back to school blue

21 09 2015

GM is met by LIttle Miss and her TA as always.  She can tell it hasn’t been a good day by the look of defeat and depression on the face of the dedicated and loving TA.

“It hasn’t been a good day” she confirms as they meet.  “Little Miss has hit a number of children today, she has threatened to hit a number of members of staff and has been swearing and aggressive.  I have worked hard with her to calm down but every time she has seemed calm she has immediately started again the moment I have let her move away from me.”

GM listens and nods and has nothing to suggest.  Everyone knows that this is no longer the tight setting for Little Miss.  She is not coping and the school are also struggling to cope. The review meeting to amend her statement had been planned for the end of September months ago.

As GM leaves the school ground another teacher runs up to them, calling. The head teacher would like to have a word.  GM and the girls return to the school and go to see the head in her office.  She repeats the litany of awfulness and says that she is confident that they will be receiving complaints from parents tomorrow.  She tells GM that they will have to undertake a new risk assessment and it is looking like Little Miss is going to have to move to more intensive 121, maybe even solely 121, in order to ensure the safety of other children.

GM is due back in school for a governors meeting the following day and has agreed to meet with the head before the meeting.

GM is not really looking forward to a Happy Birthday.

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The land of no

26 07 2014

“No LML! Nonono”

GM translates for her daughter “LML, be careful with the walking stick. It must stay pointed at the ground love. Yes that’s right, well done.” In the first few hours of their visit the “no’s”  come thick and fast. The interpretation is exhausting, but very much needed.

Much as GM loves her in laws, visits are always difficult for LML. GM has to remind herself not to internalise her daughters stress and not to take offence at Nan’s lack of understanding.

Still, GM finds that she smarts a little when LML is told she can have no more ice cream, when Lolly is tucking onto her second bowl.

LML is lovely. She is loud. She cannot do as she is told”. She does not understand threats of consequences. When she is stressed she does not stop moving. And nan just does not get it.

GM and CD manage LML’s behaviors, anxiety and stress as best they can. They model the scaffolding and support they give her, to help LML cope and to show nan how to help their daughter do better. GM sighs. Nan just doesn’t seem to get it.





Super star

20 02 2014

LML asks for a packet of crisps and objects when she is told “no”.  The previous day LML was in hospital having 3 baby teeth and 2 grown up teeth extracted. All the work that needed doing was carried out under a general anaesthetic. 

The wait to go down to surgery was over 3 hours and LML only started to wobble with the restrictions of being on a hospital ward for the last 10 minutes. Once in surgery GM’s confidence in her daughter was proven as LML sailed through having the surgical cannula fitted. (GM did cry when the anaesthetic took effect and her beautiful lively girl became unconscious!)

When the anxious mostly functional parents were called into recovery LML was not yet conscious. Gm gently stroked her daughters hand and told her they were with her … To the utter surprise of the staff, LML immediately sat up, saw CD and shouted out his name with joy! She soon settled back down, but was as she always is on waking .. cheerful, chatty and lovely. None of the dire warnings of fighting, crying and general grumpiness were displayed. LML was a star.

Back on the ward to recover she continued to be chirpy and cooperated with everything that needed to be done. She had her drink, ate her jelly and wotsits (together!), stayed on her bed, had a little sleep and was great when woken from that to go home.

CD and GM could not be more proud of their superstar girl.





“The work of my children.”

15 02 2014

GM has been hovering around the edges of the adoption social since coming across it at a conference back in November.   It’s a place for fellow and prospective adopters to link up and share stories and experiences. The theme for the weekly adoption shout out is the work of my children and this gets GM thinking.  There’s the work involved in raising Lolly and LML, this labour of love that is the main focus of the mostly functional parents energy. It is never ending and all consuming, but when GM thinks about the title it is the pictures stuck up in the hallway, the paintings and objects that litter the house, the school books and the tablet pictures that she thinks off. It is the work that the girls have done.

Over the week GM studies the pictures, painted piggy banks and ducks, the self portraits on the tablet, the collages and colouring books. The tale they would mostly tell, to a stranger entering the house is that it is inhabited by toddlers. Maybe a three and a half or 4 year old. LML and Lolly have just about reached the same stage as one another in terms of their mark making. The mostly functional parents are thrilled that both the 5 and 8 year olds have recently become much more deliberate in their mark making, indeed LML has started not only colouring in, but colouring inside the lines!! In colours other than black!!

It seems that maybe LML is eventually becoming interested in, or at least aware of, the product of her work as much as the process. Until recently all creative activities have very much been focused on the act of producing, rather than on the end result .. To the extent of having to battle LML for the biscuit mix, just to get some in the oven! Baking doesn’t seem to have moved on much, but in other creative areas LML and Little Miss are each making their own progress.

Both children seem to have taken a step towards understanding the written word, both writing their names over and over, repeating the read, write, ink rhymes (“nk, I think I stink! nk”). Lolly sits with the Which? magazine on her lap, pointing at different letters. “d d d dad”.

GM remembers drawing, colouring and making as a child and hopes that one day her children may be able to develop the interest and skills to enjoy this type of ‘work’. If only so that they could self entertain for more than a few minutes without the aid of electronics!





Naming

7 02 2014

“Have we got any tiger bread mum?” asks LML.

GM is expecting the question, as it is the same every morning. “I don’t think so” she replies groggily, “I’ll see what dad got yesterday.” She holds up the remains of the french stick and LML nods and asks the next standard question.

“Can I have the end please mum?”

GM cuts a few inches off the end of the bread cuts it on half and slavers butter on it. She passes the plate to LML who asks what type of bread it is. “Its a French Stick” GM says.

“Hmmm, French Stick” repeats LML, tucking away another descriptor for a type of bread, to add to her ever growing list of important bread.





Role on the weekend

24 01 2014

Message to GM from CD – “So, LML escaped from school twice, once out of the grounds at the front. Exposed herself, shouting look at my Tilly. Did very little work and did lots of shouting.”

GM sighs. It has been a very tough week for LML and lovely TA. She isn’t sure what else they can do to help get things back on a more even keel … She believes that LML is feeling confused and terribly insecure following her TA’s absence last week and has no other way of expressing how unsafe she feels the world is, than by her behaviour. She tries to explain this over and over again at school,  but can see that it isn’t really understood or even accepted.

GM and CD suggest strategies and ideas to help, but it all feels insignificant in the wake of the chaos that LML is currently inhabiting at school.





The week that was

19 01 2014

GM sits on the sofa. Its ten past six on a Sunday morning. LML has her first breakfast and juice, GM her cup of tea. Cbeebies is on, LML mesmerised by the Teletubbies. GM thinks about the day ahead, about what she needs to do to have a better day, for them all to have a better day. Stay calm, remember PLACE, be playful and spend a chunk of the day outdoors .. Its a plan of sorts.

GM sighs. It’s been a tough week. Lovely TA has been off sick all week. GM purses her lips as she thinks about LML’s teacher waxing lyrical about how well LML has dealt with the changing TA’s, how much more compliant (GM’s word!), focused .. It feels like the list goes on. The teacher doesn’t see the anxiety, stress, anger, confusion that comes out at home. LML misses Lovely TA desperately, but doesn’t speak of it. She talks a lot about missing her lost Cheeky Monkey (that is a whole other sad tale), hits out at Lolly and generally finds self regulation impossible without significant support from the mostly functional parents.

All week LML has been enjoying the challenge of getting into the mostly functional parents bedroom early in the morning, the focus to ensure that both parents are awake and available. This means that whichever parent has got up first has to be hyper vigilant to stop her going upstairs. Any lapse has resulted in a bolt for the stairs and a early awakening for the parent who is supposed to be getting a lie in. They are tired, feeling stretched thin. Everything seems a little more brittle, a bit more precarious. Really it’s the same as always .. Just more so, thinks GM, as she sits LML on her knee for the fifth time that morning. “Feel your heart racing sweetheart, drop your shoulders. Take a deep breath and blow out slow slow slow ..” She instructs and explains and hopes that one day LML will understand what it is to be calm.








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