Thursday, 18 February 2010

New Worries

Sigh, it was seeming to all go so well. Waif is looking healthier and healthier.

It has admittedly been a little odd recently because she has been rushing to eat before I am in the kitchen, and so eating a lot whilst I have not been around: "Mummy, I have already had my toast and cereal" and there will be crusts on the plate and a bowl with the dregs of milk in it.

But I have still, on the whole, witnessed a lot of calories eaten every day even if Waif has also oddly been eating all her evening meals at once: eating her main meal and immediately afterwards having her late night hot chocolate and biscuit, insisting that this means she won't forget later and that if she does eat later it will be a bonus.

This morning, she has gone out to a lecture on maths (yes, she is that kind of child) and left her laptop on and open in her bedroom. I thought I would check her internet history hoping to find that she is no longer obsessed by calories.

The latest pages checked were the Space and Time cafe (this is the cafe at the Royal Institution where she is headed today). That could be a good thing. Perhaps she is planning her snacks.

Then a check of all calories at Pret a Manger (I had told the children to buy lunch on their way home). Ok. Fine.

Then below that a check of the calories in mushroom taglietelle (yesterday's lunch). Jury out.

And then, horror, I saw that she had been looking at sites called things like "tips for anorexics" "what do anorexics eat?" and "how to eat a low calorie breakfast that looks high calorie".

This is not good.

Then I scrolled down and saw that she had been searching for "casual fun for women" and "naughty schoolgirl" and "naughty santa outfit".

Good grief, it is possible for anyone to look at a page in error and to click through, fascinated yet horrified. I have not actually looked at any of the pages Waif has been on. Perhaps I should.

I really don't know whether to tell Waif what I have seen and to confiscate her laptop. I am worried that if I simply say she will have it confiscated if she looks at those sites again will just drive her to do it more secretively - within Google Chrome incognito for instance.

The internet is such a powerful tool and can be used for good or bad.

I so do not want her accessing poisonous pro-ana sites. Perhaps I should talk to her about them and about how a whole community can become deluded and dangerous, and how she must stay away if she is to have a full and happy, healthy life.

I wonder what has triggered this.

I am very upset and any tips on how I should tackle this would be welcome.


  1. hello a.m.,
    i feel for you and your daughter... it is a very hard situation you both are in. i belive that if parents try to safe their children, often the opposite happens. i would not recommend to make to much pressure. and you are if you keep on forcefeeding her and spy her. i know that you are in a situation in that you cannot do another way as you do, but you should try to find other ways to help her, without taking the whole responsebility off her.
    best. lila

  2. Miss lilagrey, there is certainly something in what you say: Waif will only recover if and when SHE wants to. She is not an adult, at thirteen, but old enough to make most decisions about her life and I cannot tell her what to think or eat (nor would I want to). But perhaps I can help to guide her and to protect her from some of the insidious material out there, possibly by talking to her about it rather than banning it. I really don't force feed her! Oddly, this has not been an issue as she has always eaten food that I give her (thankfully). It's just htat if I don't, she won't.

    I do feel bad about looking at her internet history, but hard times make necessities of some means to an end. I will not and cannot stand by at moments when her life is in danger - which it was when she was v v thin and not gaining weight. For now, as long as she is putting on weight, I can allow her more independence. It is a fine judgment and difficult to make.

    Thank you for your concern and comment :-) and good luck to you too.