Sick Note.

19 12 2010

Spotty, snotty, smelly. LML and Lolly have been ill for the past two weeks.

If there was a market for snot then the mostly functional parents could have made a fortune.

The sleepless nights are now starting to take their toll. Dispositions are becoming frayed and fractious – and that’s just Grumpy Mum and Crap Dad.


Nursery blues

11 03 2010

Lolly is starting to attend nursery, and she is currently doing short(ish) visits building to 2 days a week.  She will be joining the ‘baby room’ at the nursery that LML attends, so she is familiar with the general environment (if not that particular room) and many of the staff.  Last week she was left for half an hour one day, then for about 5o minutes a couple of days later.  There were no tears, and she seemed to be taking it all in her stride.

Today was the first day that she went to stay whilst LML was at nursery.  LML spotted GM and Lolly making their way through the nursery room to the baby room almost right away.  They all said hello, exchanged kisses and hugs and GM explained that Lolly was going to spend some time in the baby room today and mum and dad would be back later to collect them both.

As soon as the pair went into the baby room, LML became utterly and completely distressed, throwing herself out of the arms of her carer; inconsolable.  This is a familiar experience for GM, but it was clear that she does not often behave like this at nursery.  Lolly was oblivious to the grieving sibling in the next room, desperately trying to claw her way into the room, though the door and the round window that the children can see through.  As soon as she was allowed into the baby room LML miraculously cheered up and she was soon exploring the space and playing with her sister.

When it was time for GM to leave the children it was agreed that LML would be allowed to choose whether she remained in the room with her sister or would go back into the main room of the nursery.  She opted to stay in the baby room.  GM gave them both a kiss goodbye, told them that she and daddy would return later and left the two children happily playing.

An hour and 50 minutes later the mostly functioning parents arrived back at the nursery and were greeted by LML’s shrieks of delight.  “Mummeee!  Daddeee!” resounded across the main room as soon as they entered.  They were told that after a little while LML was persuaded out of the baby room and happily played in the main room for the remainder of the day.

As CD and GM entered the baby room it rapidly became apparent that all was not well there.  CD immediately took the distraught Lolly from her key worker but as soon as she saw GM her wails of distress increased.  GM took her in her arms “We’re here Lolly, we’re here” she chanted as she tried to listen to the clearly frazzled key worker.  Lolly was inconsolable, hiccuping and sobbing her distress.  Eventually GM maneuvered around the key worker and found a sofa to sit on, and settling face to face with Lolly she rocked and soothed, cuddled and reassured the child until she began to calm.  As soon as the key worker began to talk to GM again, Lolly burst into fresh floods of tears, but GM could see that she had regained enough equilibrium to be soothed with rocking and cuddles and did not immediately need her full attention.

GM began to listen properly to what the key worker was saying

“She was ok to start with, just a few little moments of unhappiness, but lots of playing and fun in between;  I took her outside when she got upset and that seemed to do the trick.” she said as GM stroked Lolly, and rocked her back and forth,

“But she wouldn’t eat much of her tea and really started to get upset then.”  the key worker continued.  GM listened, looking from the key worker, to show she was attending, and back to Lolly to gain eye-contact and reassure her that she was there for her.

“As I said, she was ok at first and has only really been crying for this last bit, since tea-time.” the key worker shrugged and half smiled “it has to be done” she said, “to settle her in.  She’ll get there”.  Lolly’s little body was still shuddering a bit, but she was calmer, just hiccuping a little.

“It’s been about a third of the time she was here, that she’s been upset” the key worker explains “mostly just since tea-time..”

A little part of GM froze .. mostly since tea time .. her little girl has been crying for 30 or 40 minutes?  Inconsolably crying?

Internally she is has to steel herself, but it does not feel right …  It does ‘have to be done’, as GM will be returning to work within a couples of months, but she doesn’t want it to be so hard for her little girl.

It occurs to GM later, as she discussed it all with CD, that although they have been educating ‘the nursery’ about some of the issues that can arise for adopted and looked after children, this has not been directed at the baby room.  She had assumed some basic level of understanding of attachment, trauma and loss that actually should not be assumed.

GM knows that Lolly is not going to be less upset at being left, if the nursery staff in that room have a better understanding of what the 2 year old might be experiencing or feeling.  But some understanding has clearly helped other staff feel more empathy for LML, and Lolly needs that same chance.

Let the process of education begin … again.

a snip in time…

25 02 2010

On Monday Grumpy Mum picked up LML from the nursery as usual. When she arrived she was called to one side by one of LML’s key workers. ‘There’s been a bit of an incident. LML has injured a little boy. She cut above his upper lip with a pair of scissors. We don’t think he’ll need stitches.”

GM gulped internally and stammered out some apologies, but she was already wondering how it could have happened. Later, she tells Crap Dad what had happened. “I don’t understand why she had the scissors unsupervised, she never does at home” she states. “I saw a boy being ‘told off’ this morning because he’d cut up a feather when I dropped LML off” CD informed her.

On Wednesday the problem parents attended a meeting that had been planned some time. The meeting included LML’s key worker, the nursery’s special needs lead and LML’s clinical psychologist. The aim was to discuss the psychologists recommendations on how to support and manage LML whilst she’s at the nursery. For the past two years the mostly functioning parents have been trying to get the nursery to increase the amount of one-to-one support LML receives, with very little success. The psychologists report and recommendations, which the problem parents had read weeks prior to the meeting, was heavily focussed on structured one-to-one work being undertaken with LML, emphasising that LML needs clear routines throughout the day and that significant interactions should be limited to a few key members of staff. The problem parents, discussing the report prior to the meeting thought, ‘they’ll never accept all this’. However, as they went through the report it became clear that things had changed.

When the opportunity came up to talk about the ‘scissors incident’ LML’s key worker said, “We’ve reviewed LML’s support and if it’s OK with you, we’re going give LML a designated worker whenever she moves into a new area of the nursery. I’m also going to give her more one-to-one support, with another worker coming to help with my group.”

The problem parents left feeling pleased about the outcome of the meeting and frustrated that it had taken such an incident to achieve what they’d been requesting for so long.

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.

Quote(s) of the day

26 07 2009

Grumpy Mum to Little Miss Loud, “Right, if I can’t watch ‘singing in the rain” then the telly is going off!”


GM to LML, who is being told off for hitting her little sister (again),

GM – “You must not hit your little sister”

LML – “Meow… Meow… Meow…”

GM – “Talk to me as a little girl, not a cat!”.”

Not another case of swine flu

23 07 2009

Little sis has had a temperature of over 38C over the past 36 hours. The problem parents aren’t feeling too good and LML is starting to hot up. With the BBC reporting that there have been over 100,000 new cases of swine flu over the past 7 days every cough, fever and sneeze has become a moment of anxiety.

Little Sis spent most of the day yesterday listlessly lolling in the mostly functional parents arms and today whingeing about how uncomfortable she’s feeling.

The thought of a houseful of swine flue victims really does fill the mostly functional parents with dread.


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.

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.

4.00am Blues

6 06 2009

Friday 6.45pm
LML is splashing about in the bath with CD trying to maintain some sort of control. GM shouts, “Goodbye my loves” as she leaves the house for an evening with her sisters at a cousins birthday party. As the door closes LML shouts, “Bye mummy, bye”. “That’s right, we’ll see mummy tomorrow.”

Saturday 4.20am
Crap Dad turns over, half conscious, to kick what he initially thinks is the cat. Almost straight away he realises that it isn’t the cat, he could feel cotton. It isn’t GM, she won’t be back until much later. Then he realises it must be LML. She’s half way down the bed, so he rolls back the quilt. Then the questions start flooding his brain. ‘How long has she been here?’ ‘I must have been sound asleep to miss her coming into the room’ ‘Did she come in upset?’ ‘What did she think when she found out that GM wasn’t here?’ ‘Should I put her back into bed?’ ‘What if I wake her up when I do it?’

Then, Little Miss Loud jumps up, “Boo!” she says and beings laughing.

Saturday 4.22am

CD looks at his phone, sees the time and says to LML, “It’s still nighttime my love, you need to go back to bed.” he picks her up and she snuggles into his shoulder as he carries her into her bedroom. “Go back to sleep my love and I’ll see you in the morning.” he kisses her on the forehead and leaves the room.

Saturday 4.40am
CD lays in bed desperately trying to get back to sleep as one thought after another rushes through his mind, work, GM’s work, the arrival of Little Sis, the impending visit of Little Sis’s foster carers, introductions, he could use this as a blog later and, most of all, will he ever get to sleep again.

Saturday 5.45am
“Daddy, Daddieee… Look Monkey! says LML as she wakes him from his deep sleep

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