a few gulps of juice, and are off again with a gentle reminder from Crap Dad to play nicely.

Crap Dad intends to follow but before he does a woman his walking towards his table, she has a child of about 18 months / two years in her arms. Both the woman and the child are crying. She is dragging LML to the table by her wrist. “I’ve just seen your child really hitting mine, over and over across the face. Really going for it. It was terrible” she says.

“LML!” Exclaims Crap Dad “You need to say sorry to the little girl and to her mummy. You know it’s not acceptable to hit, to hurt other people.”

LML stands there blank faced. Crap Dad tries again to elicit an apology, nothing. He apologies for LML’s behavior, A woman at the next table says “She hit my kid too”.

Crap Dad informs LML that because she’s hurt the other kids she’s going to have to stay with him for the rest of the visit to the centre. He sits LML on his knee and talks to her about hitting out at other kids and how it makes everyone sad.

Whilst he’s doing this he notices the woman he’d seen in the play area earlier walking towards him. She has a crying child in one arm and is pulling Lolly along behind her. She’s clearly is very angry. “Your child has just hit mine again!” She spits. “I’m really sorry” states Crap Dad. “Lolly, you need to say sorry to the woman and her boy” he insists. Lolly says a sheepish “Sorry”. Crap Dad apologizes again. The woman, who is furious says, “You ought to keep your bloody kids under control” and leaves.

He sits both kids on chairs and kneels down in front of them. “I’m really angry and disappointed with both of you” he says “It’s not acceptable to hit the other kids. It’s wrong. If you can’t play properly here then we are going to have to leave. At the moment I’m so angry with you I don’t know if I want to bring you back here again.”

Crap Dad puts their shoes and coats on and they leave. As he signs out he realizes they have been there for only thirty minutes.





Heal thy self

15 01 2012

As always happens after an LML related appointment, CD and GM have a bit of a de-brief.

Earlier in the week it followed a their second CAMHS appointment, which they attended without LML.

“I don’t feel like we got very far” says CD, “we didn’t get any further than the last session.”

“No” agrees GM, “we can only hope they actually read LML’s CPR before the next appointment. They have had it fir over a month.”

“I can’t believe that they asked us what we should do in the next session – who are the flippin therapists for goodness sake, us or them!!??”





Regroup! Regroup!

30 12 2011

The Mostly Functional Parents had both been looking forward to a whole week with no work, no school and no nursery.  By the end of the week they are on their knees with exhaustion, frustration and disappointment.

They are pretty much in agreement that they ‘got it wrong’ – the week has been too unstructured and unplanned, too spontaneous, too wet and cold and just too too much for them all.

So, the next holidays the parents will remember a few rules

  • it’s ok to divide and rule
  • the weekly planner that is created for Little Miss Loud during term time will continue during the vacations – for every week
  • activities will be planned in advance – even vague ones like ‘an outing’
  • distance makes the heart grow fonder … time off nursery and play scheme do not need to coincide – indeed, it should be very well planned and executed if it happens at all when not actually ‘on a holiday’
  • going to bed earlier and drinking a bit less might not be what the beleaguered parents want to do, but it’s probably for the best.

So, the Mostly Functional Parents need to put away spontaneity and impulse for now and really really knuckle down to predictability, planning and routine.

Sigh





60°C

10 07 2011

Text from Crap Dad to Grumpy Mum

“Bloody LML and her apple obbession. Just emptied the washing and found an apple wrapped up in a sheet. Grrr! 60 degrees does nothing for an apples complexion. Hmmmmm! Apple scented laundry.”





Changing of the Guard

6 07 2011

You’ll be seeing a different doctor today, the old one has moved on to pastures new” the administrator informs the Mostly Functional parents as they begin the routine that is the six monthly child development appointment.

The new doctor seems friendly enough, she soon starts to examine Lolly. She questions the Mostly Functional parents about Lolly’s health and behaviour. “I think she needs additional support. I’ll contact the nursery SENCO to make a referral for early years funding.”

The kids are bouncing around the consultation room, in to everything. GM and CD spend a lot of time stopping them from playing with the medical equipment that is all over the room, the sink, the giant paper rolls, the surgical gloves, the curtain. They tag team it, without any need for discussion or agreement.

It’s soon LML’s turn. After a number of routine questions the paediatrician focusses in on LML’s behaviour. “Is she always like this?” she enquires as LML flits from one prohibited activity to another.

I would like to refer her to the Child & Adolecent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), it’s difficult because many of the behaviours for Attachment Disorder are also seen in ADHD. I think we should assess her for ADHD, medication may help slow her down and focus more, making it easier for her to access education.”

Grumpy Mum is quick to say, “When we adopted LML we knew her behaviour might be challenging, we accepted that that’s who she is. I’m not sure either of us would want to manage her behaviour with drugs.”

The parents accept that this is a route in to CAHMS though; something they have been talking about how to achieve for some time. The Mostly Functional parents agree to complete a Connor’s Parent Rating Scale. Not convinced that the paediatrician, after less than an hours consultation, has made a correct ‘diagnosis’, they still see the benefits of the route she is proposing as it’s likely to open up new opportunities for support for the family and LML.





Little Steps…

30 06 2011

It came as no surprise to the Mostly Functional parents that their application for a Statutory Assessment of LML’s Educational Needs was turned down. The schools Educational Psychologist had hinted as much at their last meeting. What they didn’t expect was the way the conversation would go at the meeting to explain the Local Authority’s decision.

The meeting was with the Authority’s Assessment Officer, the Senior Educational Psychologist for the Area and the Schools Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

The Assessment Officer explained the decision making process and that he had, with some reservations, recommended an assessment because LML has above 50% developmental delay. In his words, “My view was that if we didn’t do it now, looking at the case history of LML, it was very likely we would have do it in the future.” This then went to an independent officer who reviewed his decision and advised not to proceed to an assessment because LML had made “significant progress” within the school setting. A panel of senior officers then made a decision not proceed.

The Ed Psych. explained that had been in the school for the past two weeks undertaking an assessment of the school’s overall provision which had nothing to do with LML. However, he had observed LML on a number of occasions “You can’t help but notice her” he said. He also stated that he had not been given the Authority’s reasons in the paperwork sent out prior to the meeting and it was only now that this had been explained to him. Given his observations, he said, he would like to explore what was meant by “significant progress”.

The Mostly Functional parents exchanged a knowing look.

The SENCO then explained that in the three months since the school submitted their report for the assessment LML’s behaviour had deteriorated and that much of the progress they had initially observed had either stalled or gone into reverse.

There was then a lengthy discussion about LML, her development and behaviours which illustrated why the Mostly Functional parents had submitted the application in the first place.

The Assessment Officer observed that some of the contributing factors to the decision were that some of the reports the Mostly Functional parents had submitted were about a year old, that because she was in reception it was less academic, more free flowing, and the panel thought that the support provision of the school in this sort of setting met LML’s needs

The Ed Psych. proposed that we wait until the new academic year, when LML will move to a more structured curriculum where everyone acknowledged that she is likely to struggle in the setting and get a fresh set of reports from the professionals involved in her case. They would then submit a new application.

The Assessment Officer, who may or may not have nodded his agreement, concluded the meeting by explaining to the Mostly Functional parents that they could of course appeal against the decision based on the evidence they have submitted so far.





3.15pm to 5.15pm

24 06 2011

“I can cope with talking to her teacher about her attacking another child repeatedly, whilst they tried to stop her…”

“I can cope with  her throwing herself around on the floor of the bus, shrieking, with everyone looking at us…”

“I can cope with her pouring the water out of the jug over the window and floor as soon as we got home…”

“I can cope with her constant shouting and shrieking…”

“I can cope with her attacks on Lolly…”

“but I am fucked off that we can be having such a lovely positive time, and she takes a tiny opportunity to cover the living room in soy sauce.”





‘Appy Daddy, Daddy Day’

19 06 2011

Crap Dad wakes to the sound of screaming. He tries to ignore it to gain a few precious more minutes sleep but it’s no good. The noise has wormed it’s way into his consciousness. He reluctantly gets out of bed and wonders downstairs.

He finds Grumpy Mum on the settee with LML on her lap snuggled into her shoulder and Lolly tightly curled up tight beside her.

“Yer a bit noisy you lot. How am I supposed to have a lie in when at 7.30 in the morning there’s all this screaming” he enquires.

“We’ve had a bit of a difficult morning so far Dad” GM says. “Lolly’s still not feeling any better and LML has been struggling a bit.

We’ve also had a bit of an incident with the milk. I think LML thought it was a good idea to give the cat a drink of milk. I was in here, if I’m honest snuggled with Lolly, slipping between consciousness and sleep having been up a four times in the night and then getting up with these at 5am. So I didn’t realise that LML had slipped away and how long for. It was only when the cat came charging into the room soaked in milk that I realised that something was wrong.

By the time I’d got to the kitchen it was covered  2 litres milk. It’s surprising how far 2 litres of milk can go.

We’ve tidied up as best we can but the floor’s going to need mopping and the rug is going to need cleaning. It’s already starting to smell.”

Crap Dad mumbles something about there be be enough milk for a cup of tea as he slopes of towards the kitchen





Morning

5 11 2010

Routine is everything in the Mostly Functional household, morning, noon and night.

CD & GM had had enough of 5am starts, so a month ago they bought and ‘day and night’ clock, which changes when it is morning.  It provides the girls with a very visual sign that it is morning.

At the end of three weeks the girls had started to wake closer to 5.30 in the morning most days and 6am maybe twice a week.

THEN THE CLOCKS CHANGED.

5.15 this morning was a vast improvement on the previous days, which have consistently been 4.something am.  For some reason LML has woken lively and unwilling to stay quietly in bed.  She shouts, kicks, objects and wakes everyone.

The mostly Functional parents hold onto the hope and belief that they will not always have to rise so early, nor battle at the beginning of their day .





Cat Food

1 10 2010

LML has been quiet for few minutes, which concerns Crap Dad.

He walks into the dining room to see the back of LML,  She is sitting on the floor by the patio doors. He peers around LML to see the cat sitting in front of her, a plate of risotto between them. LML has a handful of the risotto and is feeding it to the cat it. The cat licks it’s lips appreciatively.

“Oh, LML, what are you doing? The Cat doesn’t eat risotto.” he exclaims.

Crap Dad opens the door and ushers the cat out saying “Meiow, you should know better than to encourage her.”

He goes to get a dust pan and brush and a cloth and returns to see LML smearing the risotto all over the window, in some sort of dirty protest.

“Oh, LML” he sighs exasperatedly.








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