“you look horrified ..”

7 04 2010

this is what Big Sis says as GM sits on the edge of the sofa, hand over mouth, feeling sick.

She takes the statement as an opening, “I feel horrified” she starts and tries to gather her thoughts.

“You’ve just described a ‘brilliant night out’ which you had on the proceeds of the property you stole from this house.”

Big Sis denies this, stammering something about a friend paying for her to go out, and starts to go into detail.

GM interrupts, “You just don’t get it Big Sis” and the conversation ends.


just one more thing…

7 04 2010

As CD talks to the Homeless Officer who has phoned, GM looks over his shoulder at his notes whilst she comforts the poorly Lolly.

Drinking Problem” she reads, and nods her head.  No surprises there, as Big Sis had already talked to them about that.

CD makes affirmative noises down the phone as GM walks away, talking to Lolly who has calmed down a little and seems ready to be put down again.

GM hears a sigh and looks across the room at CD. As he talks to the Homeless Officer about how his daughter has alienated all her friends and that as far as he knows she really has no-where to stay tonight CD shakes his head.  GM walks across the room to look at the next note that he has written.

Pregnant?” is what she reads, and she feels her stomach flip.  She echos CD’s sigh, and rubs her temples.


Later Big Sis sits in their living room and CD tries to go through big Sis’s options with her. Big Sis has been given advice by the Local Authority homelessness team, but has been told that currently she is not in priority need, so they will not provide temporary or emergency accommodation.

The Mostly Functional Parents have agreed that they will pay for Bed & Breakfast accommodation for Big Sis for a couple of nights whilst she tries to secure something that is longer term.

“What about the question of whether you are pregnant?” asks GM, “Is that a real possibility, or were you just hoping it would help with the homeless assessment?”

Big Sis glances at GM and shrugs “I could be” she says, “I might be”.  GM waits for her to say more but she doesn’t.

“If you are we need to find out, as you’ll have a right to temporary accommodation straight away,” says GM.  Big Sis is looking at the TV, and GM cannot fathom what she might be thinking.  “Big Sis” she says, “If you are pregnant, you don’t have to decide what to do about that right away you know. You wouldn’t have to keep it just because you get somewhere to live, but if you are pregnant you will have a window of stability and probably some support and advice about that and the drinking …” she petered out, not getting much of anything from Big Sis.

So good she did it twice

27 03 2010

Hello can I speak to crap dad?

“That’s me”

You’ve reported a camera and other items have been stolen, could you give me more detail?”

“Yes I think my daughter, who is 21 and no longer lives with us, broke into the house today whilst we were out and took my camera. She’s been coming to the house and taking things over the past couple of weeks. When she came yesterday I confronted her and she admitted it. Last week a couple of lenses for my camera, a Nintendo DS and phone were taken. Last night she stayed the night and my partner and I had to leave this morning to attend some training. Our younger daughters were being looked after by my partners sisters for the day so we made Big Sis leave with us. Just as we were about to leave I noticed my Nikon D50 was missing. I checked Big Sis’s bag and around he house. Eventually I found it hidden down the side of the house. I confronted Big Sis, she denied everything and we made her leave the house with us. My partner’s sisters left the house a couple of hours later with the kids and within 10 minutes Big Sis arrived with a lad from down the road and a ladder. My neighbour says that she saw Big Sis hanging around at the bottom of the street earlier and that Big Sis used the ladder to get in through my bedroom window.”

After a few question, “Is the lad a suspect?” “No I don’t think so, she lived here until a few months ago. I think he may have thought he was doing her a favour.”

Is there a history of drugs?” “No not that I’m aware of. Though given the behavior over the past couple of weeks I am concerned.”

Are you sure you want to pursue a criminal investigation?” “Yes, I told her yesterday that if she stole anything else from us then I would report it to the police?”

So can I summarise? A number of items have been stolen from your house, including a camera, which was stolen twice in one day and you’re pretty sure your daughter has done it.

“Yeah, that’s about it.”

OK Crap Dad, an officer will be around in the morning to take a statement and the investigation will proceed from there.

Get thee gone – parts 1 and 2

9 10 2009

Get thee gone # 1 …

Grumpy mum found herself sitting at the pc, tears of frustration, hurt and anger pouring down her face, grateful that Little Sis was asleep and LML was out with Crap Dad. She had managed to stop herself from packing a suitcase for Big Sis, and had instead texted Crap Dad to let him know what had happened. As she calmed down she began to write a letter

Dear Big Sis

Notice to Quit

This is written notice that you need to leave home by Saturday 3rd October 2009.

We recently restated the minimum standard of behaviour that we expect from you, if you are to continue to live at home. Today you failed to meet that standard and as a result I have decided that it really is time that you live independently.

At this time I am still willing to support you in your move away from home. I will view properties with you and help out with a bond and rent in advance.

If you are unable to find somewhere to live in the next seven days please come to us with your plan for moving on.

Obviously I continue to love you, and will always be here to provide you with support or help when you need it.

Crap Dad arrived home as she was finishing the letter, and Grumpy Mum immediately explained that she had written the letter to get the frustration and upset off her chest, aware that the situation was much more difficult for him as Big Sis’s biological father, rather than a step parent.

Crap Dad hugged Grumpy Mum, read the letter and hugged her again. “You need to amend it love, so that it says ‘we’ all the way through.”

Get thee Gone # 2 …

Having talked, shouted and whined about moving out for months and months, without doing anything about it, Big Sis manages to find somewhere she can afford, that is self contained and has neighbours with similar interests to her own, in less than one week.

She views the property on her own, and then the next day takes Grumpy Mum. The entrance isn’t ideal, but the agent assures them that the previous tenants have never complained about any problems with that. The flat is ideal as a place to start out, and Big Sis is already excited and it’s agreed that she will take the tenancy.

Two days later, Grumpy Mum and Big Sis go to the letting agency, hand over £500 and with that Big Sis becomes a householder in her own right. On their way home, they discuss how and when Big Sis will move into her new home. Grumpy Mum is assured that there is a friend with a van, who can help out in the middle of the following week. Big Sis has already done much of her packing, Grumpy Mum has invested in a ‘started pack’ consisting of the cleaning equipment and products needed to get the place up to scratch, so Big Sis plans to clean and decorate over the weekend and early the following week.

Over the weekend Big Sis drops in regularly and leaves with more and more of her ‘essential’ belongings, the original plan obviously having been abandoned. She has not slept at her former home since signing the tenancy agreement and getting her keys, despite her bed still being here. Her bedroom has been left with about a quarter of the packing left to do. Her bed has finally been dismantled, readying it for moving, but her ‘friend’ hasn’t appeared as yet. Her belongings are scattered throughout the house.

It doesn’t feel like there’s any ‘closure’ with this drawn out, chaotic move.” mutters Crap Dad, as he trips over another bag of belongings.

Woke up this mornin’…

18 06 2009

The mostly functional parents were woken at 5.30am by Big Sis throwing up into the toilet. This was followed shortly afterwards by LML pushing their bedroom door open saying “Ello” pointing at the bathroom and saying her big sisters name.

“Morning my love” mumbled CD. By this point GM had swung into action and was getting dressed.

“Big Sis isn’t well. It’s OK. You don’t need to get involved.” soothes GM to the clearly inquisitive 3 year old.

CD lifts LML and puts her beside him in bed as GM goes to see what’s wrong with Big Sis.

LML lies there sucking her thumb for a few moments and then begins to wriggle. “Bye” she says as she slides off GM’s side the bed, “bye, daddy.” She runs around the bed and kisses CD on the forehead and says “Bye” again.

Although he can hear GM telling LML to keep away CD can’t motivate himself to get out of bed to intervene.

Once the commotion in the bathroom has subsided and it is clear that they’ve all gone downstairs CD emerges from under the duvet, knowing that he can’t really lie in today. Today the mostly functional parents are doing the early morning routine with Little Sis. That’s getting her out of her cot, giving her breakfast, playing with her and then putting her back down for her morning nap.

When they arrive at the foster carers Little Sis is still asleep and they have time to have a cup of tea and chat with Pat and Fred. GM goes and collects Little Sis once it is clear that she is awake. Little sis is all giggles and smiles and seems really pleased to see GM.

Once it’s clear that she’s fully awake and she has had time to explore and see what’s going on CD gives Little Sis her breakfast. Unlike LML Little Sis eats her food with relish and she’s soon indicating that she’s had enough.

For the next couple of hours GM and CD swap roles, much like a tag team, as they play and entertain Little Sis.

Later in the morning Little Sis starts to show signs of tiredness. GM scoops up the little girl, sits her on her knee and spends the next ten minutes or so cuddling the thumb sucking infant.

Pat suggests that GM takes Little Sis and puts her down in her cot. Little Sis snuggles into GM’s shoulder as they leave the room and without any fuss whatsoever goes down into her bed. As GM closes the door there is a little groan, but nothing much and after a few moments of standing on the landing she makes her way back downstairs.

Another successful session completed the mostly functional parents leave, feeling that things are going so well.

Big Sis meets Little Sis

12 06 2009

Day two of introductions and it’s time for Big Sis to meet Little Sis.

As the visiting party are about to leave the house GM says to Big Sis, who has taken ages to get up and then even longer to get dressed and put on her make-up, “You not going on a date, you know!”

It doesn’t take long, once they are at the foster carers for Little Sis to start engaging with Big Sis. They sit opposite each other pulling faces and pressing foreheads together. Little Sis is fascinated with Big Sis’s jewellery and soon has her bangles and bracelets off, pulls out her earrings and puts her necklace in her mouth.

The time flies by, before the mostly functional family know it the hour that they had planned to stay turns into one and a half hours and then, as they are about to leave the foster mum says, “Would you like to take her for a walk around the block.” Of course they would! A twenty minute walk and they return with Little Sis contentedly sitting in her chair not the least bit fazed by being taken off with these strangers.

Ten minutes later the mostly functional family are saying their goodbyes and Little Sis is clearly falling asleep in Big Sis’s arms. The foster mum says to GM, “She’s really tired. Would you like to put her down.”

Little Sis disappears upstairs head snuggled into GM’s shoulder and is laid in her cot without any murmur of complaint.

Another successful visit concluded with the foster carers enthusing about how well it is all going.

Nesting #2

18 05 2009

As the door closes big sis let’s out a ‘whoop’ and cheers.

The golf clubs that have been taking room up under her bed, collecting dust for the past five years, have just been picked up by a ‘freecycler’ – that’s another of the big items to go.

The clear out is off to a good start, there’s just the big cupboard in LML’s bedroom to sort out, the big TV to get rid off, the broken printer, the bags of clothes, the carpet, the stuff behind the settee, the bike in need of repair  …

needs analysis

9 05 2009

When I asked Big Sis earlier today what she thought her needs were when Little Miss Loud (LML) came home to us, she said she didn’t have any!!

She did of course and it took a little exploring before we got around to them.

She needed everything explaining to her. She needed to know where we were in the process. She needed to have an opportunity to discuss some of the more complex issues that LML came with. This would often mean Big Sis discussing issues with us then coming back a couple of days later and wanting to discuss it more.

Though she was a bit blasé about it, she was going to lose her no1 daughter status and needed to know that we were still going to be there for her. She needed some reassurance. In fact, one of the things that came out of our discussion was that she wants to go out for a meal with us – just us, without LML. As a family we have always put an emphasis on eating together and we would often take Big Sis out for a meal in a restaurant as a celebration of one thing or another. We have continued to do that with LML included – but to be honest, she just isn’t quite ‘civilised’ enough for it to be relaxed yet.

One of the things Big Sis identified was that she needed to think about her relationship with LML. Big Sis has a little sister that lives with her mother. Big Sis needed to establish a new relationship with LML and to understand that it would be different to that of her birth sister. That, like us, she had to learn who LML is.

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