Absent Parent

10 07 2010

The screaming is intense, much more intense than usual. Crap Dad rinses the flannel he’d gone to get and returns to the dinning room. Lolly is very distressed, her face is various shades of purple, he mouth wide open and the tears are starting to form and roll down her cheeks. She continues to scream.

Crap Dad tries to comfort her. He asks LML what has happened, she looks at him blankly. He scans Lolly but can’t see anything. He continues to try and sooth her but the screaming just gets louder. “Has LML hit you? Show me where it hurts, baby.” More screaming, her face changing colours like an over excited chameleon.

He checks again, asking, “Does it hurt here?” Then he sees the marks start to appear. Millimetres to the the side of her right eye four very small welts start to appear. Evenly spaced they can only mean one thing, he scours the table and floor, “Where is that fork?”



23 02 2010

Lolly’s birth-parents named her “Lollo-Rosso” (lets say), and this is what she was called by the Mostly Functioning Parents and their extended families, until they found out that her foster carers had shortened her name to “Lolly”.  Little Miss Loud was given pictures of her younger sibling, when the Mostly Functioning Parents decided that they could adopt her, and all these pictures were referred to as “Lolly”, so that is what LML has always called her, although her full name is still used by other members of the family on occasion.

Two days ago, as clear as day, LML shouts “Lollo-Rosso” down the stairs.  She has been calling her that about 70% of the time since then.



4 02 2010

Grumpy Mum watches as her two young daughters walk down the hallway, and disappear into the living room.

Little Sis (now known as Lolly, because she is so laid back, and lolls around so much) started to walk entirely independently two weeks ago, and her development in every area seems to have been vertical since then.

GM feels her heart swell, as she sees the girls negotiate around one-an-other, LML accommodating her young sibling in a way that was inconceivable even a month earlier.

A few minutes later GM hears Lolly laughter and LML squeals and takes a peek into the room.  The children are playing their own version of peek-a-boo, enjoying and entertaining each other.


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.

Consultation Exercise

1 08 2009

LML was born three months prematurely and as a result of that (and some genetic factors) has experienced global developmental delay. The mostly functioning parents go to see the consultant paediatrician every six months or so, in order to monitor her development and progress.

Little Sis has also been diagnosed with global developmental delay and the mostly functioning parents attended the first joint appointment, for both girls.

“LML is doing really well” he confirms, after the first half hour of the consultation, “we still need to do some work around her speech and concentration, but she is progressing really well.”

The mostly functional parents use the opportunity to complain about the the lack of a speech therapist, after LML’s last one left for another job nearly five months ago and hasn’t yet been replaced.

The consultant acknowledges that there is a problem in this area and says he’ll see what he can do.

He then examines Little Sis, asking lots of questions about the mostly functional parents experience of her.

Having examined her and looked at her notes he says that he feels she is doing really well. That her ‘social skills’ are in place and that these are the foundations for development. He comments that it is too early to be sure and that things could go either way, but that if she continues to develop in the way she is she should continue a ‘normal’ pattern of development.

He finishes by saying that they are both doing really well and that he’ll arrange another appointment for 3 to 4 months time.

The room is in chaos when the mostly functional parents leave, each of them with a child under an arm. Are you sure you’ve got everything? asks the consultant. “Yeah, we think so” comes the reply.

As the mostly functional parents wheel their charges, in their pushchairs, along the path home LML asks for a drink.

CD opens the bag to find that it’s not in there. “Oh no. She left it in the garage in the consultants office.” he says.

“Its all right. I’m back there next week to get Little Sis’s eyes tested” states GM wearily.

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!”.”

Days Like These

17 07 2009

CD stays down stairs with LML, whilst GM takes Little Sis up stairs with her. Divide and rule may be effective, and at least Little Sis won’t be getting clonked on the head.

GM returns without Little Sis, having decided that she was ready for a nap. CD is looking a bit stressed.

“I don’t know how,” he begins “but LML managed to get BS’s nail varnish remover, and she had it in her cups and it’s all over the carpet!”

LML is happily running from room to room, and much to the relief of both parents she was clearly just playing at pouring, and hasn’t drunk any of the vile chemical.

GM gets the ‘Wet Vac’ out, as the carpet and room stink of chemicals, and proceeds to wash the carpet. As the machine is out, she decides to clean the carpet in the dinning room, which is pretty filthy, with the debris of the two sloppy eaters.

The carpet is soon transformed from grubby to vibrant colours and GM moves onto the mat by the back door which has the cat bowls on it. That is soon showing it’s original colours again too, and GM is feeling pleased with a productive mornings work.

CD has by this point tried to put LML to bed, but she just shouted at Little Sis until she woke her and refused to remain in her bed. He gives up trying to make the tired child go to bed, settles the baby back to sleep and brings LML down stairs with him.

“She’ll have to go to bed later” he sighs.

As GM is putting away the Vac, she hears CD shout in frustration. LML has poured a whole bowl of sugar over the just cleaned mat, and is busily rubbing it in!

Later in the day, GM goes up stairs to run the bath – it’s that time of the day at last.

“LML! Why have you done that?” she hears CD roar “just sit there”. This is soon followed by the distressed cries of Little Sis.

LML has found a half drunk cup of tea and has poured it all over the dining room carpet – it is not looking quite so clean any more. As soon as CD starts to clean up the mess, LML takes the opportunity to go into the other room and hit, poke and push her younger sister.

After cuddling and calming the distressed infant, GM marches LML up the stairs for her bath. Once the child is ready for bed they read a book together and cuddle on the sofa. GM sighs, breaths in the scent of the child sitting relaxed on her lap, she wonders how long it will be before things settle back into a ‘normal’ routine.

keeping in touch

11 07 2009

CD, LML and BS have gone away for the weekend, leaving GM and Little Sis Home alone. CD’s brother is getting married, but the mostly functional parents decided that it was too soon after coming home to subject Little Sis to a night away from home and a big family function. CD and GM keep in touch by text …

Friday Evening

17:24 – GM to CD .. Little Sis has managed to get the washing basket over her, and has been crawling about like a turtle! Cute.

17:32 – CD to GM .. BS has just arrived. Within 5 minutes of us getting here LML and the dog tried to make a run for it down the street. Door now locked.

18:08 – GM to CD .. Just caught Little Sis stuffing face with cat food. Was very upset when I had finished wiping her mouth out! Urg disgusting.

19:26 – CD to GM .. Everyone gone out to dress the pavilion. Just gone to the kitchen to find the dogs dinner in the bin. Poor dog!

19:28 – GM to CD .. at least she wasn’t eating it!

20:22 – CD to GM .. put LML to bed before 8. been up and out of bed a couple of times. Hopefully that’s it now. Had to sit with her and read a couple of books.

20:23 – GM to CD .. is she ok? I nearly cried when you went for the train!

20:27 – CD to GM .. she’s fine. Has been running around after the dog and loved it. She was fab on the way down here

20:37 – CD to GM .. up again! Hopefully she’ll sleep late in the morning.

20:38 – GM to CD .. she’ll get off eventually. xxx

20:59 – CD to GM .. LML asleep, I hope. Phone you later.

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