Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Post script

I feel a little better now.  I checked and Waif is about 2.5kg heavier than at Christmas.  I know that is not a lot but it means that i am not imagining that she looks a little better.

Also, no fool she, Waif has announced that she is going to wear her school uniform tomorrow to the Maudsley for her weigh in.  She knows that none of her other clothes are as heavy.  So at least that will be a fair test.

Waif went to meet a friend for lunch today.  I tried to persuade her to eat her morning doughnut before she left (at midday) but she said that they were first going to Starbucks and then on for lunch so she would eat there.  Hmmmm.......

Oh, and I am out tonight again.  My husband has said he will try to come home and cook but I wouldn't rate his chances at higher than 50%

First week of Easter Holidays

Hmmm... how are we doing?

Waif is home for the Easter holidays so theoretically I have a lot more control over what she is eating, but I haven't done well so far.  She is looking thin to me.

I convinced myself she hadn't really lost weight last weigh-in, despite the 400g drop in the scales, as she had just been to the loo.  So I allowed Waif to bully me into taking her to our local (ish) climbing wall on Sunday.  We woke up hideously early, due to the hour change, and I reached for the car keys.

"But you said we could cycle" wheedled Waif.

Sigh, it doesn't feel that far to the climbing wall - half of it is a route I regularly jog and the other half I have run a couple of times, so it shouldn't be too strenuous on a bike - especially as it is all flat, following firstly the Thames and then the Regents Canal.

Of course, I hadn't banked on the lifts in the Greenwich foot tunnel being out of operation (grrrr...) so Waif and I had to carry our bikes up and down either side of the Thames (100 steps one side, 88 the other).  Plus the bike ride took 45 minutes each way, the climbing 30 mins, so Waif was shattered by the time we got home again at lunch, even though she has an extraordinarily light carbon bike.  I guess when you are so slight, even a light bike feels like a ton.  Would Waif eat a crunchie at the wall?  No, she would not.  "I'll have something at home".

On the plus side, we had a great time.  Waif said that her bike was her best present ever, second only to the cat, and we were both a lot stronger and more agile climbing than our first time the week before.

Then on Monday, Waif had arranged to spend the day at Thorpe Park with 7 schoolfriends from her new school.  I encouraged her to go as forging friendships is going to be crucial to her recovery.  But it meant another whole day out of the house with lots of walking and, I am guessing, not much food.   She texted me just as she was about to ride Colossus!!!!!   Yikes, rather her than me.

That evening we went out for dinner as a family as it was my husband's birthday.  All Waif ate was 3 dry pieces of tandoori chicken and half a plain naan  :-(      She eschewed the popadoms, creamy okra and the oily brinjal bhaji;  the mango lassi I insisted on buying her sat undrunk. She protested that she had had a burger and chips for lunch.  Yeah, right, not much of it I am guessing.

Tomorrow is judgment day.  I am already preparing for disappointment.  Waif will be heartbroken at being disallowed to go on her residential course next week when she put so much effort into gaining a place (personal statement, references etc), but I feel we have to stick to our guns and only let her go if she is 42kg.  Comparison may be difficult as she will not be in school uniform (which is very heavy) tomorrow, so I am prepared to make a small allowance, but even so am not sure what I would do if she weighs, say, 41.3kg...........Any insight would be appreciated.  Is a short sharp reality check now a good thing long term or is it simply demoralising and depressing?  I was SO worried about Waif after last visit when she was so very very upset.  I always have at the bck of my mind the mortality risk from suicide that s associated with anorexia.  She is nowhere near that bleak in outlook at the moment but I don't want to take away all her pleasures.

Meanwhile Waif was showing me photos from her phone taken over the last few months.  She is definitely not as thin now as she was at Christmas!  She was skeletal on about 17 or 18 December.  I will go back and check my blog for weights.  I am grateful for that and hope I am not kidding myself.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Fine dining

My husband and I dined at Le Gavroche last night.   We ate the tasting menu - 7 courses with a different wine for each.  Yum.  Thousands of calories! 

Michel Roux Jr himself came and chatted with us, recommending the Monaco marathon for its views.  My husband said how much Waif loves him on Masterchef  :-)

 Meanwhile, Waif at home ate the macaroni cheese!!  Yay!  All 630 calories.  She refused the avocado salsa with it which is a shame but still it was not a bad start.

This morning, Waif beat me to the kitchen and had already started cooking her scrambled eggs (without, I suspect, any butter) when I arrived, so I need to be quicker!  I had to remind her to drink her juice and eat her cereal too but then she did so willingly enough.  We have to pack in the calories if we are to get to 42kg by next Thursday.  We MUST do it as it would be so lovely for her to go on her engineering course the following week and so hearbreaking to ban her although I am prepared for that eventuality - realising there are consequences to being too thin is not a bad lesson to learn, even if it will be painful.  Nonetheless, I hope we don't go there.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Not so good

I had melt down yesterday.

I went to pick up Waif from school and drive her straight to the Maudsley.  It's quite a rush as Waif doesn't want to miss any school and the psych doesn't want to work late (understandably) so we have a small time scale.  Due to my incompetence with email (a long story) I was too busy trying to remedy a correspondence disaster to remember to pack Waif's snack. As a result we had to stop at garage on the way from school to the hospital where there was an M and S snack shop.  Waif bought herself a tuna sandwich and an apple.  We were then running late and to compound my errors I clipped the wing of another car (or possibly the other car reversed into me...not sure) which then delayed me further as I had to stop and swap details.

Then life looked up:  there was jubilation yesterday afternoon as Waif weighed in at 41.2kg which would have been 800g up on last week  :-)    We hugged one another in joy.

Then Waif visited the loo and the psych grabbed her on her way back past and reweighed her, this time at 40.0kg.  Waif immediately burst into tears  :-(   It was as if she had been awarded a medal only to discover moments later that she had been disqualified.

And accused of cheating, to boot.

Older Daughter was with us (but not my husband who is very busy at work at the moment).  I felt as low as I have felt over this whole debacle.  I feel that there is no more I can be doing, and little more that Waif can do (except eat the New York cheesecake I buy her, and put butter on her toast).

Waif spent the whole appointment sobbing and thus contributed little.  The psych asked me why I thought that Waif had lost weight (btw I am not totally sure that I accept this premise, I reckon Waif's weight was probably pretty stable).  OD and I both agreed that when Waif has gained weight, I allow my guard to slip and Waif has more freedom on food and takes more exercise.  We all decided (well Waif wouldn't say anything) that Waif needs close supervision from now on for a few weeks and that the Easter holidays are well-timed.

Waif seemed genuinely distraught at losing weight and later in the evening she sobbed and sobbed in my arms saying that the psych made her depressed.  I reassured her that it is "my" job to get her up to a healthy weight and that it is I who is responsible for failure, not her, and that I can't imagine anyone in the world more lovely than she and her sister are (it's true - they are wonderful girls;  kind, good, funny, interesting, clever) and she is not to feel down.  This is a cruel illness.  Hmmm... Waif had come across me crying too :-(     I never cry usually but yesterday everything finally got on top of me.  I have recovered my composure and some optimism this morning.  We have no choice but to look to the future, forget the past, and do our best as we move forward.

At the Maudsley, the issue of OD's weight came up as I had a cunning plan (idiot, me).  I asked Waif if she thought OD was fat.  Obviously the answer is no - OD is incredibly slim and gorgeous too.   Waif perked up, agreed OD was definitely not fat and asked OD what exactly she did weigh.  OD said around 48kg.  Waif then seemed to buy into the idea that she should weigh at least 47kg.  The psych then asked OD how tall she was.  About 168cm.  The psych said that really OD was too thin and shouldn't on any account lose any weight or her periods would stop and she would cause herself problems.  Sigh, why are we all thin?  Do I really not give everyone enough food?  The psych said that we must all have a high metabolic rate  :-(    She also read Waif the riot act and said that, being as underweight as she is, will stunt her growth and that it is vital for her to put on weight.

I mentioned to my husband what the psych had said about OD.  He said that he didn't think OD was skinny in the least.  He also said that he must have had stunted growth as he was just as skinny as Waif when he was young.  (Please can I silently scream? - my husband is 6ft 4 and so this is presumably his way of saying, yet again, that he doesn't believe that Waif has a problem and is too thin DESPITE the fact that the world's leading centre on anorexia is saying that she is and that her health is at risk as a result and she must be constantly supervised until she gains weight.)   Sigh, OTOH my husband will also then agree that Waif is underweight and needs to be told to put on weight.  He mentioned that maybe 43kg would be good.  More like 48kg is nearer the mark although I too would worry less at 43kg.

Meanwhile, today is the last day of term and Waif broke up at midday.  The plan was for her to go to lunch with some school friends but somehow that was cancelled at the last minute and Waif arranged to meet a very old friend, Emily, in the village.  Waif phoned me to say that she had eaten fish and chips on the way up the street so would not be eating lunch with Emily.  I told her a second lunch would do no harm.  She got cross with me on the phone.  Hmmmm.....I am far from convinced that Waif has had lunch.

I have bought a 630 calorie macaroni cheese for Waif's supper.  I don't want her to look at the calories!  With bad timing, my husband and I are out tonight so I will rely on OD to supervise but Waif isn't always amenable to being told what to do by her sister..........

Tomorrow I will regain control of meals and we will get in as many calories as possibly before next Thursday's appointment.  We will do it.  We must get to 42kg for the engineering course to happen 5 days after that.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

How is it going?

:-)  Thanks to Jennifer for asking.  I have been busy lately.

We are due back at the Maudsley this afternoon.  Waif is supposed to have put on about a kg.  Personally, I will be pleased if she has maintained her increase of last time..........whilst she professed delight, Waif has gone back to eating outside my presence - always claiming to have "just eaten" her snack (she will show me the plate with the toast crumbs or the empty hot chocolate cup) without me having a chance to supervise, and IMO she is looking quite thin again.   Ho hum, I have my fingers crossed.

Perhaps in the week after a weight gain, I am also inclined to take my eye off the ball, to revel in the fact that Waif can eat her own tea from the school snack shop and make her way to tennis on a Friday instead of my picking her up from school and watching her drink her hot chocolate and eat toast.  This makes me lazy, I guess.  And human - it is the relentlessness of food supervision that personally I find tough.  In the week after a gain, I also have a tendency to allow Waif some slack eg I didn't insist she ate the chips that he rest of us had on Monday and Wednesday, and on a few mornings I have let Waif swap her scrambled eggs on toast for cheese on toast - Older Daughter says that cheese on toast was mentioned as a diet tip on TImes Online or something.  Somehow I doubt it as cheese is calorific but Waif may well have read that.  Either way, it is better than a scraping of jam.

Art is still proving to be a success with her work proceeding apace.  Waif reports that her teacher is chatty and friendly  :-)   That's just what she needs.

Tomorrow is the last day of term and Waif is having lunch out with her friends.  She also asked a friend back for lunch at the weekend, which is the first "playdate" she has had with schoolmates at the school she started in January.  I trust this means she is settling in.  Hmmm, tomorrow will not work out so well as Waif is having lunch out and then super at home with OD only as my husband and I are going out for dinner - 6.30pm in the West End so too early to allow me to feed Waif first.  Well, let's see how Waif weighs in this afternoon.

Waif is planning to cycle to school in the Summer term. Whilst this suits me a lot - no more school runs! - it will only be allowed if she is still doing well at eating so I hope for her sake she keeps up the good work.  She is cross that I mentioned the cycling to the mother opposite - I was pretty much compelled to as she is the one with whom I share the school run so she needs to know if it's not happening!  Why she is cross, it turns out, is that she doesn't want the 15 year old boy from opposite cycling with her. She says that he will not be fast enough.  She says that she overtakes everyone on her bike and there is no way he will be able keep up with her on the big hill through Greenwich Park (see pic below).  I am wondering whether Waif is intending to cycle up and down that hill a few times in each direction.......   It's true she is fast though, for she is light and has a carbon fibre bike so she can race up hills easily.

Finally, some other news:  Older Daughter did so well in her entrance exams for boarding school that the school has made a place especially for her, which we have accepted, even though they don't yet know which house they can squeeze her into.  They said that she would be top of the intake for 2010.  That's impressive for one of the top schools in the country so OD is chuffed to bits.  I feel it will be a fabulous opportunity for her, and a break.  And it will give me a chance to focus on Waif alone.  I also feel like my role as a mother is ending and am wondering what will hold together our family when the girls both leave home.  You could say I feel conflicted, even though I am fully aware that my role is to prepare them for independent adult life and that to see them go off and grab it is a mark of success.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Art lesson

Waif went for her first after school art lesson yesterday.   This is an example of her teacher's work :-)   It is similar in style to Waif's own which is a good start.

Her teacher and artist, Jo, is herself a mother to girls and is friendly and approachable. Waif felt valued and special in their hour and a half together.  This must be good.  I want Waif to push ED out of her mind and replace it with thoughts of a more creative, happy and constructive ilk.

Today she went swimming after school with a friend.  The deal was that I would meet them at the gym and buy them supper.  I met them and ordered supper for Waif.  It was a very large plate but she made little impact on it and then claimed she did not like any of the puddings on offer and would eat more when we got home.  When we got home, she remembered she had babysitting (the putative employers came knocking on the door as Waif had not showed up) so had to dash out  :-(    Poor Waif was in tears as she was tired and really wanted a night in with me but we both agreed that a commitment is a commitment.  I told the parents concerned that Waif was not to be kept out after 11pm - last week Waif babysat for them and they did not return until 1.45am.  A thirteen year old should not be kept up that late, especially with no consultation beforehand.  She ended up missing school on the Monday as she was so tired.  The other problem with babysitting is that Waif goes a long time (in that case, 7 hours) without any food.  We are both agreed that babysitting should be kept within strict time limits from now on.  I need a second rule that it must be run past me first so that I can sort out early food if necessary.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Break out the champagne!

Waif has put on weight!   40.2kg at the Maudsley today.
That's a gain of about 2kg in 10 days  :-)  :-)
The extra scrambled eggs in the morning, doughnut at break and baked beans at bedtime have done the trick.
I am sooooooooooo delighted.
Waif seemed pleased too - she gave a wide smile and gave me a big hug.  She knows what is expected and I am not 100% convinced she was displaying genuine emotion but at least she is aware of the "correct" reaction and willing to give it a go.

Going in before us was another girl of about Waif's age - 13 or 14 years old.  She looked like a walking skeleton  :-(   Even Waif was appalled.  Her parents were sitting in the waiting room whilst she was weighed, not looking at one another, not talking, just looking worried and worn out.  I hope she finds some help too.

I asked about Waif's residential course at Easter.  The psych said it would be okay if Waif could get to 42kg. Waif said maybe she didn't want to go on the course anyway (new to me) but then said "oh, but that's not to say I don't want to get to 42kg"     Hmmmmmmm.......

We are returning next Thursday.


I have booked a National Trust house in Somerset for a week at Easter:

Waif has decided that we need to find things to do for the week.  Yesterday, out of the blue, she presented me with a file of printouts containing 5 different outings, together with Googlemaps direction finder routes to each, opening times and prices.  She has even found a toddler gym for her young cousin who will be staying with us, and riding stables for her and her friend.  The file is neatly set out and indexed.  Sigh, this is typical of Waif.  My mother remarked to me the other day that Waif had some of my "obsessiveness".    Well, whilst I was capable of great focus as a child (generally on my school work), I was not organised and efficient to the same extent as Waif.

There will be the four of us (me, husband, Waif and Older Daughter) plus an old schoolfriend of Waif's, and, for a few days, H's brother and young family.  H's parents are also going to come and stay for a night or two.  Waif has begged me to make it only the one night.   Hmmmm........Grandpa did not endear himself to her the weekend before last when he came on a rare visit and announced that she couldn't sing in tune.  Tactful, huh? As if she doesn't have self-esteem issues already.  There are lots of positive comments he could have made instead.  Sigh, he doesn't mean to be rude but is old-fashioned - he lived in and was schooled in India at the end of the Raj not seeing his parents for 10 months at a time.  He had his own pony and 2 grooms when he was only 7.  Empathy was not taught in early 20c British boarding schools in Rajastan.  They were bigger on stiff upper lip, manners and honour.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A review of 6 months at the Maudsley

It is about 6 months since Waif started to attend the Maudsley. I felt such relief when she started - we were in the hands of professionals. No, I didn't expect instant solutions but I was opimistic of full recovery within a year. After all, Waif is young, we caught her quite early and she is going to the leading centre in the world for eating disorders.

Before each visit I find myself optimisticlly expecting a weight gain as Waif seems to be sticking to her high calorie mealplan. Sometimes she has put on a few hundred grammes and sometimes she has lost a few hundred grammes.

On reviewing my blog, I see that in 6 months, Waif has put on precisely 1kg whilst she has grown about 2.5cm (I will have a precise height figure tomorrow). This is not good enough. In fact, it's pants! She needs to gain 9 or 10kg more. Something has to change, only I don't know what. I will start by pointing out these stats to Waif.

I had been umming and aaahing about whether Waif should be allowed to attend a 4 day residential engineering course in April.....I originally said she could go for 2 days (which is one night so no full day without me seeing her eat) but I have now received the timetable and see this won't work: Days 1 and 2 the teams are picked and design their projects. Day 3 they do the build and Day 4 is the presentation and competition judging. She must go for all 4 days or not at all.

Can I set a limit perhaps? There are 4 weeks to go. Perhaps I will say she can go IF she reaches 4o.5kg by then (that would be a gain of just over 0.5kg a week). I wonder if that is setting her up to fail. I wonder if it is fair on the course organisers - I know there is a long waiting list? I wonder if it is just what she needs to focus? I wonder if in 4 days there she could lose all 3 kilogrammes of weight gained in order to go?

I will ask the psych tomorrow at the Maudsley.
We went to a lecture on prime numbers the other night. To add to the excitement (seriously) we managed to catch an old routemaster bus from Charing Cross to the Albert Hall. In fact, this exact Number 15. Having been brought up with these buses and taken them regularly, I was not expecting the girls to be so excited.

Waif has netball then weights on Tuesday afternoons. As she missed sc hool yesterday, as she has eaten reasonably well and as I have lost my front door keys and am waiting in for the man from Banhams to change our locks at lunchtime, I am allowing Waif to go. She is cross with me this morning as I had to write a note explaining her absence yesterday (not well) and saying that she would need to miss last lesson tomorrow (for a "medical appointment"). Waif wants me to make up other reasons for why she misses so much school.

It's a tricky path to tread as I am keen for her new school not to focus particularly on her problems - indeed the Headmaster advised me not to tell the school nurse, who fusses - but OTOH I am unwilling to fib. I can see why Waif is embarrassed. Hopefully that will be another nudge in the direction of eating properly.

Whilst Waif has stuck well to the meal plan this week, she is still not eating freely. She avoids the high calorie cheesecake in the fridge and pick a 125 calorie eclair for pudding rather than a 300 calorie sponge. I also need to remind her every meal to eat sufficiently eg at breakfast, "Have you had your juice yet?" "Can I eat a plum instead?" is a typical exchange, and it is necessary to encourage her to have more than a splash of milk on her cereal.

I went out last night and so didn't witness Waif eat supper, and even though I was home by 9pm Waif claimed to have already eaten and drunk her late night meal. I feel a bit guilty about that but find that I need a night a week away from her mealtimes. Just for my sanity.

Maudsley tomorrow. Fingers crossed again. My best guess is that she will have put back on 0.8kg of the 1.5kg she lost last time.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day

Waif seems to be taking eating seriously this week :-) I felt bad not allowing her to go to games on Tuesday afternoon, yoga on Tuesday evening and tennis on Friday, but she accepted it with good grace. Today, I let her go on a 4 mile walk to meet a friend the other side of the park, and walk back together but that seems okay as she has been doing well, and already looks better for it. A small weight gain on a frame of nothing, looks immediately dramatically healthier.

Older Daughter heard on Friday that she has a place at the boarding school to which she applied so she will be leaving home in September at the tender age of 16, to begin pursuing her dream of being a doctor :-o We will miss her a lot, including Waif, but on the whole it will be good from her to get away from the tension of meal times, and the domination of our lives by how much Waif has or has not eaten. We are blessed to have this option. Waif wanted to know if there would be enough money left for her to go too! I told her there would be but that she would only be able to go if she has been well for 2 years so she had better hurry up and recover by this Summer if she wants to go there in the sixth form. She said I wouldn't be able to tell her what to do when she was 16 :-) I approve of the odd teenage remark as it seems healthily normal.

We are going out to eat tonight for Mother's Day - Waif booked a restaurant using my husband's restaurant account (!). I hope we can all relax and have a good evening together. Waif also gave me a lovely card. Incidentally, it featured food: it had Goldilocks trying a bowl of porridge and saying "yuk, this is so not organic!" This is very funny as nearly all of our food (well not the ready meals that Waif buys) is organic as I care about the way animals are farmed and the way we treat our planet. Waif also baked me biscuits and a chocolate fondant. She didn't eat any of it herself unfortunately.

Meantime, I have been booking non-food outings for me and the girls. We went to a maths lecture last week (sigh, yes, we all like maths and this was a lecture by Marcus Du Sautoy who is wonderful, on the magic of prime numbers), and I have booked us tickets for the National Theatre on Easter Sunday. Which reminds me. I have been putting off buying Easter eggs for the girls as I don't want Waif to be upset on Easter Sunday at receiving a large chocolate egg that might intimidate her, yet on the other hand nor do I want her to feel unloved by receiving only a tiny one. I am searching for a small yet perfect option, perhaps with more china or fluffy rabbit than chocolate.

I have also arranged for Waif to begin one-t-one art tuition on Thursdays. She loves art and it is a hobby that brings her much joy and, I hope, lets her feel special.

We have been laughing this week because 2 people have called Waif a genius! One was her Latin teacher who had been trying to persuade her not to drop the subject for GCSE as he says she is very talented. He then walked in to her in Spanish the very next lesson. Because she is new at the school and the setting didn't work out (she has been slotted into the German class as that is where there was a space) the school have been letting her sit in with the "A" level class, doing her own work.

"Waif, you are so clever" muttered the Latin teacher in astonishment, and left shaking his head in disbelief before Waif had a chance to explain :-) He, he. Then a boy in her class said that she was some kind of genius because he has been struggling in music to pick out the tune to "Walking in the Air" with one finger, and Waif came along and played it with left hand accompaniment, and announced, for it is true, that she had worked it out by ear. It's all good for her sense of self worth. Oh, she also came top of her whole year in a maths test. Sigh, is it good to be so driven? Half of me is proud of her and the other part wishes that she didn't bother so much and watched more junk TV.

Meanwhile, I am getting her to read Sophie's World and the Selfish Gene to stretch her mind a little more when she announces she is bored.

Oh, one other development. Right at the end of the last Maudsley visit, the psych mentioned that she wanted to discuss the whole issue of whether Waif sleeping in our bed was even "appropriate". Waif has slept in her own bed since then. No doubt this is to avoid any such conversation. I presume this is a good thing. Luckily, one of our cats has at the same moment decided that he loves Waif's bed and so is keeping her company. The dog usually starts off on her bedroom floor, too, although he pads back downstairs some time in the night.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

What kind of mother am I?

Having taken Waif for a throat scan a few weeks ago, I did follow up with a call to my doctor's surgery a fortnight ago. The results were just in but had not yet been looked at by a doctor. ..the receptionist said that a doctor would be looking at them later that day.

I left it at that, thinking that the surgery would be in touch if there was a problem. Anyway, negligent even though I am, whilst pondering how much Waif has been eating (maybe) and yet still losing weight, I chased up the results this morning. It seems that there has been a note sitting on Waif's file saying that there is "no mass" but she does have an enlarged thyroid and, query, an inflamed thyroid. She should make an appointment (non-urgent - phew: guilt, step back one pace) with the GP to discuss.

Luckily, Waif is off school this afternoon (it's netball and gym afternoon and I am just about to pick her up) and my wonderful GP has a cancellation at 3.40pm, so we will go along together. Meantime I am resisting the urge to google "inflamed thyroid".

I am expecting this to all come to nothing, given that Waif's thyroid function blood tests were normal but then I am no doctor.

Once again, I am so glad not to be in work at the moment.

Monday, 8 March 2010

2 steps back :-(

Waif has lost over a kilogramme - effectively all the weight that she gained so splendidly at the start of February. This means that she is to do no sport for the time being.

Waif has also agreed to add to her food plan - scrambled eggs in the morning, a doughnut with her mid-morning yoghurt and chips twice a week. Waif wanted a boiled egg instead of scrambled for breakfast but the psych said that, amazingly, it takes more calories to digest a boiled egg than are in it so that was a non-starter. No wonder OD is so slim; she starts every day with a boiled egg. I shall make Waif's scrambled eggs with cream and butter in abundance.

The pscyh said that no way should my husband and I stop our sport (I did ask). She said that would be allowing ED far too much control. We noted that exercise is a healthy thing to do EXCEPT for someone who is too thin and losing weight.

Waif was very upset when the pscyh suggested that perhaps she had been putting food in the bin or pretending to eat it when she isn't. Waif claimed to have lost her voice and not to be able to speak. OD assures me that Waif is faking this voice loss and that Waif has been talking to her in a normal voice.

We are to return next Wednesday for a brief visit to check that the weight loss is being reversed.

We all agreed that Waif is growing quickly at the moment. This makes it harder for her to put on weight, and yet all the more necessary. Her hands and limbs have now taken on that mottled purple sickly look that starved people have :-( :-( She used to have beautiful golden skin. She will do again; I am determined. The psych asked us to bring in some photos of how the Waif looked 2 years ago when she was a healthy weight.

Running and triggers

Many thanks to Katilexis and to Jennifer for their insightful comments regarding my last posts.'s very tricky - I have been running nearly all of my life, and increasingly over the last 4 years as the children have grown old enough to leave for periods of time. It is part of who I am and I would find it difficult to give up lightly... I am booked up for one triathlon already in the spring and am planning a second.

I have taken on board their advice that my running could well be triggering to Waif, and they are right that her health is my topmost priority. BUT, and this is a big but, I am not sure it is right to subsume my whole life to Waif's illness, and also the healthy wellbeing of the rest of the family - should I stop my husband from cycling, and prevent my other daughter from pursuing ice skating?

We have always been a sporting family; exercise is important to health just as much (or nearly) as being a healthy weight. In my ideal world, this time next year Waif will be in the normal weight range and enjoying a normal range of sports. She is very good at running, incidentally, and loves her tennis and swimming. Yes, she will need to eat more than children who do not exercise as much but I think of it as helping her to develop a healthy appetite and a love and respect for her body with its healthy musculature, rather than a desire to starve it. I want her to view her body as something that enables her to live life to the full - like a machine that she treats with respect - and not something that has to be stick thin to attract praise. Her body is not there for others but for herself.

I have told Waif that if she has not put on weight today then sport will stop until she is managing to regain weight. In the meantime, I let her run the 2k yesterday - the whole event was a day out for the family. My H and I ran the 10k, as did some of our best friends and their children were all in the 2k. We then had a big slap up meal at one of their houses. It would have been difficult/ embarrassing for Waif not to run and it would have been harsh to stop her. She ran a very good race and we will be getting the results soon. She was proud of herself.

Katie and Jennifer: I have not completely ignored your points of view! I am going to talk to the psych at the Maudsley this afternoon and get her views. Hopefully, we will also be able to ask Waif whether the exercise is triggering. And I am taking your advice on skipping meals and not do it - although I am going to stop having the chocolate bars (which I dislike anyway) that I eat to keep Waif company. I shall explain to her that she needs to eat enough to gain weight whereas I simply need to maintain my own - and explain that her diet sheet will change once she is healthy again. It must be important for Waif to stop seeing eating and weight as some sort of competition and instead to see eating as a pleasure and a way of staying healthy and feeling good, strong and full of vitality. Having said that, I really will check this out with the Maudsley this afternoon.

Meantime, Waif has hacked into my husband's restaurant booking account and booked a very expensive restaurant for the family on Mother's Day. She has simply blocked out the diary putting "Don't book anything - trust me". What a sweetheart even if she shouldn't be using H's account! I only found out as the restaurant phoned to confirm.

Please, please keep your fingers crossed for our Maudsley weigh-in this afternoon. H is certain she has not put on weight.

I have 3 things to ask:

1. What does the psych think about my running.
2. Can we increase the diet sheet to include eggs and/or rice pudding at least on weekend mornings, as the rest of us often have a cooked breakfast whereas Waif is just eating 2 pieces of dry toast.
3. What does the psych think of Waif always wanting to buy and eat ready meals (with calories printed on the sides of the boxes) rather than eating home-cooked family meals with the rest of us. I don't really mind but note that it is not normal behaviour. Perhaps it is a phase whilst Waif needs to count calories to feel in control.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Waif's diary

I have not been invading Waif's privacy but she has had a clear out and allowed me to read and keep (!!!) a short diary she began when she was 8 and kept for a day or two. It must have been March 2005. Here it is , complete with spelling errors, including the one of intelligent which had me hooting. You can't really have the full effect as she has done special writing and illustrations that I can't reproduce :-o

Hi, I'm Waif.
And this is a book all about ME! [picture of Waif]
Now let me tell you a few things about me. I'm beautiful, intellegent and absoloutly BRILLIANT!

Ok, so...about my family. I have one sister called OD she is 10. She can be sometimes nice. But she can sometimes be really - and I mean REALLY - anoying.

My Mum is called Hope. She is 40 years old. And I mean old. I don't see much of her because she is always at work (how BORING). And even if she is around I only get to play games with her once a week. She mostly does the cleaning and the washing.

My Dad is also at work most of the time apart from the weekends. He is called Horace. He is 39! When he was young he was called DumDum, how silly! But I can' blame him for not seeing me because he has got a really important job. And he is even in the book of best loyers. [Ed: that's lawyers not lovers]

I also have a dog - and before you say anything, he isn't just any old dog. No way. He is the BEST dog in the whole world. He's extremly BIG! [picture of the world]. I named him Muddy when I was three. Really he hates mud. I guess I did it because he is a muddy colour.

I have two kittens. Well kind of. One of them is my sister's.

Allthough of course my cat is much, much better than hers.

My cat's called Varjak and OD's cat is called Dizzi.

My cat is the most handsome cat in the whole wide world and Ellie's cat is ok but she does scratch a lot

[picture of the whole family and animals - all illustrations by Waif]

I also have an opair but she is only staying a few months and I'm not related ot her so she doesn't really count as family.

Write. Enough of family. Because my Mum (Hope) has been nagging me and OD about having our school bags too heavy. And then me and OD had an idea that instead of school bags we could bring rucksacks. But oh no. Mum wouldn't let us. And to make matters worse, OD's friend brings this really unsuitable rucksack to school. HOW UNFAIR!

TOday after school we went to Pizza hut for a celebration of OD getting into [her secondary school]. But Mum had forgotten about my boring piano lesson so I had to go there instead. But I guess she did make it up to me by giving me a crunchie and a peice of chocolate cake [pictures]

Have you noticed that mums are like servants? They drive you to your friends house, they clean your clothes, they cook for you. It's great. My Mum is the BEST ever! My Dad is brilliant as well.

My new opair is really nice. She likes playing games all day long with me! She is called Emma. She has recorded her very own songs ona CD. I think they are really good [picture of Emma}

Oh no, it's my Mum's birthday in a week and I haven't got her a presant! I haven't even made her a card.
It's worse then WORSE!

Then it ends. Sigh, perhaps little changes :-) She doesn't seem like a child with trauma, does she?

Parents' evening

Last night was Waif's parents' evening. She has only been at the school since January, but already the teachers are in love with her: Waif concentrates well, inspires others, sets out her work beautifully, picks up new concepts instantly and is generally perfect.

As her English teacher remarked, she very rarely has a child that she wants to tell to try a little less hard, but Waif is she. When asked to complete a piece of work, Waif does it first forwards, then backwards, upside down and illustrated. This streak will make Waif go far in life - let me recommend her already to any future employer; she is your ideal worker.

Oddly, the only subject that was luke warm was her art teacher. Waif adores art. she has just been given £200 by her grandmother to spend on a hobby (OD bought ice skates) and has rekitted out the art cupboard. She spends upwards of 15 hours a week at home drawing and painting and IMO is outstandingly talented (also in the opinion of the art department at her last school which is one of the best in the country). Waif had already complained to me that art lessons at her new school were strange as she has not so far been asked to draw or paint anything. They have been commenting on famous artists' works. The teacher said that she didn't have much to say about Waif. Tis confirms that she has not seen Waif draw. I hope that she has a chance to show her skills soon. I mentioned that art was Waif's favourite subject and that she wanted to go to art school. The teacher looked a little embarrassed.

Ho hum, English was "thrilled to bits" and already has Waif pencilled in for an English degree. Her maths master (Waif is straight top sets and is taught by the head of maths) thinks that she is "exceptional". I confess that I have never looked at Waif's maths for she has never asked me. I must start. Her Chemistry teacher is frustrated at having to teach electrolysis without mentioning atomic structure and ions, and instead ina wishy washy non-scientific way, but said that Waif was the first child that he has taught that has taken the concepts, tested them mentally, probed deeply and run with the ideas.

Of course, part of this fantastic adulation is due to the fact that Waif has moved from a top selective school to a much less academic local school and so stands out. Good for her though. I hope this star position will boost Waif's confidence and self esteem.

If only she would eat!!!!!! Waif has so much talent but it will all count for nothing if she is too ill to attend school or live a long life. She has felt too tired for school on 2 days this week and I am certain this is because she has not been eating properly this week - all the eating she has been doing when I am "not in the kitchen" hasn't translated to physical strength.

I am serious (and remind her regularly) that sport will come to a complete halt if she has not put on weight by Monday. We may get lots of food in on Saturday and Sunday as Waif wants to run a 2k race on Sunday which is after the 10k race that my husband and I are running locally, and will be run by many friends and neighbours.

Meanwhile, I am expecting a poor running time for myself as I have put on 4kg since Waif has attended the Maudsley! That is nearly an 8% increase in weight. In the same way that one wants to be ill in place of one's children, in some way I am eating in some kind of empathy with Waif to set a good example only it hasn't worked too well. I am going to start skipping lunch in order to keep up with Waif in the evening and to not end up needing a complete new wardrobe (many of my clothes no longer fit).

Oh, the parents in law arrive tonight. Often Pa-in-law congratulates me on being slim. I wonder what he will say tonight :-o

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Emotionally fragile

Yesterday was my birthday.

Waif is the most organised child in the world. She carefully chooses well in advance, buys, wraps and delivers all of her friends' birthday presents without fail. But yesterday she had not even a card for me. That must be significant somehow but I am not sure how.

Having said that, whilst I went out to pick up my Older Daughter from school, Waif baked me a birthday cake, ready to serve when we arrived home. Even this did not go quite smoothly as OD was taking her time upstairs trying to charge the camera's batteries whilst Waif was keen to get on and sing happy birthday. Eventually, Waif lit the candle without OD, and OD had a little strop when she came to the kitchen as she felt she was being denied the opportunity to take some photos for me.

Sadly, I could not persuade Waif to have a slice - she said she had eaten a large slice of cheesecake whilst I was out. Hmmmm.... she does a lot of eating in my absence. And the dog is not getting thinner.

I keep emphasising to Waif that it is vitally important that she DOES eat. I still don't have the mornings under control: I eat BF with OD at 6.30 - 7am, then at 7.10am, I walk her to the bus stop and quickly take the dog to the park from 7.10 - 7.30. My aim is to then supervise Waif's breakfast at 7.30am and take her to school at 8am but recently Waif is always up and about at 7.30am when I return, and always claims to have eaten whilst I was out. Unfortunately my husband is showering at this time so cannot verify it. The Monday weigh - in will be telling.

I so hope Waif will have gained weight but to me she is looking paler and more fragile this past week or two, and has been emotionally delicate. If she has lost weight, then it will be time for more drastic action: tennis and swimming and PE will stop completely and I will insist on seeing Waif eat and if she eats without me that's fin but I will still expect her to eat the meal plan in front of me AS WELL.

Waif woke at 6am to say "Happy Birthday" before falling back to sleep. Yes, she is still generally in our bed even though she managed a night or two in her own after the last visit to the Maudsley where the psych expressed surprise and the observation that it was unusual for a teenage, to be in her parents' bed.

We will be exploring this further on Monday when there is more time. It is not that Waif does not have a lovely bedroom. Actually, she has 2 lovely bedrooms: a very large one on the top floor (double bed in white wrought iron, a long, long desk for all her artwork under the southfacing windows, a full wall of wardrobes for her things, new green quality wool carpet, halogen downlighters, her own stencils of butterflies on the walls) and a smaller, cosier room (still big enough at about 10ft by 11ft) further down on the first half landing in case she prefers that. This "second bedroom" is the one she now generally uses during the day, with its fluffy white rug, her laptop, her art cupboard, two bookshelves and, now, all her favourite clothes and new floral duvet cover and pink wool blanket and matching cushions. One of the cats likes to sleep in this room, and the dog is persuadable so Waif need not feel lonely. But come midnight, there is always a patter of feet and Waif joins us in bed.

Anyway, Waif seemed very fragile yesterday. As ever she wanted to know the precise eating arrangements. I had not spoken to my husband but thought it unlikely we would go out to eat in the evening as I had eaten out at lunch with an old friend and we are enjoying the series Five Days on BBC1 which is on every night this week at 9pm. So Waif decided to eat a lamb and lentil casserole at about 7pm which I had cooked the day before. OD held out to see what else might be on offer....

H arrived home at 8pm and announced he had booked a restaurant. I suggested that we all went along for a cocktail and some bar snacks - so Older Daughter could have maybe a sandwich and chips, and Waif could eat something smaller if she wanted. Waif was adamant that not only did she not want to go out, but that she did not want US to go out either as she won't be in the house on her own. OD was very keen to came out by this point. Waif burst into tears and I decided we should abandon the whole idea. OD then, not unsurprisingly, lost it a little and told Waif that she "always spoilt things" and "gets her own way". Sigh, this is somewhat true - the "getting her own way" bit, not the spoiling things But OD needs to understand that Waif is not well. I told her so and, to give her credit, OD then very maturely said that she would stay home with Waif and cook herself something for supper whilst I went out with my husband. Meanwhile Waif was still in floods of tears and needed lots of hugs to regain control of herself.

Nothing around food is simple at the moment.

OD takes her examination for boarding school on Saturday. She must be hoping hard to be accepted.