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.


  1. practically thinking4 March 2010 at 11:19

    hmm - could you try not eating with OD (merely being there and serving up) in favour of sitting and eating with Waif at 7.30.
    you have probably tried it already - but even healthy people without any ED are often uncomfortable eating while someone else is in the room who is not eating. Eating is convivial after all.

  2. Anorexia Mummy4 March 2010 at 11:35

    Yes, sure. Actually, when I say I "eat" with OD, actually I am just cooking her boiled egg and toast and generally clearing up, so I would quite happily eat with Waif at 7.30...the trouble is that she says she has finished by the time I am home...... I am considering asking the Maudsley to alter the food plan to include egg in the morning - she always used to have scrambled egg and tomatoes on toast for breakfast.

  3. practically thinking4 March 2010 at 13:04

    so do you then eat on your own at 7.30... or do you take the opportunity to miss breakfast as well?

    you could try setting the table for two at 7.30 and then sitting down and eating your own bfast with her empty bowl and glass beside you, if necessary. You will look solitary and lonely and I think this might create some natural pressure to eat with you. It also sends the message that even when logistics are awkward it's still importan for you to eat some breakfast.

  4. Not that its any of my business...
    but as an older sister to three little sisters, I imagine it must be really hard for your older daughter. I believe one of my little sisters had/has an ED, or at least struggled with eating (she lost a lot of weight in a short period of time with no excercise and no health issues, although she is at a healthy weight and eating fine now), and it was very hard to have to deal with that, although i did sympathize, it could get extremely frusterating, and I really resented her at points, although she is one of my best friends. i know she probably felt the same way over the past summer when i was cutting exessively and my parents were stressing about that.
    I'm sorry, I know you have a lot to deal with, i've read most of your blog, and its amazing how dedicated you are... i wish my parents noticed and were as kind about my depression and self injury as you are.
    not that they aren't amazingly supportive, they just don't tend to notice much as they have a lot going on... having four girls is a lot to handle.

    i love reading your blog, good luck to you and your family <3

  5. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I also was very hesitant to stay home alone (I still at 18 don't like being home alone at night), and would sleep in my parents bed until I was probably 13 or 14.