Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bye-bye birth family!

Saturday mornings are almost always difficult. Mini is usually still tired and adjusting to a few days at home. This weekend was the same…but the whole weekend was difficult. Meltdowns a-plenty.

Because Mini can rarely do quiet play on his own, we try to do a fair amount at the weekend to keep him busy, but like to give him quiet time too, so he can rest and catch up after a busy week at school. This weekend we had planned geocaching, a park trip, baking, a visit to nanna and grandad’s for Sunday lunch. Other than being late on Sunday as Mini had a major screaming meltdown as we were about to leave, each activity went well. But the downtime between each was horrific – time outs (for screaming and hitting) and time-ins for other less desirable behaviour more or less constantly between each activity. Tiring for us all.

At one point quite out of the blue Mini started repeating over and over that he’d come from my tummy. I corrected him once, but left it at that and offered cuddles.

We’ve had weekends like this before. So didn’t really think too much of it, until Tuesday…

On our social workers advice, we placed a frame full of photos in Mini’s room. Him in the centre, with a photo of him, me and the NC above, and then individual photos of birth mum, birth dad, me and the NC all around. It’s always been there and Mini knows who they are.
Tuesday morning Dollop asked to be lifted so she could see them. Mini immediately asked for them to be removed, and replaced with photos of Dollop. This caught me by surprise somewhat but I agreed that after school he could help me choose which photos we should put in. And he was happy with that.

Then we came downstairs and whilst sitting at the breakfast table Mini spotted two envelopes that I’d left out to post. Nosy child that he is, he wanted to know what they were – one was a birthday card (for my uncle if you must know!), one was a questionnaire. ‘But who for mummy?’ – I explained it was for the adoption agency. Mini immediately shouted ‘but I don’t want to go to new parents again’, threw himself on the floor and sobbed his heart out.
I picked him up and hugged him so tightly, and promised him over and over and over that he wasn’t going anywhere! Once he calmed down I was able to explain that the agency wanted us to help find other mummies and daddies to become parents to other boys and girls. ‘That’s a good idea mummy!’.

Is this why our weekend was so disrupted? Has he been thinking about these issues the whole time? Did I just see into his little head briefly? The little head that is usually locked and guarded?

My poor little boy is so anxious about where he’s come from and where he’s moving too at the moment, so for now it’s bye-bye birth parents. We’ll see you again if and when Mini is ready…but for now you’re out of sight.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The fun of fridays

Friday afternoons are never great. I don’t think I’m the only parent in the world who thinks that either?!

By Friday afternoon every week, Mini is tired, ratty, hungry, and not very pleasant to be around. We manage this by having film afternoon some Fridays after school. Instead of reading like we should, we watch a film – usually something animated, or very often Nanny McPhee! This is a nice, gentle activity, gives me and Mini a chance to cuddle up, and Dollop dips in and out whilst playing uninterrupted!

This week was different.

Mini had a special class assembly on Friday when parents are invited in to see what the children have learnt.
Mini was anxious for mummy and daddy to come this time (mummy and nanna went last term), so the NC took the day off work, and happened to arrange an interview for 8.30am that morning too…good planning. The minute Mini found out about the interview, he went into panic mode. ‘Daddy won’t be able to come to assembly’ ‘Daddy’s going to his interview instead of coming to see me’. No matter how much we reassured him that Daddy’s interview would be finished a long time before lunch, and assembly wasn’t until a while after lunch, he could not be calmed. Cuddles led to Mini kicking, Soothing words led to Mini shouting. Daddy had to leave, and shortly thereafter Mini calmed himself down, but remained in a hyper state. Little things set him off (the sound of the hairdryer, Dollop dropping a ball, him not being able to put his sock on first time), and he’d have a panicked few minutes before being talked down again.

The assembly was lovely. Mini smiled. Mini was eloquent when he needed to be. The whole class received praise from their head teacher.

Mini walked home with the NC and Dollop, while I stayed and had a quick chat with his teacher. It all went quite well. I gave her some information specially written for teachers about attachment issues. She offered support if it was needed, but didn’t have much of an understanding – he’s perfect at school so I’m describing a very different child to the one she sees!

Mini did well on arriving home, he changed without being asked, had a snack, was polite, well behaved and thoughtful…for about 30 minutes. Then the tiredness kicked in, and it was magnified this week from all the excitement around assembly and the novelty of having the NC there after school, and of course it was the first week back after a half term of resting.
Tiredness does not equal lifeless sofa sprawling in our house. Tiredness equals tantrums, winding up of little sisters, screaming, refusing to move, get up, leave Dollop alone, stop pulling mummy’s hair, eat, talk or stop talking, cuddle, brush teeth, bath, go to bed, or anything asked of him.

I can’t remember specifics, already I’ve blocked them out, and Mini will have too. I can remember ‘no’, ‘go away’, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOO’, ‘I said no!’, ‘I WILL NOT!’ from Mini.
And ‘I love you’ from me. ‘I love you’ from the NC, and ‘wuv oo too’ from Dollop.
Then after a while ‘I love you all too’ from Mini.We get there in the end!

Friday, 24 February 2012

We've got to go through it!

A little later than expected, Glenda (the primary mental health worker who visited a couple of weeks ago) called.
I was hoping she'd have some good news about a Theraplay referral. She didn't, but she continued to be supportive and helpful and made all the right noises when I'd told her about our two weeks.

I suspect she may hold back on getting us that elusive Theraplay appointment as she seems concerned about the number of other referrals we're waiting on at the moment. Her previous advice was to cancel them all except for childrens outpatients following Mini's seizure. To be honest I'm a little  really disappointed that we've not received any of the referral appointments yet - community paediatrician, children's outpatients/neurology, family support worker, parent support worker, and no follow up from the school nurse whom I'd found so positive and helpful. The only two of these I now intend to follow up are the children's outpatient/neurology and the parent support work, but still, to have heard nothing is quite frustrating.

So we carry on as before, lots of love, affection, cuddles and reassuring. Glenda assures me that things will improve soon as we're doing all the right things, and we've got to go through it all. I did point out that we've been doing all the same things for 4 years and it's only getting worse. I didn't mean to sound negative, but we are feeling frustrated, that's why we asked for help in the first place.
Of course, it's reassuring to know we're doing the right thing but it's really difficult knowing that things aren't getting any easier for Mini, and there is this closed little area in his head that none of us ever see inside. That little area contain all his anxieties and scary feelings, but they're all locked away so he has to try to deal with them on his own.

Glenda is visiting again in 2 weeks time to discuss further, and to give that important outpatient referral a chance to turn up.

For now, we look forward to this afternoon as the NC, Dollop and I are going to see Mini perform in his class showing assembly - we'll get to see everything he's been learning about including the whole class reciting 'We're going on a bear hunt'. Then I'm feeding back to Mini's class teacher about my conversations with Glenda....'but I'm not scared, it's a beautiful day'.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tell me you love me...

We’ve had another pretty good week so far, with just a couple of incidents.

The night before he went back to school, Mini had some trouble settling to sleep – obviously anxious about not being at home, although it must be very confusing for him because he desperately loves being at school, but clearly worries about what happens at home when he’s there.

Monday night and Tuesday night were the same, with him being reluctant to go to bed, saying he wasn’t tired, and that he felt lonely. Me and the NC had to administer many many many cuddles to make sure that Mini was reassured that we were just downstairs, and we weren’t leaving him on his own.

Yesterday afternoon saw both Mini and Dollop a little wound up. We didn’t have a calm 5 minutes, despite me suggesting lots of calming activities and book reading (usually Dollop’s favourite thing to do). This continued through dinner and into the bath! Mini just would not stop messing around in the bath, and in the end kept slouching down so his face was mostly under the water, and then flailing around pretending he couldn’t get back up. This was just downright dangerous, especially when he caught Dollop with his thrashing limbs too, so he came straight out.

Whilst the NC continued to bathe Dollop, I carried Mini through to the sofa where we sat and had nice warm cuddles, with Mini wrapped in a great big towel. 5 minutes of crying to go back in the bath and promises to be safe, and all the while I repeated soothing words and ‘I love you’s ’. When he did calm down he told me that he didn’t know I loved him. And he told me that he didn’t know if Daddy loved him either. ‘But we tell you all the time that we love you’, I replied.

‘Well, it's not enough mummy, I want you to tell me more’….

Monday, 20 February 2012

Being a 'good enough' mum

It’s been a great week this week. Not much has happened on the therapy/referrals/help side of things, but as school holidays go, this has been the best by far!

The reason? Shall I divulge my secret?? Well, ordinarily during half term or school/nursery holidays I plan. I have a chart and everything! Mini has always responded well to structure and routine, so in the past I’ve planned activities – at least one each day, with meal times at the same time every day (as normal), bedtime at the same time as normal, and the ‘activity’ whether it’s soft play, the park, trip to the farm, visiting friends, baking, crafts has also been at the same time each day. Mini’s best time is in the morning so that’s when I plan for, and then in the afternoon he’s had play time, craft time or CBeebies.

This time…well, I didn’t plan anything! We have masses of craft stuff, I always have the ingredients for a cake, and we have stacks of Disney DVDs so I knew I’d have things I could pull out and do with Mini and Dollop, but otherwise, I basically let them run riot. This worked really well. Now Mini is at school he gets really tired during the week and so I thought half term would just be a chance for him to sleep, nap, chill out and re-energise. He didn’t sleep in late, in fact, half the time he was up earlier than during the week, and he went to bed at his normal time, but the only time he got tired was the last weekend of the half term (where he spent some time out geocaching with daddy, and had the excitement of a visit from his Auntie H).

So what did we do? I spent lots of time on the floor playing with them both, and introducing Mini to some games – Operation, Home Run and playing his favourite Jenga! We baked and decorated Valentine’s Day biscuits for daddy. Mini made and decorated cupcakes only needing help with the oven. We made pictures together. We walked to the shops. During Dollop’s naps, Mini watched James and the Giant Peach for the first time, and re-watched some of his favourite DVDs. He did a bit of writing practise, a bit of reading practise and a lot of maths practise. Dollop loved having her brother around, and together Mini and Dollop read, played ‘chefs’, had enormous fun with the Argos book, which over the week was a register, a clipboard for meetings, tickets for the bus, a pad of prescriptions,  train tickets, shopping lists, pieces of pizza…all sorts. They cuddled. We all cuddled. Mini also had a day at Nanna and Grandad’s which he thoroughly enjoyed (as he always does) and was well-behaved there too. He helped grandad pick up a prescription (and dropped off his own Argos prescription too), did lots of writing, used the computer, talked to grandad about adoption and birth families and had a whale of a time!

I didn’t use time out for the whole week which means that Mini didn’t scream, or refuse to do anything I asked him. We had a couple of ‘disagreements’ mostly over tidying up toys, but Mini was really good. He made choices and didn’t struggle to do it, or change his mind, and the choices he made were really great ones!

Mini obviously has anxieties about me and the NC being here for him, and I guess as he was with me all week, those anxieties weren’t there for him. In future, I won’t worry about making sure we’re doing something every day because actually all my son needs is quality time with me. It’s just taken me a while to realise that I’m -to borrow John Bowlby's phrase- ‘good enough’.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Life story or reality? What works best for us…

After meeting with the Mental Health Worker from CAMHS last week, and discussing life story work for Mini, I’ve kinda got to thinking a bit more about we handle life story work in our house.

Ironically, an old colleague who adopted around the same time as us, had only mentioned life story books early last week, and recommended a book by Joy Rees called ‘Life Story Books for Adopted Children – A Family Friendly Approach’.  She mentioned that although they had a book for their daughter, they didn’t realise how rubbish the first one was, and it was a couple of years before they got a decent one.
We’ve always been quite happy with Mini’s book. It starts when he moved in, then talks about his background and birth family, and then ends with living with us again. It talks in a language that is appropriate for around 5 year olds and above, and of course as Mini is only just learning to read and only just reached 5, up until now we’ve talked about the photos and explained about his siblings, and read the appropriate bits to him (skipping the bits that we felt were inappropriate, although to be honest, there isn’t much that he shouldn’t know about as long as the language used is age appropriate).
We’ve also used a beautiful photo album that Mini’s foster family put together for him. It has photos right from 3 weeks old, up until a couple of days before we met him. There are photos of all the foster family members, Mini’s first Christmas, first birthday and other significant moments.
Every couple of months (or when Mini has asked for them, or asked questions) we’ve got both books out to look at. We also look at the photos we took when he first moved in with us too…we do this so if he gets upset or sad looking at his birth family, we can show him some happy photos too.

But then I got to thinking about what actually works with Mini – what holds his attention, what he asks more questions about, and what I use to answer those questions….

The NC and I were lucky enough to meet with Mini’s birth mum, the day after we first met him. We’ve got photos of us together, we have memories of meeting her, what she looked like, what she smelled like (!), what she said, the songs she sang to him, her favourite football team, what she wanted us to tell him….those things aren’t in a life story book – the photo is in a frame in Mini’s bedroom and the memories are in our heads, and we share those with Mini. I think they are probably more important to Mini. They are real life. They mean something. We read every possible piece of information about Mini before choosing to proceed with adopting him, we’ve still got all that information, and we’ve memorised every scrap of it – that was part of the process for me – learning everything about this child that I possibly could, because I was trying to make up for what I didn’t have with him…the time, the pregnancy, the genes! And that enables me to answer questions that Mini often surprises me with!

But ultimately, to Mini, his life story is based on a book, a photo album, some loose photos from social services, a large framed picture in his bedroom of us, him and his birth parents, facts from social services and memories.  Real memories of a woman who gave my son his life…and by doing so, gave us our life too…

Life story books work for some, but for us it’s not enough…it comes down to the memories we can give our son. Meeting birth mum turned Mini’s life story into a life reality – that one meeting joined his early life, to his life with us.

If you’re on the adoption journey and get the chance to meet your child’s birth family…then I would urge you to do it. I was nervous, I nearly bottled it, and it was unbelievably strange, weird, emotional, false in a way, but I’m so glad I met her. Just being able to tell Mini that we met her is something special, what actually happened in that session is just a bonus, and all helps Mini understand his life…

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Meetings and mental health

Having had 24 hours to think about and reflect on my meeting with the Primary Mental Health Worker, it’s time to share the details. My apologies if it’s a bit disjointed –there was a lot to take in, and lots of explanations of behaviour, and like many conversations we went off at tangents sometimes. I’ve tried to pull it all together into something that makes sense! This post is intended to record what happened, not necessarily provide interesting reading!

I had been getting increasingly nervous and starting to doubt whether I was right or wrong in trying to get help. But the lady (we’ll call her Glenda) put me at ease and reminded me very much of the social worker who did our home study and took us to panel. She wasn’t at all scary, or aggressive or dismissive and was certainly more empathetic than any other professional I’ve approached so far.

She started with wanting a brief description of Mini’s background, which I gave her. Briefly and without telling you the ins and outs of Mini’s story; he was removed within weeks of birth having been on the child protection register since before birth. He should have been removed earlier but a lack of communication between the professionals and birth mum about her due date and his subsequent birth led to a bit of a delay. He was then with the same foster carer until he came to us at just 13months.

Generally we talked and it was felt that Mini realises that he is different to Dollop in terms of background, age, everything. Glenda felt that some of his bad behaviour and copying was to test whether we treat them the same. This is partly because he doesn’t remember how he was treated at Dollop’s current age, and so he’s acting that age so he can see how he’d be treated – would it be the same as Dollop? This is the primary reason for his regression.

Then Glenda asked questions about some of Mini’s behaviours.  The first on my list was wetting and occasional soiling. She asked when it occurred and when I explained that often it was on the way home, she deduced that he was getting scared of what he might find at home. Or not find. This was also part of regression – Mini is regressing back to a place when he wasn’t potty trained.

Since my pregnancy with Dollop, Mini has become a lot more interested in where he came from – whose tummy etc. We spoke about Mini wanting to know more about his birth family, and I mentioned that he has spoken of meeting them. Glenda feels he has rather an advanced understanding of his background for his age, and although this is good, it could also cause us future issues. He’s likely to at some point retort with ‘but you’re not my real mum’, and so Glenda suggested contacting post adoption support now, to prepare ourselves emotionally for this… She also told me that she’d speak to the rest of her team with a view to some theraplay, particularly around life story work. Mini’s good understanding is also leading to his anxieties – his age means he is now able to understand what we’re telling him about his background, but emotionally he is not advanced enough to make sense of the feelings that information evokes – the result is bad behaviour, which is a means of expression. It might also mean he feels some of the things that he felt when he was taken into care, and when he moved here from foster care. These – to him – are strange, horrible, scary, unexplained feelings which don’t have names, but just feel awful, and Mini is not old enough or emotionally articulate enough to deal with them.
This led onto a chat about feelings generally, as Mini has never been able verbalise how he’s feeling. Again, theraplay might help with this, and we need to continue helping him by describing his feelings to him which will give him words to use in future.

Glenda feels Mini is avoidant in his attachment style because he is internally worried (although may not know it, and if he does, can’t verbalise it yet) that we’ll reject him, which is how he sees his birth mother and foster carer…they gave him up so they rejected him. She suggested that when Mini fake hurts himself it’s because he wants affection but doesn’t feel able to ask for it –again for fear of rejection, so this is a way of getting it without asking and without risking that rejection.

It is not unusual for school to not see a problem – it’s us, his family, that he is scared of losing, and so it is us that see the fallout from this. This also explains why he’s increasingly misbehaving and ‘showing his true colours’ with the NC’s parents, as they are the next most important care giving figures in his life, and therefore another set of people to worry about with regards to rejecting him.

We’re doing everything right, and need to continue and be consistent. Clear rules and consequences for screaming etc, time in and cuddles for meltdowns, lots of affection even if it is rejected, and above all, constant reassurance that we love him and we’re his forever family.

I feel reassured that we’re already doing the right thing, but a little frustrated that we’ve been doing this for 4 years and it doesn’t appear to be enough for Mini. I hope that we do get the theraplay arranged soon, and I really hope it helps Mini. We do love him, he is our son, and he will be here forever! Mini came to us 4 years ago, the honeymoon period is well and truly over, now it feels like we’re beginning as a family…

Friday, 10 February 2012

Knowing what's relevant...

In a couple of hours I’m meeting with our local Primary Mental Health Worker from a sub-team of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This is following a referral from our GP, and was only arranged at the start of the week.
I appreciate this is just a first assessment, and is without Mini present, but I feel quite positive about this. The GP was the first step, a different angle was speaking with the school nurse. This feels like the second step, which means this train has officially left the station!

I’m not really sure what to expect, or how to prepare, or even if I should prepare. But I have a list of Mini’s behaviours, which although not exhaustive, will give an idea of life with him. The thing is – how to do you know what’s relevant?

Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to take advice and investigate Mini’s behaviour more is because I’ve spoken to friends and family who have convinced me he’s a typical child or have misunderstood what I’m telling them, or at least the severity of it. If you mention that Mini is defiant  (oh yes, my son is the same), Mini screams when you say no (oh yes,  well all children do that), Mini is sensitive to loud noises and still scared of the hoover and hand dryers (Yes, our daughter’s like that too), Mini wets himself regularly (well, they all do that sometimes don’t they), Mini can’t stand silence (No, mine are so noisy too), Mini likes to control conversations (oh all kids do that), Mini cannot cope without routine (well, we’re all creatures of habit), Mini has meltdowns (oh, mine too, it’s because they’re tired after school). It becomes all too easy to believe that your child is behaving the same as others. When you start putting all of these things together, and experience them to the extreme, well, life becomes really difficult, and along with all the other things he does and doesn’t do, you start to see a problem.

I’ve been reading a bit more about attachment disorder – revisiting the things we read and looked at during our homestudy all those years ago, and I’m reminded of some things that Mini does that it hadn’t previously occurred to me to mention because I didn’t know they were unusual and because I had no idea what sort of problem we might be dealing with. I’m not saying I do now, but after a little research and some comments and tweets from other adopters, it feels like a starting point.

So now I’m adding to my list: Mini isn’t just noisy – he makes repeated noises – not words, although sometimes he gets fixated on phrases too, but just silly noises again and again. When he plays (which isn’t all that often, but getting more frequent) it’s always about putting people in prison, killing enemies – he is the police/superhero/strong figure, and focusses on beating the baddies. Mini has ‘treasures’ - items that are special to him, important because of where or who they’re from,  favourite toys – but he doesn’t afford them the amount of care they deserve, if anything they are less well looked after than his other toys. It takes a very long time for Mini to learn a new routine effectively.  Mini is a sore loser, he cannot cope with losing and will adjust the rules of a game (several times if necessary) to ensure he wins. He cannot take the blame for things – even minor things, and he will blame anyone else – in fact today Mini tried to blame 21month old Dollop for writing his name on the furniture…quite clever as Dollop can’t even hold a pencil without it ending up in her mouth, and can’t draw a circle let alone letters!

These are the things I’ll be discussing soon. I’m nervous. What if they don’t think there is anything wrong? What if I’m seeing problems that aren’t there? What if all 5 year olds really are like this? I shall report back when I know more….

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The 'Shrektacles' and the snow

We’ve had a really positive weekend, and although the NC and I feel shattered, it’s been worth it as Mini has been so well behaved.

At school they use a reward and warning system with happy and sad faces. All the children start the day on the happy face, and when they’re good they move to the super happy face, when they’re not so good, they move to the sad face.
We mirror the system here, but our sad and super-happy faces are numbered. On the sad face, 1 = a toy being removed for the remainder of the day, 2 = 5 minutes on time out and 3 = a trip or treat being cancelled. On the happy face, 1 = lots of extra kisses and cuddles, 2 = a couple of sweets/choc buttons and 3 = a dip in the grab bag (lucky dip bag containing all sorts from mini boxes of coco pops, to jelly eyeballs, to a new yo-yo, bell for his bike, new books, colouring pens etc).

Mini always starts the day on the happy side, and yesterday he was so good he made it all the way up to number 3 on the super happy face and earned himself a treat. He was so pleased.

We were concerned about how yesterday would turn out as we’d booked an opticians appointment after receiving a letter following Mini’s school health check (the permission slip for which led us to Seizures and School Nurses ). Turns out that he’s long-sighted and needs glasses. I must admit that I was more than a little bit surprised (and a bit guilty if truth be told) as he’s never indicated any problems to us, or complained of headaches, or needed to hold books away to look at them. But the optician reassured me and said it wasn’t unusual to miss long-sightedness. He hasn’t developed a squint and his eyes both move together, and as Mini’s never known any different he wouldn’t have known that anything was wrong himself.  So the newly christened ‘Shrektacles’ have been ordered and are expected next weekend, so named as they have a little picture of the big green ogre on the side.  Mini had to sit really still whilst he had eye drops for the first time ever and we spent a good couple of hours in the opticians (bar a 20minute walk whilst the drops did their work). He was such a brave boy, was well-mannered, polite and did everything asked of him. Daddy treated us all to a coffee at Starbucks and Mini even got a Twizzle-Pop! And no wetting episodes til late afternoon.

At Mini’s request, he also went with the NC to get the car looked at, and spent a good hour and a half wandering around shops with his daddy (whilst the car was supposed to be up on the ramps – a whole other story!), without any problems at all. And came home in a really good mood.

Snow today, so playing outside was of course the cause of much excitement – as was christening the sledge! Mini did get a little overexcited and kept just burying himself in the snow, but he soon calmed down and enjoyed himself.
He’s painted posters today, drawn pictures, watched Shrek on and off, eaten nicely, played with Dollop, looked at books, spoken to nanna on the phone, tidied his toys.  No exceptional behaviour, none particularly bad either, and so Mini has remained on the happy face all day – a really great achievement to have gone all weekend without appearing on the sad face at all.

These are the weekends that make it worthwhile. And although me and NC will be crashed out on the sofa by 9pm tonight, we’ve had a fun weekend with our great kids!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Seizures and school nurses!

Well, this week has been pretty up and down.  It started on Monday afternoon with an out of the blue phone call from the school nursing team.

I’d had to give permission a couple of weeks ago for Mini to have his height, weight, sight and hearing test with a school nurse, and it had a list of things to tick that we might have concerns about. I ticked the behavioural box, but also wrote that I was visiting the GP. So Mini had this visit with the nurse, and we got a letter suggesting we should get his sight checked as he showed some slight problems. Now back to the call, the lovely nurse was following up my tick on that form and was visiting Mini’s school the next day – would 9am be OK to meet and chat about my concerns. Now the poor woman clearly had no idea what I was going to hit her with so I did warn her about my concerns in a brief way, but she was still keen.  Feeling quite positive about this, I got on with the rest of my day.

At around 8.30pm, when both kids were in bed, Dollop wakes up. The NC goes to settle her, but then I hear Mini screaming, and the NC calling me. So, as fast as my bad back will carry me, I shoot upstairs to find Mini convulsing in bed, screaming…..asleep. He’d started convulsing whilst the NC was upstairs, and so as NC stroked his head to pacify him, he started the screams too. I picked him up, took him to our room and sat on the bed with him – still screaming, still convulsing, and then a minute or two later he stopped, and emptied his bladder, all whilst still asleep. This is probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever witnessed….He woke as I was changing his pyjamas but settled back to sleep quite quickly.
Mini has had a fit before, but about a year ago, during the day whilst awake and after being told off. This was investigated by a paediatric neurologist who questioned me about breath-holding, and it was pretty much dismissed.
Now, as Mini’s behaviour has deteriorated we knew how he would react if we whisked him to hospital in the middle of the night, so we called NHS Direct and took him in the morning. They agreed it was a seizure, and are referring him to Children’s Outpatients. He’s now fine – and I will add that he has no recollection of what happened at all.

So back to the nurse, whilst the NC got everyone ready for our trip to A&E, I nipped down to see the nurse who was fantastic! A Facebook friend and adopter had given me some names of key people in this area that could help, so I spouted these to school nurse who agreed and promised a referral to a community paediatrician (and she’d ask for the person I want who happens to have more than a passing interest in attachment), first-level mental health assessment, family support worker, parent support worker and educational pysch if needed (although we’d need school support for that and of course he is perfect there so support not forthcoming).  And she also talked about special teams that are child centred which would help if school wouldn’t support us that would force them to get involved. Feeling really positive that I’ve got some support for us now! Or at least we’re going to get further than with the GP. The nurse also confirmed my suspicions – that GP’s promise of a health visitor observation was unlikely given Mini’s age.

So a mixed bag of a week, along with some pretty shocking news from some friends, I can’t wait til this week is over!