18 09 2012

GM arrives at the clinic with LML, who clearly remembers the environment from their previous visit. LML immediately heads for the water cooler. The waste tray is overflowing which surprises and fascinates LML. GM manages to distract her from the cooler for 5 minutes, until LML decides she wants to go to the toilet. GM shows LML to the toilet at which point she starts to shout like she is being slaughtered, so they return to the waiting room.

By this point GM has realised that she, indeed needs to pee. LML wants “to go wee” again so GM again takes her to the disabled toilet.  This time, when she opens the door she maneuvers LML into the very spacious room. LML is shouting that she does not need to wee … actually she is shouting “NO! Nononononnooo!” GM explains that LML does not need to do anything, but “mummy needs a wee”. LML continues with her “no’s” and GM has to pee at the same time as preventing her daughter leaving the room while she is “doing the business”.

Soon after, they are called from the waiting room.  They follow the nurse and psychologist to the (toyless) room. The marvelous nurse says “shall we find some toys?” to LML. She spends most of the rest of the session playing, throughout the whole of the CAMHS unit, with LML – whilst also managing to get her height and weight (BIG brownie points to Nurse Sula!).

GM and the psychologist discuss LML’s medical history and the immediate prospect of a prescription for stimulant medication.  When LML pops into the room, the psych attempts a blood pressure reading, which is not successful, even on GM’s knee. On the next passing GM is ready and gathers LML onto her knee, holds her close (gently restraining her), and whispers to her, telling her what is happening, how long it will last, that she is OK and loved and it is OK .. there will be a squeeze, it’s OK, she is safe, its OK .. through this LML is tense but trusting. She is tense but holds her sooo tense body close to GM’s; she plants a hard kiss on GM’s cheek, then again and again. She moves her mothers head so that she can kiss her mouth. She squeezes her mums face and all the time GM reassures LML that “it is OK, I love you, you are safe” .. and then it is over and LML is off again.

The details of the month trial of ADHD medication is agreed, and the psychologist asks GM how she is feeling about it.  GM manages to express some of her reservations and concerns (again), and talk about possible side effects.

LML is reshod and encouraged to tidy some of the toys that she has scattered throughout the room and building. The psychologist leaves to make out the prescription as GM, LML and nurse Sula go back to the waiting room. The psych comes back and hands the prescription to GM. Mother and daughter leave, call into the supermarket on the way home for bread and wine, and go home.

Aunty J has cooked dinner for the girls (she took Lolly to the playground from school, which involves another story).  10 minutes after she arrives home LML is sitting down to eat.  Aunty J goes into the kitchen to get the girls a drink and finds GM sitting on a child’s chair crying into a tea towel.  She strokes and pats her head as she sorts out the drinks and kisses her as she leaves the room.  GM is very grateful.


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.

Safe hands

15 02 2012

LML comes home from her play scheme looking decidedly poorly. She had slowed down to a worrying shuffle.

“Me feel poorly mummy.” Says the sad looking little girl, patting her tummy.

The family have their dinner, and LML tries her best to eat a little spaghetti, sitting up on the sofa under her quilt. She doesn’t eat very much and it rapidly becomes clear that she is feeling poorlier.  CD finds her in the hall, trying to remove her nappy, looking distressed and uncomfortable.

LML manages to walk up five steps before she stops, clutching her tummy, crying “wee wee mummy, wee wee.”.  GM scoops her up and carries her the rest of the way, placing her on the floor when they get to the landing.  GM goes and gets a nappy from the bedroom and starts to steer the ailing child towards the bathroom.

Suddenly all the signs are there … GM goes into catch mode … LML clutches at the arm in front of her and throws up into the cupped hands .. somehow GM manages to open the bathroom door and get to the loo without spilling a drop from her overflowing hands. A quick rinse of her hands and then a dash to the sick child to catch the next lot, which goes down the sink.  GM manages to get the weeping child to the sink to finish off being sick.

LML is clear that she just wants to go to bed.  By the time GM has got LML comfortable in bed,cleaned the sink, washed her hands (three times!) and got water and sick bowl, LML is sleeping soundly.  GM sits for 5 minutes, looking at her beautiful, pale, poorly daughter, checking that she is breathing ok and then goes down stairs.

“Never, not in a million years, would I have anticipated,” she says to CD, ” .. there is absolutely no way .. I would have thought it completely impossibe that one of the things I would be really good at, as a parent, would be catching vomit!”

Heal thy self

15 01 2012

As always happens after an LML related appointment, CD and GM have a bit of a de-brief.

Earlier in the week it followed a their second CAMHS appointment, which they attended without LML.

“I don’t feel like we got very far” says CD, “we didn’t get any further than the last session.”

“No” agrees GM, “we can only hope they actually read LML’s CPR before the next appointment. They have had it fir over a month.”

“I can’t believe that they asked us what we should do in the next session – who are the flippin therapists for goodness sake, us or them!!??”

Regroup! Regroup!

30 12 2011

The Mostly Functional Parents had both been looking forward to a whole week with no work, no school and no nursery.  By the end of the week they are on their knees with exhaustion, frustration and disappointment.

They are pretty much in agreement that they ‘got it wrong’ – the week has been too unstructured and unplanned, too spontaneous, too wet and cold and just too too much for them all.

So, the next holidays the parents will remember a few rules

  • it’s ok to divide and rule
  • the weekly planner that is created for Little Miss Loud during term time will continue during the vacations – for every week
  • activities will be planned in advance – even vague ones like ‘an outing’
  • distance makes the heart grow fonder … time off nursery and play scheme do not need to coincide – indeed, it should be very well planned and executed if it happens at all when not actually ‘on a holiday’
  • going to bed earlier and drinking a bit less might not be what the beleaguered parents want to do, but it’s probably for the best.

So, the Mostly Functional Parents need to put away spontaneity and impulse for now and really really knuckle down to predictability, planning and routine.



29 10 2011

“Mummy” says LML,

“I” she points to her chest,

“Love” she spreads her hands over her chest,

“You” she points to GM and ends with a dazzling smile.

3.15pm to 5.15pm

24 06 2011

“I can cope with talking to her teacher about her attacking another child repeatedly, whilst they tried to stop her…”

“I can cope with  her throwing herself around on the floor of the bus, shrieking, with everyone looking at us…”

“I can cope with her pouring the water out of the jug over the window and floor as soon as we got home…”

“I can cope with her constant shouting and shrieking…”

“I can cope with her attacks on Lolly…”

“but I am fucked off that we can be having such a lovely positive time, and she takes a tiny opportunity to cover the living room in soy sauce.”

New hair day

17 06 2011

GM arrives home, and before the door is half open LML is shouting “WOW Mummy. Mummy home!” at the top of her lungs.  She launches herself down the hall into her mothers arms, “wow mummy, wow. Snip snip hair”.  She quickly strokes her mums face and hair, provides a kiss full of passion and races back into the living room.

GM sighs a deeply content sigh as she gives the waiting Lolly a cuddle and kiss.


play time

8 06 2011

LML comes into the mostly functional parents bedroom at 7am, followed by Lolly.  She has one of their bags over her shoulder.

“Me going shopping,” she announces,  “bye bye, shopping now” she says as she leaves the room waving, with Lolly following behind her, also waving.

Sometimes it’s those simple things that give so much hope.

oh la la

3 06 2011

Grumpy mum is very pleased to have finally figured out how to do french plaits  … Little Miss Loud has been very patient for the last two evenings, letting mum fiddle with her hair before bedtime.

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