Small things

28 02 2015

GM is watching Lolly at gymnastics, chatting with another mum. She has already explained that Lolly has trouble processing multiple instructions and retaining routines. The conversation moves on and the other mum asks one of the killer questions …

“How many parties does she have this weekend? We only have one this weekend but last weekend she had three!” Another mum joins in and the conversation soon moves on.

This gives GM time to scape her bruised and battered heart off the floor and put her sadness back in its box. Lolly has been invited to one party in this school year. LML has not been invited to any. For over two years.





Can’t or won’t?

4 03 2014

As GM walks by the living room door she hears CD saying “you wouldn’t be cold if you hadn’t lost your fleece at school Lolly.” Unusually he sounds irritated. GM sighs … It is irritating. The mostly functional parents have had to replace so many jumpers and cardies, shorts and sports tops since September. Even a pair of (expensive) wellies.

It seems that Lolly is expected to be able to keep track of her clothes and equipment now that she is in year 1. The mostly functional parents have an on going conversation about whether Lolly can keep track. She is not as emotionally mature as many of her class mates, nor educationally. Developmentally she is probably about 12 to 18 months behind many of her peers. GM wonders if that is ‘all’ it is though, or whether there is more to Lollies apparent inability to keep track of her belongings.

At home she often looses her current favourite object or toy, and will have the bemused patents searching for days. She often puts things in a safe place and is then unable to remember where it is.  These things will often turn up weeks later, in bizarre and unusual places. Like finding the golden purse with current object of desire wedged between some DVDs on a shelf.  This ability to loose things extends to her most precious blanky and toy doddies. Her ratty, scratty holey blanket, that came home with her is no longer allowed anywhere other than home or in the car, due to the many retraced steps and waves of relief when it has been found.

After bed time CD and GM again mull over Lollies tendency to loose things. GM mostly believes that the loss of yet another pair of glasses is probably deliberate, but is not so sure about the clothes. They talk in circles, not really feeling that they understand what, if any, the problem is.
….
A few days later CD returns from Lolly’s parents evening meeting. Lolly is lavished with praise for the progress she is making in phonics, in particular how well she is doing with her blending.  CD tells GM that Mrs F is really pleased with the progress she has made, but .. But they continue to be concerned about Lolly’s ability to retain her learning. Not only learning, she has not seed to have internalised any of the classroom routines, and needs prompts to move between activities frequently. CD asked Mrs F to be more specific, and she described a particular daily routine. Every morning all the children in KS1 split into ability groups for phonics, with Lolly being in the reception group.  At the end the children return to their classroom, get a book and sit on the carpet to do independent reading for 5 or 10 minutes. Every day, Lolly returns to the classroom and will stand, confused, until the teacher or TA directs her to the books and carpet. Every day!  The mostly functional parents are quite shocked to hear that she has so little grasp of the class routines.  This seems to be much more significant than a penchant for loosing her jumpers.

CD delves into Lolly’s book bag … “This is some of the good work Lolly has been doing” he says, “and these are the forms we need to fill in for the needs assessment that they want to get in motion.”

GM goes to bed feeling quietly sad and bad. She wonders if they would have picked up on this earlier if LML’s significant needs hadn’t overshadowed Lolly’s?





“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!





Macabre?

8 02 2014

GM runs from bed to bed, playing the doctor to the girls patients.  Lolly puts the bandage under her nose and days “doctor. I’m Grandma J”, “Oh, is this your cannula? Like grandma’s” GM asks. This confirmed, the game progresses, involving inhalers, the need to sit up, struggling to breath and a very good simulation of being confused. Indeed, Lolly acts out her and GM’s visit to the hospice that GM’s mum is currently in. GM plays along, feeling slightly uncomfortable, but suspecting that her discomfort is more her bag, and not to do with the play being ‘wrong’ in any way.

The play moves on, leaving GM feeling slightly confused herself!





The eyes have ’em

4 02 2014

GM receives a text from CD “Erm…. Um…. (Whispers tentatively)… Lolly lost her glasses in school today”

GM can’t delete the expletive that bursts out, and heads in the office turn in her direction. She explains that these are the new (2 weeks old) glasses, that were fixed last week, after Lolly pulled one of the arms off. These replaced the last pair that were broken and mislaid repeatedly, so were replaced with a more comfortable, better fitting pair. There were the other two pairs as well of course, one run over in a car park, the other ‘accidentally’ dropped in a river.

GM is just glad that after the last visit she told CD (in no uncertain terms) that he would be going to the opticians the next time!





Drip. Drip. Drip.

7 01 2014

It’s a conversation that GM has become familiar with over the past couple of months.  LML goes through her teddies “Monkey? Who gave me that?”, “Betty bear?”, “Stripy Cat”. She lists her soft toys as GM confirms the gifter .. “Mummy & daddy”, “Aunty J”, “we did”.

Today is slightly different .. “Who gave me this” she asks, holding up a white teddy that usually lives in a  box under the bed.  “That was a gift to Lolly from your birth parents LML.”

“Do I have one?” she asks.

“Of course you do, look the gifts from your BP’s are here, safe in this box”, GM pulls the box from under the bed. The girls have been playing with the clothes and toys inside it for weeks. “We keep them in here to keep them safe”.

Lolly goes to bed half an hour later snuggling up with the teddy her birth mum gave to her.





Phew

28 12 2013

Everyone is tired, LML lies on the sofa, wrapped up in GM’s new fleece, Lolly quietly plays with Christmas toys. The mostly functional parents are both slightly glassy eyed. It feels like the ‘worst’ might be over though, for now. Christmas is done, the three days of visiting, hours spent in the car and a totally wired LML.

A long walk, including a spontaneous meet up with the boys, and it’s been a much calmer evening.

Plenty of walks planned for the coming week!





Time, fun and resiliance

8 09 2012

“It’s five years since LML came home you know, and three since Lolly arrived.” says Crap Dad as the Mostly Functional Parents settle down at the end of another day.

“It is, isn’t it…” reflected Grumpy Mum. “It’s been one of those days, one of those weeks hasn’t it?” she sighs and  contnues “Today was great. At the park June told me that LML went up to her and spoke to her a few times, initiating the interactions – LML’s never done that before she said.  In fact I saw her going up to a number of people to speak to them. She just seems more confident.

And Lolly… she was great too. She’s so confident. Did you see her throwing herself about on the scrambling net and having such a great time on the rope swing.”

Crap Dad nods and smiles. “It was a good day today. I think they both needed a sleep this morning though, particularly Lolly; she was so knackered after her first week at school.  But this afternoon they both really enjoyed themselves, although they didn’t engage with the den making much.”

“It has been one of those weeks hasn’t it?  Full on, as usual. Did you talk to LML’s TA’s about the ADHD diagnosis? We need to tell them in advance so that they can monitor the effect of the medication” says Grumpy Mum.  “You know, we’ve missed such an opportunity to blog  about the whole CAMHS thing. It’s too late now but they’re so wishy-washy, it would have been fun retelling some of those sessions.”

“Not as much as the camping weekend.” CD says, laughing.  “God! The kids didn’t cope at all with the lack of their normal routine … we’ll really have to work on that next time we go camping. I was telling June about how they were in and out of peoples tents and caravans, no respecters of peoples privacy at all, that pair!”

GM nods, “Yeah, and Lolly’s last day at nursery and first day at school – she looks so good in her new school uniform.  I’m glad she is such a performer – we have some lovely pictures of her first couple of days – we never managed that with LML”

“The summer playscheme that LML has gone to.” adds CD “They still don’t get her need for structure and routine, but at least they have now allocated a key worker to her. At least it  seems that her days were a bit more focused.”

“Though did you hear what her TA was saying the other day?  That her heart sank when they were doing some number work and LML counted ‘one, two, eight…’ She said, ‘We spent all of last year getting her to count from one to ten.’ I think it’s just a blip though, she’s been counting one to ten all summer long.”

“Yeah, we should have blogged about the Safe Base training too. That would have been really good.” says GM “I know why CAHMS referred us to it, but there was no needs analysis done, and I’m not convinced that they know the philosophy that underpins Safe Base, it’s focus on therapeutic interventions rather than there more medicalised approach, or the fact that we’ve done so much of that Theraplay based intervention already. We didn’t learn that much from that did we, though it did help refresh and rejuvenate the work we do with the kids.”

“Then there was that whole thing about you losing your job.” CD interjects “I don’t think that many people would believe that a national charity would behave so badly to a member of their staff.”

“And passing your driving test GM, getting a car, our first drive as a family and how the kids have become complete pains in the arse, biting and hitting each other almost every journey.”

“Yeah, the biting, what are we going to do about LML biting Lolly? Have you seen Lolly’s arms, they are black and blue? I had to explain them to her teacher and she sort of just gave me this glazed look!” says GM, shaking her head.

“It had been a good summer though, I was dreading it at the start but I think we got the balance about right. Loads of playfulness, plenty of activities and structure … lots if structure.”

“Yeah, we should have blogged more, we missed some golden opportunities”

“Yes, we really must make the effort to record what’s happened or else we’ll forget.”

“And its funny too.”

“Hilarious” sighs Crap Dad.





Question and answers

24 02 2012

Grumpy Mum, “What would you like for dinner Lolly?”

“Pudding”

“You can’t have pudding for dinner.” replies GM.

“Cake?”

“No”

“Ice cream?”

“No”

“Buns?”

“No”

“Yoghurt?”

“No”

“Sweets?”

“No,  you can’t just have deserts for dinner.  How about some baked beans instead?”

“Yes please” replies  Lolly eagerly.





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.








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