Monitor, distract (and Chunky Stan)

Brief summary. LB’s become very anxious, constantly agitated and out of sorts over the past couple of months. He’s developed a fear or phobia of someone harming him.  His teacher/school nurse have suggested he be referred to mental health services which we’ve resisted. First, because we feel the medicalisation of these dude kids is a bit too free and easy (and can be damaging), and second, because previous encounters with mental health services have been pretty pointless (along the lines of “Er, have you thought of using star charts?”)

ryan5-25Then the Christmas tree fell over. Probably because all the baubles had been put on the same branch during a bun fight deccy situation. ‘Mmm’.. I thought. ‘This don’t bode well’….

Christmas morning, LB lost it over a tiny thing and had a distressing episode (? breakdown? frenzy? malange? Slinky malinky?) Not sure what language there is to describe this sort of thing, other than crap, meaningless jargony social care/health type stuff). But horrible. For everyone. Especially so at Christmas.  He stayed home, rather than going to his dad’s, and we swung into a ‘monitor and distract’ routine. For those of you who haven’t come across this (you lucky bastards), it goes like this;

    1. Constantly listen and look for any signs of mounting distress (in LB’s case, talk of being attacked, gesticulating and gurning).
    2. Act instantly to stop these (in LB’s case, through a firm ‘Stop it now’).
    3. Follow this up with a distraction (in LB’s case, an Eddie Stobart book, Mighty Boosh DVD, drawing cartoon figures).
    4. If necessary, follow this up with an uber distraction (in LB’s case, a very long, hot bath).
    5. Revert to A.

ryan5-23So 48 hours of monitoring and distraction was successful but relentless, wearing and, again, pretty shite over Christmas. We also weren’t confident of containing his distress anywhere other than home. I called the GP who suggested a type of prozac. And some emergency tranquillisers to use, if necessary, until the medication started to work.

That was yesterday morning. Last night (after step D) LB turned into a bit of a chill pill. We stayed up watching documentaries like Cop Squad with him. Enjoying the peace.

A mistake of course. Other family members also need monitoring. Like cheeky Chunky Stan.


Christmas Wrapping

LB’s presents this year. A success. We managed to get him a die cast cattle truck that he’s wanted for the best part of this year. Very, very cool. And Eddie Stobart; The Ultimate Guide to British Trucking Legends (by Martin Roach). A full colour, hard back guide to the legend that is Eddie S. Rock and roll presents that are kind of age appropriate (or at least no Playmobile for the second year in a row).

After wrapping them up, I couldn’t resist going to check with him what he wanted for Christmas. Just to enjoy hearing him say ‘Cattle truck Mum’ again. For the last time.

“A onesie Mum”, he said. Without missing a beat.


Happy Christmas!

Baby Jesus in the walnut

“Come on everyone! Time to decorate the tree…!!”
“Eh? LB come and decorate the tree NOW.”
“Mum. Can I go back on Youtube after Mum?”
“I don’t think it’s straight. Is it straight?”
“It’s straight…”
“I think it’s leaning to one side. Look…”
“It’s straight...”
“Rosie could always go upstairs and get her protractor…”
“Mum you don’t know what a protractor is, do you.”
“Yes, I do.”
“I’m going to look for the baby Jesus in the walnut. The one I made at nursery.”
“Watch that angel, the head fell off remember…”
“I’m going to put this one round here on this branch…”
“Grrrrr… I’d forgotten how much Tom talks…”
“And this one can go here…”
“Tom you don’”
“LB put the bubble wrap down and get some decs on the tree.”
“Yes Muvvar.”
“Hey! I found the walnut!!!…Oh wait. It’s awful.
“I remember it being much better than that. I thought it had a proper face and everything. Look it’s just got two dots for eyes…Felt tip dots??”
“HAHAHAHA!!! It’s really rubbish!!!”
“I’d forgotten how stressful decorating the tree is.”
“I still don’t think it’s straight.”


The Christmas jigsaw

Every year we do a family Christmas jigsaw.  Well, it’s not really a family jigsaw. Rich hates em. Owen, Tom and I have always been at the puzzle frontier. The others used to drift in towards the end when the bulk of the work had been done. The puzzle late-comers. After the glory.

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A slice of breakfast life

Last Christmas I gave you my heart…
And the man was sectioned. He was ….”
“Your mum was a big Wham fan, Tom.”
“WHAT? No I wasn’t!”
“Shhh LB and eat your porridge. I was not a Wham fan.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
“Stop making it up. So irritating.”
“Me irritating? Living with you is…”
“Dad, I’ve lived with Mum for 12 years now and it’s been pretty good.”
“Aww..thanks Tom. How many years have you lived with me, LB?”
“Dunno, Mum.”
“Think about it LB. How old are you?”
“Seventeen, Mum.”
“So how many years have you lived with me?”
“Dunno, Mum.”
“If you are seventeen years old, how many years have you lived with me?”
“Three, Mum.”