Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Weight and Oxbridge

Prompted by Diana and the passage of time, here is an update.

How is Waif doing?  Hmmm...being a bit grumpy and looking very thin is one answer, sadly.  Getting in to a top London school for Sixth Form and still being the light of my life is another.

Possibly against my better judgment and because I am far from perfect, I renewed Waif's gym membership.  I decided that if I don't and if she is determined then she will merely exercise some other way (eg walking to school secretly).  She always stays late after school to "do art".  How would I know if she were actually going to the school gym?  I hope not but I can never know.  She will still eat when prompted and just about everything I put in front of her - she is very obliging and good BUT will make all sorts of excuses to trade high calorie items and/or skip the between meal snacks.

Last week, she definitely tried cigarettes which made her feel sick.  I can't get excited about smoking (even thought I loathe it with a passion) when she still has eating issues.  As long as she eats I don't care about anything else.

I am so proud of her school offer, but am holding off on a decision:  on the one hand, she deserves a first class education as she is clearly a very bright girl and I would hesitate to deprive anyone of that.  OTOH she did not cope at the last high pressure girls' school she was at so why on earth am I contemplating sending her to another?

The school in question has a very good supportive approach to anorexics (unlike Waif's last school which just told her to leave) which is a good sign.

Meanwhile, I took Older Daughter to her Cambridge interview on Monday.  In the hotel dining room, were numerous pairs of mothers and teen offspring looking both smart and nervous and clearly all there for the same reason.  Amongst them was a girl so thin I just wanted to hug her and advise her to chase her dreams of Cambridge but first she had to EAT or she would not even be living that long  :-(  :-(   It is so hard as a bystander to understand WHY anorexics don't eat.  It can't be to look better because below a certain weight people look awful - bony, drawn, even - I hesitate to say it - repulsive.  So what is it?  OD reckons it is that they look at one part of themselves eg their stomach and decide that THAT part is too fat and diet until (never) that part is acceptable to them without looking at the whole picture.  The irony is that on starvation rations, one will never have a flat stomach due to some kind of protein osmosis (OD told me the details, but I forget).

I don't want Waif to be that skeletal girl having breakfast before her Oxford interview in 2 years' time.

Meantime here are some pics:

I was cleaning out the kitchen cupboards........

We have been looking at old photos and organising the computer files.  This one made me laugh.  We have three cats and a dog and this cat has cattitude for sure.

More heart tugging are old photos of Waif, before she got too too thin, where she looks healthy and happy.  Where is she hiding?

Monday, 28 November 2011

I was cleaning out the kitchen cupboards........

We have been looking at old photos and organising the computer files.  This one made me laugh.  This is one of our Burmese cats.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

School run subterfuge

Waif's school is about 4 miles from home.  As you, Dear Reader, will know if you have been reading for long, Waif often cycles this in the warmer months but I have vetoed cycling for November through to the February half term as it is too dark and dangerous where she has to negotiate London A roads.

We have near neighbours each with a son at Waif's school and they share a school run in the car.  It is also possible to catch 2 buses to school, or to walk through the park and then catch one bus.  The timings are basically as follows:

cycling:        10 mins
car journey:  15 mins (rush hour traffic and no short cuts across the park make this longer than cycling)
bus:              40 mins to an hour depending on waits  :-(    the first bus runs only every 25 mins so the wait is unpredictable but last month this improved as there is a new iphone app telling you when a bus is due.
walking:       about an hour
walking half way then bus:  about an hour

You can see why Waif likes cycling.

I have provisionally joined the lift share so that Waif can have a lift to school every day.  However, she has been refusing to take it and insisting instead on going by bus.  I have let this ride as I applaud independence and, in London, bus travel is free so it doesn't cost any more.  I still do my turn(s) on the lift share to reserve Waif's ability to get a lift any day she wants one.

Her logic is that she does not want to sit in the back of a car with boys who smell and that she does not know.  They do not in reality smell as far as I have noticed, incidentally, and seem like very nice boys.   One is in the year above her at school and the other is in the year below.  Ho hum, I have merely pointed out that she has no control who sits next to her on the bus..

I have been blind though, Dear Readers.  The Near Neighbour (NN)  I met on bonfire night told me that her anorexic daughter turned out to have been walking to school every day, whilst pretending to get the bus early for extra studying.  This is all about burning off calories.

Waif has been leaving for school at 7.30 even though she now has a new app for her iphone called Buschecker which predicts the arrival of the next bus and so her journey should have been getting shorter.  She has also been staying after school to do art, telling me that she will text when she needs a lift home, and then texting me to tell me she is in fact on the bus.

I told NN that I trusted Waif.  She cautioned me to check up on her.  I had not done that until this morning when one of my Older Daughter's friends arrived at our house for her lift with Older Daughter and remarked she had just seen Waif in the Park.  The Park is not between us and the bus stop.

Waif had been in a strop this morning for at least two reasons:

1.  I had made her scrambled egg and insisted she ate it with 2 pieces of toast; and
2.  her grandparents were staying and she has had issues with her grandfather who has in fact inadvertantly(ish) been quite cruel and hurtful to Waif, and is too "old school" to apologise and make up.  We are only just on speaking terms really although I am not sure he has noticed.

Anyway, whether it was Waif's mood that put me on alert, or just the tip off that she was in the park I am not sure but I threw on my clothes, grabbed Waif's bike from the shed and pedalled off after her.  I caught up with Waif probably 15 minutes after she had left home, trudging through the rain across the Heath half way to school.

Sigh.  I told her she was grounded and insisted she came home (I am not sure why I didn't let her keep going at that point as school was as close as home but I wanted consequences).

She knew she had been rumbled although she half heartedly said she hadn't mentioned the walking as she thought I wouldn't mind whether or not she was walking.  She knew that was a lie.  I explained that I was very hurt and upset that she had lied to me, and worried about her weight, and asked her to promise to be honest so that I can help her.  I will tell her tonight this is the moment at which I now insist on her accepting a lift every day after a cooked breakfast - I expect she will work that out for herself really.  We had a good chat on the way home with her agreeing that any weight under 50kg was much too little and that she would try to eat as much as possible until she was over that.  Her target weight is actually more like 56kg but that is for another day.  One step at a time.  In return, I told her that I was doing my best not to bully her, but more to help give her strategies and insight and she agreed that she did not feel bullied by me (rather surprisingly and I am not sure if that is good or not).

She admitted to also walking home on a few days.  This would mean that she was taking an 8 mile walk with a bag each day she walked both ways.

She did not want the indignity of meeting her grandparents back at the house so I went in first, organised a distraction, and then snuck Waif upstairs for the half hour before the grandparents left.  Waif and I then ate a second breakfast and I drove her to school.  Double sigh.  I feel so sorry for her.  I tried to talk to her about her worries (school entrance exams, her grandfather, boys.....) but there does not seem to be a specific link.  I wish there were a magic bullet.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Holidays in New York!

I have booked for us to spend a week in the Big Apple over Christmas.  It will be one of our last family holidays as Older Daughter will be off to university next year  (sniff) and Easter 2012 will be filled with revision for both OD and Waif as they prepare for GCSEs and "A" levels.

I have the flights and accommodation sorted but still have the pleasure of arranging our itinerary.  I hope to include:

- lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Rockerfeller Centre

- going to the top of the Empire State Building

- visiting the Met

- ice skating in Central Park

- going out for brunch

- going to the Frick Collection

- catching a show on Broadway

- and a guided tour around Central Park on Christmas Day
hopefully in the snow!

Ok, I am off to book some of those things right now!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Dilemmas Academic

Waif is a bright and determined young lady.  Lots of anorexics are - I guess it is the same determination and perseverance that allows them to take such control of their eating and also to work persistently.    You couldn't be a slapdash anorexic.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you will know that it began with her moving from her high pressure academic london girls' school to a gentler, local mixed school.  There were several reasons for this:  firstly, I was worried that fall outs with class mates was making her unhappy at her last school (she had a year dominated by a couple of really very nasty characters which had an enormous impact on the rest of the class), secondly I wanted to be close enough to supervise lunches if necessary (it wasn't, luckily) and thirdly because her old school dropped a very unsubtle hint that they could not cope with her, which I suspect meant that they were aware of their disastrous reputation for anorexia.  They certainly, for all their ultimate sympathy on leaving, made it difficult for the girls to eat.  aside:  I would love to campaign for schools to have a sacrosanct lunch hour, like hospitals are encouraged to do, devoid of meetings arranged, detentions given or information sessions during the time they should be eating, and that all girls should be able to eat even if they have forgotten their passes.

Roll on 18 months:  Waif is happy and settled in her local school.  She has a lovely set of friends whom she sees nearly every day after school, boys and girls alike.   Her teachers adore her.  The world looks bright.

Here is a picture break- 2 of our cats:

BUT Waif sees Older Daughter in her UCAS struggles - Cambridge is her top choice - and how every mark at GCSE and AS level counts.  Waif has begun to look to the future and has decided that she wants to go to Oxford,  the problem being that at her current school the academics are okay rather than excellent.  At "A" level next year, she will be in a class with students aiming at B and C grades as well as those aiming for A and A*.   One of her chosen "A" level subjects is taught by a whacky and inspirational teacher who has not achieved good grades for his pupils last year, sadly.  The upshot of this is that Waif has been looking around at Sixth Form options.  Last week she took the entrance exam for a prestigious central London girls' school, performed well and has been asked for interview on Thursday.  I suspect she did outstandingly in the Further Maths paper as she said it asked her for proofs.  She had never done a proof before but said that she got them all (!)  out.  I am not wholly surprised as she is a natural, even though she does not wildly care for the sciences.

Waif still looks to us for guidance and I am not sure whether to steer her away from a school move, or to encourage it...or to let her decide wholly alone.  I have tried to lay out some pro's and cons as I see them:  classes at Top School will be faster and more inspiring and their Oxbridge results are stunning.  On the other hand, she will not have any established friends there, and we agreed it took 6-12 months for her to make good friends at Local School, and she will not be singled out for particular attention in the way she will be at her Local School where the Head is very keen to groom his Oxbridge candidates in order to build up the reputation of the school.  Also, if you move at sixth form to a school with an established pupil base (rather than a sixth form college where all are new), you can guarantee you will not be the one picked for prefect, or Head Girl, or Head of Games or cut slack when you are ill as you are an unknown quantity yet to establish your good reputation - she is a complete teacher's dream so very likely to have some of those things at her current school.

And together with all of this, is the anorexia.  This she is less willing to discuss.  In my mind, academic success will bring her happiness and help her to be stable, but various friends have counselled me that Oxbridge is bad news for anorexics as it is so high pressure.  Top School also has its fair share of anorexics.

Waif is up to some of her old tricks:  breakfast is now a minimally small bowl of bran flakes and a piece of dry toast.  Lunch yesterday was a small bowl of soup and a piece of bread.  She SWORE to me that she had eaten cake at Costa and a good supper at a friend's house but sometimes she kids herself.  I am working up to getting her on the scales to check my fears.  She DOES look thin but then I met a fellow runner yesterday who sees Waif at the gym who reckoned she just looked lanky.  I have lost the ability to judge.  One thing I am certain of is that she has become defensive and grumpy which I remember all too well from the time 2 years ago that she was rapidly losing weight :-(

In conclusion, the ONLY thing I care about is Waif's wellbeing and happiness.  I know these all hinge on her eating properly and maintaining a healthy body.  What I am less clear about is whether this will all follow on form academic success (which will make her happy).  I am inclined to encourage her to stay at Local School where she is loved and cherished, and to grab the opportunities afforded to her for academic enhancement should she want those.  Local School does, after all, have some Oxbridge success.


Sunday, 6 November 2011


I feel like we are bullying Waif  :-(

After a few months of all getting on well, and having a lovely time, we are having tears again at mealtimes.  My poor lovely Waif who is always so gentle with me.

My gut instinct is that meal times are NOT a good moment to discuss anorexic issues - how upset we are that Waif has lost weight, how she will be going back to the Maudsley at this rate and how we need to weigh her.   I feel that if someone is upset, then the last thing they want to do is eat.  Gosh,  even"I" didn't  feel hungry after listening to that.  I reckon firm encouragement is the way to go.  H, on the other hand, says that he does not see Waif at any other time and do I expect him to go and find her some other time to talk to her about it (um, yes, actually).

H refused to let Waif take her pudding to eat in front of the TV, even though she was upset and nobody was enjoying the meal.  Poor Waif looked distraught.  I told her that she should sit at the table as Daddy wanted her to.  I then suggested that she just eat half at the table and then take it away elsewhere.  Sigh, this does raise issues of conflict - I want to support H on disciplinary and child issues but it is tough when I fundamentally disagree with something that he suddenly comes out with as a diktat.   But I recognise that he too is trying to help and I do not have the monopoly on being right.

Still, the main thing is that Waif had a good lunch in the end.

I have not even addressed the issue of disallowing Waif from cycling to school from tomorrow.  She is not going to like me at all.  I know that she is okay if I drive her to and from school every day, but is adamant she won't be part of a lift share with 2 "smelly" (actually very pleasant and not smelly that I have noticed) boys down the street.  I think I will compromise on this one and drive her myself even though a lift share would save me several hours a week.  I will have to explain a little to the other mothers as they will think I am very rude driving in without their boys when I am going that way anyway and they both find it difficult to do the school run as they work......  Mind you, the boys are 15 and 17 and there is actually a bus that even Waif is quite happy to catch.  I don't want her on the bus though as it requires an extra half hour and I am worried that she might actually be walking to school in that extra time (Near Neighbour said that was what her daughter had been doing under the guise of leaving early to do extra school work).

I wish Waif had not lost weight again.....  our lives are all so much happier when she is eating well.  Hers especially.

Feeling more positive

Waif had a piece of toast for breakfast.  I was out walking the dog, and asked H to ensure that Waif ate properly.  When I got back, Waif took me off into another room and told me that I had to get Dad off her back.  Apparently he had barked at her "What else are you going to have?"  I explained that we needed to make sure that she ate enough and we didn't want her getting ill again and that she is much too thin, and H is only concerned for her but that perhaps her father could ask in a different way.  I suggested I cook pancakes as Waif had chosen a pancake mix at an upmarket deli last week where H had told each daughter they could spend £5 as they wished.

We did the same.  Older Daughter bought sweets, I bought duck liver pate, H bought french finger biscuits that reminded him of his childhood and Waif chose pancake mix.  H had tried to dissuade Waif, saying it was very easy to make pancake batter but she had been adamant.  Anyway, this morning she said she wanted to "save" the pancake mix.

Older Daughter was cooking a variant on french toast - a luxury version using croissants and caramelised apples.

 Waif claimed she didn't like egg.  I suggested a banana but the skin had black flecks.

Waif ended up agreeing to eat a small yoghurt.  Blimey, this could be a long haul.

I am planning roast pheasant for tonight but Waif has already announced that this is "not her favourite".  This could well be code for "will not eat it" so I have a back up lasagne.  Does anyone else hate cooking?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Reality Check

We went to a fireworks party tonight and a very good friend of mine (little wave to friend) confirmed to me my worst fears - Waif is looking awfully thin.  It has been half term and Waif and I have been spending lots of time at the gym, although, to be fair, she was sitting revising on Tuesday whilst I swam.  There again on Sunday she cycled there, ran 7k, then cycled home.  Meanwhile she has lots of reasons not to eat - the carrot cake has had the icing smudged, she forgot to have toast for breakfast, she has gone off all the ice creams I have in the freezer etc  I have let things slide, I realise.  I have handed over control before she is ready.  I have been wilfully blind because I DON"T WANT HER TO BE ILL.

Perhaps it is laziness?  Watching and controlling each and every meal is a chore, and Waif will cheerfully volunteer to relieve me of the burden but tonight I had a reality check:  for the first time, I had a proper conversation with a near neighbour and long time acquaintance whose daughter I knew also has had anorexia for several years.  I had drafted Near Neigbbour an email when I first found this out a few months back but never sent it for fear of intruding or upsetting her.  But tonight we both ventured onto the topic and it turns out that she knew about Waif and I knew about her 18yo daughter.  Her daughter is now attending day treatment at Bethlem and their whole family have been through the mill.  Near Neighbour gave me some strong advice that I need to take back control.  I need to cancel Waif's gym membership until she is a healthy weight and I need to take her straight back to the Maudsley.  She said to make the most of the pre 18 period and even post 18 to pull the strings that we still have - university fees etc will not be paid in the absence of a healthy weight.

I am going to start tonight - Waif is out at fireworks with some lovely school friends.  They all met earlier at our house (my hubby and I were out at a different party).  I had left lasagne and garlic bread but, on my return, discover it untouched.  I expect Waif's friends are starving!  Last night, Waif had her boyfriend round and I had left them fillet steaks and chips (well, I had left the chips in the freezer but they are 15 and 16yo so are capable of cooking) and those too had been left untouched.  i am 100% certain that BF would have wolfed them down if Waif had offered them.  I have put the lasagne in the oven and will be ensuring it is eaten when they all return.

Sigh, I am a pathetic mother because I can't for the life of me remember if Waif is about 47kg, or 37kg.  I think it must be 37kg  :-(    I have wilfully forgotten.  I need to check back in this blog and to get her on some scales tomorrow as soon as her friends leave.

I am also going to put my foot down about cycling to school.  Waif, despite protestations, and unless she can give me further and better particulars, will have to accept the lift share that is going with 2 neighbours with teenaged sons at the same school as Waif.  That way I know she is not walking to school and she can leave 30 mins later than if she were catching the bus so that there is more time for breakfast.

In my opinion, the Maudsley discharged Waif too soon - they bought my husband's insistence that he too was very thin when he was a teenager, and it hadn't done him any harm.  I expect he was thin (he was) but this was not from lack of appetite but because he grew rapidly to 6ft 4 at boarding school where food was restricted.

Near Neighbour has been participating in a research project on anorexia and has been told that there is an epigenetic link between pregnancy trauma and anorexia.  She, it turns out, was rescued from a burning house at 7 months pregnant.  My life has been more mundane but I did indeed go through a trauma of sorts when pregnant with Waif - my husband became worryingly ill (we both suspected a brain tumour) and temporarily lost the ability to talk and was about to resign his job leaving me as the sole breadwinner whereas meanwhile my employer (of whom I was the only full time married woman member of professional staff out of about 60) was disputing my right to maternity leave, pay and customary accommodation and basically told me that they did not want to employ women as my husband should keep me.  This sounds trivial but actually I had visions of being unemployed, homeless and with a baby, toddler and disabled husband.  Thankfully, everything worked out in the end but there was definitely stress.  In fact, at about 7 months pregnant, we did hit a crisis as Hubby was rushed to hospital needing emergency surgery - with me (5ft 2, petite, heavily pregnant) trying to get him (in serious pain and unable to walk unaided), together with a reluctant 2 year old, down the stairs to our flat and to the hospital as quickly as possible - the GP on the phone said I had to go to him so that he could decide whether H needed to go straight to hospital (after one look, he confirmed that H did indeed need to go straight to hospital).  The GP said point blank that he did not do home visits.  Looking back, I should have called an ambulance.  At the hospital, H was given morphine and a bed to lie on, before emergency surgery.  I was not offered a chair (it was not really about me at that point), and then collapsed.  Anyway, I wonder if there is a connection or whether everyone, if asked, could point to some traumatic event in pregnancy?

Still, the past is the past and all I care about is the future, and getting Waif back on a healthy path.  She wil be back in the next half hour so I am off to cook  :-)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Not sure if I have posted this before.  It is Waif looking Waiflike.

She looks like the model for ASOS, Cara.  Sometimes people stop her in the street and ask her.   In fact, this could BE Waif:

First Recovery Breakfast

I didn't get much chance to talk to Waif last night as she was out with her boyfriend until about 7.30pm.  I had supper ready - lightly dusted and fried lemon sole,  ratatouille and some new boiled potatoes (not the most calorific meal, I admit, but I was going to insist on pudding and had planned it and shopped for it before taking in the news that Waif needed feeding up again).  But Waif claimed to have already eaten a pizza and a pudding out at Pizza Express with BF.  She agreed nonetheless to eat a small piece of fish and ratatouille.  BF incidentally is stick thin but that is probably because he has used all his energy growing to 6ft 4 in the last couple of years.

This morning, Waif happily ate 2 fishfingers in 2 pieces of wholemeal bread.  I said that she ought to have something else too - cereal, say, but she said that I needed to give her time to adjust as she was very full.  That seems reasonable but I will be making her have a hot chocolate (well, strongly encouraging) when she gets in from school even though for the last few months she has said that she no longer likes them.

Ho hum, the dog was happy:  he got the spare 2 extra fishfingers I had cooked.

I feel bad that I had not noticed, or had willfully ignored, Waif's weight loss and had to have it pointed out to me by a shocked Older Daughter.  I suppose one just gets used to things and I have become used to Waif being too thin.  She is actually only now about the weight she was aged 11 or 12 before she first lost weight, and was about 15cm smaller.  She was a perfect weight back then, but now needs to be aiming at 55kg.  I would settle for 51kg frankly (8 stone).

Sigh, I guess it is in the same way that we are all now used to Waif's great aunt having been (unfairly) sentenced to life for murder earlier this year.  Now there's a throw away line and a whole new blog.....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Advice from The Maudsley Hospital

I spoke to Waif's psych.  Apparently Waif was over 49kg when discharged in July so has lost nearly 3kg since then.  Hmmm...that would seem quite good going even for someone on a diet and def not acceptable for someone who is supposed to be trying to gain weight still.  The Psych said to talk to Waif and lay the cards on the table:  she has lost weight and needs to regain it.  If she doesn't do that in a month then we will be going back to hospital visits.  I really, really, really hope that does the trick.  I am suddenly frightened again - what if she loses more weight between now and then?  She is in dangerous territory.

Waif went ton the new Westfield Stratford  (aka Eastfield) at the weekend and bought loads of lovely clothes.  I will have to repay her when --if-- she grows out of them otherwise that will be too much of a disincentive.


The good news was that Waif was signed off at her last visit to the Maudsley, back in July.  She had not reached her target weight of 100% of weight for age and height (which was about 53kg) but was at about 48.5kg which was just out of anorexic range and she seemed stable.  We have to let Waif fight this battle alone ultimately.  The psych said that the good thing was that we had not been monitoring Waif's food intake so she had done this herself.

I did express a worry that from the research that I had read, the lower the permissible "final weight" was, the more chance there was of relapse as the sufferer then perceives this weight to be a maximum rather than a minimum, and we had little room for manoeuvre.  I was reassured that as Waif is so young (she is now just 15), we have access to the Maudsley Youth Service for a good few years ahead and could get back in touch anytime.

Anytime may be here.  This morning, Older Sister told me that she saw Waif after her bath and she looked terribly thin.  I have had nagging worries for a few weeks myself so this was enough of a wake up call for me to ask Waif to stand on the scales - something I have not done for about 9 months.  She was 46.1kg.  I may call the Maudsley for advbice as they are there.  I will also talk to Waif tonight and agree some kind of deadline with her - I cannot impose on her now she is so grown up, but she is a very clever girl (A* in the GCSE she took early this year, since you ask) and sometimes sensible, so if I lay out the facts clearly she will see that she needs to put on weight, and if she cannot do it alone then she needs to seek more help.

She is such a lovely girl - so independent, hard working and thoughtful, as well as interesting and kind company, I do hope that this is merely a blip..  

Saturday, 11 June 2011

End of the day

Waif is growing up fast.  She is now nearly 15 and I am beginning to feel that I am treading on the toes of her right to privacy by writing this blog.  When she was 12, and so very very ill, the blog, with its supportive and insightful commenters, was a lifeline for me.  Now Waif is so much better and older, even though she is not yet discharged  from the Maudsley Hospital nor up to her ideal weight, I feel less need of support and more guilt about sharing her life events.  If I write but hide things that would embarrass Waif then it will no longer be an honest account.  So I want to say a big thank you to all and bow out.

Incidentally, the BEAT training course was very interesting. I learned that the thrust of a self help group is that it is not there for advice but just as a forum.  I personally was not convinced that they had any evidence that self help groups actually DID help, and have grave reservations about those aimed at sufferers as it seems to me that they could be counter productive.  Those aimed at carers might be more helpful although I am lucky to have had very supportive friends who have listened to me rant on, and in one case, helped direct me to the correct source of advice (thank you!).  BEAT is very very well intentioned but the trainer seemed taken aback when I asked about evidence for effectiveness of self help groups and said that they had never looked into it.  I still want to do something to help, but am carefully considering what and how to do that.  It might be that my money is more valuable than my time, even if it would feel more sterile to simply support treatments and research financially.  I am certain that this whole area is under resourced and under researched and am so grateful that we had access to the very best facilities in the world, at no cost whatsoever.  I send my best wishes to all sufferers and carers out there and hope that you too will find a way through and escape this pernicious mental illness without long term ill effects.  I hope one day there will be more answers.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Waif grows daily more independent.  It is heartening seeing her turn into a "proper teenager":

 - "Well Mum, don't take this badly but I can't quite see the point of doing anything as a family" when asked about holidays.

-  off to London last week with a few friends and they took out Boris Bikes and cycled round Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Regents Street and Covent garden.

Waif's Royal Wedding feet

Waif and Older sister looking like twins these days

Older sister and Waif in Easter hols

Easter Sunday at the pub with friends

It's funny how risk is such a relative concept.  Three years ago I would have been horrified at the thought of Waif smoking (or cycling round central London).  Whilst I still am in many ways, both seem less horrifying than not eating or smoking drugs.......   .  Hmmm.....   I have to let her live her own life and I am standing back as much as I can but with  the odd word of advice in the wings.  She says it is good that I don't ban her from stuff because she would still do it, but just not tell me!!  At heart she is a sensible girl and I think that it is this voice of reason that saved her from the worst devastations of self starvation no matter what her heart was (misleadingly) telling her.

We went to Eastbourne for a few days at Easter, enjoying the incredibly unseasonal warm weather, staying at a luxury hotel and sitting by the outdoor pool.  Waif joined us on the evening of day 2 of 4, having stayed in town with her friends the night before.  She happily then got 3 trains to make her own way down.

I am pretty proud of her chutzpah, actually.

Waif is still Waif though in many ways:  she had her own video blog with 300 followers (!!! it was fashion advice) but then suddenly deleted it all.  She has allowed her boyfriend to carry on seeing her despite the fact that she found rude texts about herself on his phone (her self esteem is not where it should be still).  She  hangs around "the dips" - a secluded are of the heath - with various friends from school, for no discernible reason other than to smoke and drink without adult intervention.  I trust her when she says that she just talks even if the others are smoking and worse.

Food?  Still tricky.  There is still a lot of prevarication and reasons why she can't eat various parts of our meals - the wrong type of bread, she doesn't eat most meat, she doesn't like cream......   but on the whole she eats a passable amount.  She is still borderline anorexic weight (85% of weight for height and age) but looks healthy enough and does plenty of exercise - she is religiously going to the gym on Wednesdays as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award and is aiming to run a 10k in 40 minutes which is quite a lot faster than I could manage and I regard myself as quite fast!  But I do not think this is obsessive exercise as she also religiously attends art after school on Mondays (for her skill) and Oxfam after work on Tuesdays (for her service).  her boyfriend gets to see her on Thursdays.  There is nothing unplanned about Waif's life.

Meanwhile, Older Daughter has had a letter from The Maudsley asking her to participate in some research into the effect of anorexia on siblings.  She is considering whether to take part - what with university entrance, AS levels and learning to drive, she is pretty busy.  I hope she finds the time though.

I am attending a Beat meeting on Saturday to learn to be a volunteer of some sort.  I am not sure what kind exactly and will find out.  What I would like to do is to go into schools to speak to staff and management about running the school so as not to encourage anorexia (having mealtimes protected from such things as trips and detentions so that eating is never difficult, having food available EVEN IF a child forgets her money/ pass etc), spotting it and how to help (eg offering a supervised meal service etc).  As I have just been turned down for my MSc, and have now finished the marathon,  I might have time to start something up on my own later this year, although the tricky part will be persuading schools that I have any kind of locus standi so that they will give me the time of day.  I also need to do a lot of prior research into which schools deal best with eating disorders and how they do this, although from a "user" perspective, some of it seems like common sense.

Last observation....where does the time go???

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

How the actual Maudlsey visit went

After the fiasco of Monday, we went back to the Maudsley on the Tuesday (2 weeks ago now).

When I arrived at Waif's school to pick her up, the car refused to start again  :-(   Happily Waif breezed off and returned 10 minutes later riding high up in the maintenance men's van, along with Bob and John who gave me a jump start.  There are kind people around.

We were half an hour late arriving at the Maudsley, but the psych was very understanding.  Anorexia Daddy came along too, which he has not done for ages.

First things first and Waif was weighed.  She came in at 48.1kg, so a whole kg more than last visit.  Whilst this is slow progress, Waif has been steadily gaining weight for 15 months now so the trend is fantastic.  I can't help thinking that controlled weight gain is more likely to last than if we stuffed Waif with chocolates and ice cream for 4 weeks and then expected her to eat normally and maintain a new high weight.  Obviously, below a certain weight, immediate gain is imperative and urgent so there is no choice, but where we are now (hovering just above anorexic range) the slow and steady proper meals approach feels more sustainable to me.

The sessions are always relaxed when Waif has gained (in contrast to the tears, misery and monosyllables that greet the infrequent losses).  Waif was able to express her desire to go out at all times of day and night without telling  me (!) saying that "all her friends did it".   I pointed out that I have NEVER stopped her doing anything she has wanted to do (true) and all I wanted was an indication of where she would be, with whom and what time to expect her home.  She kind of agreed this was reasonable but said it was a complete pain to have to say goodbye when she was going out.  We all agreed (hubby, psych and I) that this is the minimum you would do with a flatmate.  Sigh, she is a proper teen now, which on the whole is good.  Her latest t-shirt reads "nicotine, alcohol, caffeine".    Ho hum.  I know that her friends smoke but hope that Waif is sensible enough never to try.  She knows exactly how disappointed I would be if she were to smoke.

The conversation then turned to motorbikes:  I have now passed my motorbike test (did I mention that?) and am giving Waif the odd lift to school on the back.  Actually, I am kind of regretting it as it does not feel wholly safe and Waif spends the journey telling me to go faster!!!  I had thought it would be safer than letting her cycle on her own (which is what she wanted to do) but now I am not so sure - on the bicycle, it is possible to avoid roads for the first 2 miles, and there is only road at the end.  On the motorbike, I have no choice but to take a major "A" road and, since I stick to the speed limit, I feel very vulnerable being tailgated by lorries and cars wanting to go faster.

Anyway, Waif told the psych that she was getting a moped on her 16th birthday.  Hubby and I said she wasn't as it was too dangerous.  She says she will spend her own money on it, and leave school and get a job if necessary.  I am 99% certain this is all bluster but quite effective all the same!  I realise the hypocrisy of my having a motorbike but forbidding it to my daughter on safety grounds so I said that I wanted to get rid of my motorbike as I have realised it is too dangerous (really, I feel fine on it myself but am prepared to give it up if that is what it takes to stop her having one of her own as a teen), hoping that Hubby would pick up the cue.  But instead he said that we had spent so much money on helmets and leathers that there was no way we were giving up!!  Sigh.

Hubby and I agreed afterwards that when it came to it, we thought that Waif would forget about the idea of a moped (personally, I think this more likely if I have sold my own), especially if I offer to drive her in the convertible we have just ordered (wahay!).

Father in Law is in on the act, having just bought himself two vintage Bugattis and being determined to ride them despite having two hip replacements and not having ridden a motorbike for over 45 years!!  Two of his brothers have had months in hospital following motorbike accidents but this seems to be no deterrent.  I feel doubly worried now I have read a thread on mumsnet with women saying how many from their class at school were now dead....I assumed this would be older mothers writing, but they were not:  many were in their twenties and the common theme seemed to be drugs and motorbike accidents.  Ho hum, let's hope Waif makes it to a hundred.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Braces, Oxford and The Maudsley again.

It has been a while since I posted so we have lots of news.

Waif's brace fitting day came and went at the end of March.  I had been gently warning her for about 3 weeks that she was only to have the braces if she was 48kg or above as otherwise there was too much danger of her slipping into anorexia again what with it being difficult to eat with braces on.  This was really not intended to be any kind of threat but just a statement of common sense....indeed I have fully paid for the braces already (£4000) so am pretty invested in her having them, and, more relevantly, she definitely needs them.

Two days beforehand, Waif told me that she didn't want braces just yet.  I asked her if this was to do with her weight and she said "yes, a bit".  I didn't explore further as we had the Maudsley coming up the next week and I thought that we would see how her weight was then.  I don't think she has put on any weight recently but I am equally hoping she has not lost.   I wonder if it is also as she is a bit nervous of braces as she saw both Older Daughter and me struggling a bit with them in 2009.  I have rebooked Waif for September at the orthodontist and will do my best to encourage her to go for it then.  It may be partly (who knows) due to her being in the throes of true love with her first boyfriend who is a lovely boy although very very thin (yikes) but he does eat a lot, I am assured by Waif, it is just that he is the tallest in the year and has grown a lot recently.  He seems lovely - quiet and gentle and a supreme skateboarder.

It is coming up for the end of term and I booked us a weekend away last weekend, to Oxford, partly to look round colleges for Older Daughter who is considering applying, and partly to attend the Literary festival.  We stayed first at Keble (seen pic above) and had breakfast in Hall (see below):

I though it was beautiful although the "Friends" of Keble college (Aka the Keble Demolition Society) at the next door college has the membership requirement being the acquisition of one brick.

We then stayed at Christchurch college which is astonishingly dreaming spires.....all golden Cotswold stone, manicured lawns, and beautiful wrought iron gas lamps.  Here is Anorexia Daddy in Meadows Quad:

We went to the more child centred talks and laughed HYSTERICALLY at Louise Rennison who really should be a stand up comic.  Philip Pullman was good too, talking about the sprite that is the narrator in a tale - the one who sits on the author's shoulder and can leap into certain minds but not others.

On the Saturday afternoon, in Spring sunshine, we took a walking tour but Waif, feeling tired, sat on a bench in the University Parks reading (her new Louise Rennison book).

On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast in Christchurch Hall, being the very room where Harry Potter was filmed.  Later in the day we went to a Blue Peter talk back there again :

Sunday was Mother's Day.  We all forgot.  I belatedly remembered and dropped enormous hints to the girls who bought me a box of champagne truffles  :-)   Poor Waif was a bit put out about the whole weekend and wanted me to know that generally she wanted to spend weekends at home in term time as that is when she sees her friends.  Sigh, fair point, but I appreciated her company for the weekend away.  I felt a bit guilty on our return as she did have a lot of homework outstanding.

In the afternoon, Anorexia Daddy and I went round the Ashmolean whilst Waif and Older Daughter sipped hot chocolates opposite in The Randolph Hotel, made famous by Morse and, latterly, Bill Clinton's hotel of choice.  One can force too much culture on one's children and I reckoned I was at the limit of elasticity for the weekend.

So roll on Monday, today.  I knew that the Maudsley appointment was this week and had a vague feeling it might clash with my taking OD to Cardiff Medical School open day on Tuesday/ Wednesday so first thing this morning I mailed them to confirm the exact time/day.  They mailed back saying TODAY!!  Yikes, I texted Waif, phoned school and took her along.  She was not best pleased as she said it was in her diary for tomorrow and she had to miss her art lesson to come today.

We waited and waited, and waited some more, and eventually it transpired that there had been a diary mix up and the appointment is tomorrow after all.   Waif had been right.  Poor child.  It is an emotionally traumatic trip for her each and every time and she was in floods of tears on the way home and announced that she won't go tomorrow.  I have some sympathy with her.  I can't decide whether to rearrange for next week (which is also school holidays and so easier) and which would suit me better (I need to get to Cardiff tomorrow and the timing is tricky) or whether we should simply bite the bullet and go.  In my heart, I know the latter is more sensible even though it does mean that I will go to the Maudsley with Waif and then dump her home alone whilst I leave with OD.  Hmmm, maybe that is not such a good idea unless I can get Anorexia Daddy to come home for 6pm from the office which is not at all easy for him mostly.

As for me,  I have less than 2 weeks until I am running in the marathon.  That means a bit less training for now and so more free time.  I will go for a last long run tomorrow morning and then taper.  I have not trained as much as I should have but am quietly confident of finishing in well under 5 hours, hopefully under 4h 30.  Waif clearly has the running gene as she came third in cross country at school last week, and that was after she had run 6km at the gym the night before.....don't worry she only goes to the gym on Wednesdays as it is part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.  On Tuesday she volunteers at Oxfam, and on Mondays she goes to art classes.  This is partly why she is so cross with me today as she missed art for the Maudsley and now she is to miss Oxfam too for tomorrow's visit.  Not fulfilling her commitments is commendably stressful to her and not something she would willingly do.  She is determined to get all 3 badges - bronze, silver and gold  and I would bet my last penny that she succeeds.......(as long as she remains well).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

faux pas - not such a nice person (me)

I was just out walking the dog in the park this morning.

Blogdog, is 11 years old but still spritely and the spring has got his testosterone levels on the rise.  He is generally a very well behaved and calm dog but now and again another dog will take his fancy (not often - usually it is Boris the Schnauzer and otherwise generally only bitches in season) and there is no reasoning with him.  Anyway, today, about 100 metres from a gate that was not our gate, Blogdog ran after a golden retriever;  he was acting all over excited - licking and fawning and wagging his tail like mad.  The GR was being walked by a young woman.  I realised that Blogdog was not going to come back to me willingly and that the other owner was heading towards and out of the gate, presumably to go home,  so I called over cheerily "please could you wait a minute?" as I did not want Blogdog running out onto the road following her and 10 seconds later would be there to grab him by the collar.  But she carried on regardless and left the park, out of my sight and with my dog in tow.  I began to jog to catch up, and called again.  I caught up with her about 20m beyond the park gate, still with Blogdog shadowing her.  I took hold of Blogdog.  I was by this stage quite cross as she was just putting her own dog on the lead and about to cross a road with a fair amount of rush hour traffic on it, still without making any attempt to stop or look back to see whether I was coming and there is no way that she can have not heard me.  Yes, my dog was at fault (although I am 90% certain that hers must be in season  as my dog would not have acted the way he did otherwise), but actually if you care about animals you would not want any dog to get lost or run over needlessly and she only would have had to wait for 10 seconds as I was clearly coming over to retrieve Blogdog.

I felt she had shown a lack of consideration and I told her so (blush) - not rudely, but definitely firmly  "I would have really appreciated it if you had stopped by the gate.  Walking out of the park with someone else's dog is really not very nice at all"  She looked startled and sad  :-(   muttered something very quietly about her dog wanting to get home, and carried on her way. I, back to the park with my Blogdog in disgrace.

I wonder if I looked intimidating - I am only small and petite but was wearing my leather biker jacket as I had just given Waif a lift to school on my motorbike (I passed the test yesterday and that is a whole other post)

It suddenly occurred to me that the owner had looked very thin.  She also had red/ blonde hair and a golden retriever like my new friend whose anorexic daughter was expected back from Oxford last Monday.  My word, this was Lucy.  I feel so bad.  I am doing my best to get my new friend's phone number to phone her up and explain that Lucy was told off by a cross lady in the park this morning so may not be feeling good (I usually just see my friend at training and around the local streets and although I wrote down her number last time, I cannot find it).  I feel mortified to think that I may have spoken sharply - nay, DID speak sharply, to a girl in a fragile state, and hope that she doesn't go home and not eat breakfast because she is upset.  She is obviously not used to the etiquette of dog walking and I did not treat her with the gentleness I would have shown to my own daughter.  This shows that I am NOT a nice person as really one should always treat every stranger on the basis of how you would treat a friend or how you would wish your own family members to be treated because you never know what private difficulties and anguishes others are nursing.

I will go and check now whether a mutual friend has got back to me with contact details and get back to you all.  I hope I can make up for this.  I really feel quite sick with guilt.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Looking to the future

I have made a new friend at running club.  She is a little older than I am and her daughter is 20 years old and at Oxford University.  I heard on the grapevine that her daughter, like Waif, has had anorexia since she was 14 years old.  She too has been treated at The Maudsley so we bumped into each other locally the other day and got chatting.

Sigh, I assumed that her daughter (will call her Lucy) would be fine by now - happy at Oxford etc but it turns out that it was not that simple.  Lucy had to postpone her place by a year in order to spend 7 months as an inpatient for treatment and is still only 42kg, despite being about the same height as Waif (about 165cm).  Apparently she phones from college complaining that she is fat because she has put on 0.5kg (FFS she must be skeletal), and has then lost it by the next week  :-(

My new friend tells me that they took part in an experimental group family therapy at the Maudsley a few years back and that she felt happy at that time that Lucy had not done any of that food throwing/ aggression that others talked about.....only to go through it herself the next year.

This tells me several important things:

- not to get complacent - just because Waif has made good progress recently does not mean that she will not relapse and have this horrid disease for years and years

- to not relax on Waif gaining her target weight of 51.5kg

- to not expect that the course of the disease will not change its nature  :-(

-  that I am right not to be intending to return to work in the near future.  I have instead applied to do a part time Masters course  (in science communication).  This will involve one day a week in college and the other studying I will be able to fit in around Waif's needs.

I have not weighed Waif recently although I try to gently remind her several times a day to eat.  Often I get an "oops, I only had cereal for breakfast" (this morning for instance) or somesuch in reply at which point she will go and have some more.  As she now has a budding social life, she is having quite a few meals out of the home so I have no real idea of what is eaten but I am trusting her for now and also reminding her that she needs to be 48.5kg by 31 March if her orthodontic braces are to be fitted.

Meantime, I am in the middle of marathon training.  I ran the first 18 miles of the course this morning so am having a little sit down this afternoon.  I have almost given up on hoping to lose a couple of kg before the race, which is 5 weeks away, as it is so much more important that Waif does not see me skipping meals (which I also find very easy to do, just like her).  Half of me wants to be independent and not have life revolve around an eating disorder but half of me just wants Waif to be better more than anything else in the world.  It is easy to forget how worried I was this time last year and to forget to keep concentrating on recovery.

The battle against my daughter's anorexia is my real marathon.

Monday, 21 February 2011


I took Waif to the orthodontist today.   Her teeth are as crooked as a sevenpenny piece and she has a horrendous bite.  I had told her that there was no way she could havebraces until she was a proper weight.  Her current target (95% of her recommended weight for age/height) is 51.5kg.  At her last weigh-in she was 47kg on the nose.

Anyway, she has been eating brilliantly for the last day or two.  She made me proud yesterday by having GRAVY on her roast potatoes which is something she has not done for 2 years.  Her older sister said, not unreasonably as Waif has spent 2 years saying so,  "I thought you didn't like gravy" and Waif flatly retorted that she did, like it was a known world fact.

Anyway, I had told Waif last week that she needed to be 47.5kg for today's appointment but didn't push the point, and although I asked her a couple of times if she had weighed herself and if she was 47.5kg, she chose not to give me a straight answer and I still took her to the appointment thinking that this was not the final crunch point.  But the upshot is that I have coughed up a few thousand pounds and the braces are due to be put on on 31 March.

Waif looks well now: although still thin, her skin is glowing and she has a liveliness and spirit back.  The psych was immensely reassured that Waif's periods have started and is now much more relaxed which has rubbed off onto me a little. big dilemma is whether I stick to demanding 51.5kg by 31st March (which seems a very tall order and one that could cause conflict) or settle for continued slow weight gain, and I won't even cross the bridge of her simply maintaining 47kg as that is not in any of my acceptable world views.  My inclination is to be happy with normal, varied eating and a steady gain even if she doesn't make the 51.5kg figure but I do want to lay down a marker in the sand right NOW so that I can forewarn Waif and also make myself stick to it by reading back this post.  Perhaps 48.5kg??

Meantime, I am training hard for the London Marathon but weigh more than I have ever weighed really......I am 10lbs (4kg) heavier than pre-Maudsley and this is not good for a fast time!!!  In my ideal world I would do sub 4 hours but at current weight, I reckon it will be closer to 4h25.   Basically, I am secretly aiming to get DOWN to 51kg whilst I want Waif to get UP to it.  I am 4cm smaller than her so it would not be too thin for me, but just right.  However, I am not sure if I should be open about this and explain that I am NOT having pudding because I am trying to LOSE weight but that waif MUST have pudding because she needs to GAIN weight, or whether that would be a trigger for her.  Obviously, her health comes first but I can't stop my own life impinging a little (I am not perfect).

In all this, I can't keep from feeling such utter relief that my current dilemmas are not of the same order of magnitude or worry as those of a year ago.  We are lucky.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Flying Solo

With such a long gap until Waif's next appointment at the Maudsley,  everyday eating is like cycling without stabilisers for the first time.  You know that feeling you get the first time you go on a Motorway after passing your driving test?  Despite the fact you felt confident approaching the slip road, somehow once on the road it feels scary - there is no escape and HOW fast exactly is that lorry coming up behind you going?  It takes grit not to panic.

I took Waif to the gym yesterday, as is our wont on Mondays.  I settled for a swim as I had run 13 miles on Sunday so was having a rest day.  She set off for the running machine at 5.30pm.  "See you about 6 here in the changing rooms" was my parting comment.

At 6, I got out of the sauna (honestly, I had swum first) and headed for the showers.  No Waif.  Ho hum, she will be here soon.  6.05  no Waif.  6.10  no Waif and I had nearly finished drying my hair.  6.15 no Waif....oh well, she had some earphones to buy first so perhaps she had a delayed start, or maybe she has bumped into a friend.  At 6.20, just as I was considering heading up to the weights area to look for her, she finally appeared, looking exhausted.  She told me that she had gone for a long session on the running machine "because we haven't been to the gym recently."    Hmmm.......   she was then too full to finish her plate of supper noodles and/or to eat pudding, and refused a bed time snack because we had run out of cheddar cheese.  It occurred to me that I also didn't know if she had eaten an after school snack as she had gone straight from school to her art lesson before I picked her up for the gym.

I try not to worry on the basis of one day, after all a run once a week is healthy and as far as I know she ate a good breakfast and a reasonable lunch but it does feel odd and scary allowing her so much control of her own and seeing her missing food on her menu.  I have suggested to her that she ought to weigh herself weekly to check that she is still putting on weight and on track for her current target of 51.5kg which is, after all, 4kg more than where she is now.  I am reluctant to intervene or try to wrest back too much control as I know that when she is 15 or 16 years old that will not be possible and she has to learn to eat sensibly on her own.  It feels like the first day I let her walk to school alone across the park (aged 8, with her older sister, aged 10, in charge).

Meanwhile, whilst tidying her room, I came across an old diary from when she was 12, with a list of calorie and weight loss goals  :-(    She had made herself a star chart grid.  She was aiming at being only 36kg  :-(  I wonder if I should talk to her about that, or keep it, or bin it.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Maudsley visit 47kg

Well, that went well  :-)

Waif has put on 0.9kg in a fortnight.  The psych is pleased that Waif has hit puberty and said that was a very good sign.  She said that 47kg is a magical figure at which periods start and that Waif must indeed be naturally a very slim build as her hormones kicked in below that.  She said that, in view of the fact that Waif is naturally skinny (like the rest of the family) she would be content to see Waif at 95% of her healthy weight.  I have mixed emotions about this ...partly, I am grateful as I don't think Waif would be happy to be 100% and would consider herself chubby and that could trigger renewed dieting, but partly I am worried as all I have read indicates that the goal weight achieved and aimed at is very important to long term recovery as the sufferer tends to see it as a MAXIMUM never to be exceeded rather than a median point to oscillate around.

So, we asked the obvious question as to what 95% weight for age/height would be for Waif.  We were told that, very roughly, you take 110 off someone's height in cm, and that gives you their ideal weight in kg.  So, Waif is 165cm which gives about 55kg.  Of course, her target figure is actually a bit less as she is only 14 and we are not going for 100%   In fact her 95% goal turns out to be 51.5kg, rising to 54.2kg if she grows another 3 cm.

The psych is keen to discharge Waif within 6 months (with follow ups thereafter) and our next appointment is not to be for another 8 weeks.  Bliss.

Ok, confession:  Waif and I were each asked to fill in a questionnaire.  We both did so and I asked Waif whether she wanted to take them back to reception.  She said she wanted me to do that.  Reader, I am only human and sneaked a quick look at Waif's answers.  She had put that generally the psych understood her and asked the right questions and that she never felt inhibited by having her parents in attendance.  I hope she is being honest as that is good news,but you never can tell with Waif as she always wants to please and could well have answered "as expected" rather than truthfully.

On balance, Waif appears to be enjoying life and all it has to offer.  She is also eating regularly and sufficiently.  I couldn't be happier if I had won the lottery.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Growing Up

Waif has become a woman this week at the age of 14 and a must be a sign that her body has enough nutrition on board to still mature which I take as a positive sign that she is not currently damaging herself by her lack of weight (or not too much).  In a second rite of passage, she also had her last deciduous tooth taken out on Friday as planned.  She was very brave and was more concerned to know how long the anaesthetic lasted than anything else, as she had a rendez vous with her new (first) boyfriend.  Hmmm...... I do hope that Waif is not triggered to lose weight because she imagines this is what boys like whereas in reality they don't actually want to hug a bag of bones.  I hope she is more sensible than that, though.  She does seem to be.

I am looking forward to getting to know the BF and hope that he will be good, kind and loving to Waif as she could do without a broken heart just yet.  I would have been able to talk to him on Friday night but managed to fall/slide down the basement stairs when answering the door so was in no fit state to chat!  He must have thought I was the strangest woman in the world as when he came in (Hubby answered the door as I couldn't) I was lying on the sofa (7pm only) muttering about how I would be able to get up in a minute when I felt better.  I am still very sore actually and can't wait for the bruising (right hand side lower rib cage, kidney area, hip, thigh and elbow) to subside.  I hate feeling unable to function properly and am not a good patient.   Still, not being able to train today meant I got my tax return filed a whole 24 hours before the deadline.

Waif saw Black Swan on Friday night.  my hubby and I saw it on Saturday night.  It's a brilliant film, dark and intense, but had I seen it first, I am not so sure I would have considered it suitable for Waif so she is lucky she got in there first.

Our  next visit to the Maudsley is late on in the week.  I hope Waif will have upped her weight a little although she does seem to look rather thin at the moment.   Four days to go.....   needless to say, we would both (Waif and I that is) be very upset if she has lost any so we must make sure that doesn't happen.  In fact, I will take her a late night snack right this minute.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Back for a bit

I had hoped not to be back at all, and definitely not quite so soon.

The Good News is that Waif has been growing and steadily  (slowly) putting on weight.   She now weighs 46.2kg (clothed).  This is wonderful and I hug this knowledge to me when I look at where we were this time last year.

The Bad News is that because she is older and taller, Waif has (just) fallen back into the anorexic range  :-( at 85% of a healthy weight.

We had this wake up call at a visit to the Maudsley (with Christmas ski-ing and psych holidays it had been 4 weeks) last week.  I have not felt yet that I have reversed this ship....Waif left the house this morning without time for breakfast which should never happen.

I guess I have handed over too much control too quickly...the fishfinger sandwich at breakfast had been quietly swapped for cherry tomatoes on toast...still 2 pieces of wholemeal toast but nowhere near as many calories.  This struck me as okay as she also has cereal and milk, but more often recently has not drunk her juice.

Waif spent the whole of last term deciding that she needed to be asleep by 8pm so we had also dropped the late night snack (or else ate supper so early to fit in the late night snack that we dropped the coming home snack instead).  She had been looking very healthy on the sleep  :-)

It is difficult to move back to our starting position of more calories but that is what we need to do.

At Christmas everyone was commenting on how well Waif was looking, and we were asked by ever so many people whether she and her older sister (see left) were twins as they are now the same height and both have the same long blonde hair and big eyes.   Older sister is also very slim.   But now I look closely, I can see that Waif's thighs are once again concave from her knees and that her chest has flattened out.

As Waif is a little older (14 and a half now) and has more local friends, having been to the local school for a year now, she is also spending much more time out of the house and away from where I can remind her to eat.  She has just acquired a first boyfriend.  I am not sure what that means other than hours in the park after dark watching him skateboard in the cold.  I hope to entice him into the house soon, and get to know him a little.  I worry about Waif as although she can be as headstrong as an ox, and can boss me around utterly, she also has a very vulnerable side to her personality, and an innocence, or rather naivity, despite the fact that she believes herself to be streetwise.  I am also not sure, in a school that is mainly boys, what she considers to be normal interaction at her age and suspect it would consist of things I had never even heard of when I was 14.

Waif is still not happy to be alone in the house even though she will wander round town after dark.  I have not understood that yet but it bothers me that she does not feel safe at home.

Meanwhile I am training for the London marathon, and Waif and I are regulars at the gym.  I hope this is okay to do and does not knock Wiaf off course.  THe maudsley said that normal family exercise was fine as long as it was not excessive or obsessive.  Waif and I go together twice a week to the gym and she runs 3km.  That seems fine to me.  She is a good runner but I don't encourage her to take it more seriously as first she has to put on some more weight!

I have made an appointment for her to have out her last babytooth on Friday.  She is then able to get orthodontic braces (which she needs) but I have long said to her that she will NOT have them until she is a good weight.  I have a horror of her teeth not being strong enough and cracking, or of her finding it difficult to eat as much as she needs when she is growing and recovering from anorexia at the same time.   I have spoken tot he orthodontist and he backs me. It might work out okay, oddly, as the NHS waitlist is about 2 years and so she can sit on that knowing that if she can maintain a healthy weight she can have the braces earlier as we will go privately.

At the Maudsley, I mentioned that I might be going back to college or work next year and Waif threw a bit of an ab dab.  She thinks that I need to be home for her.  perhaps I do but the psych thought that Waif was being rather controlling.  I suspect that if I start a college course, it might take a long while before Waif even notices as any MA will be largely self directed study.

Sigh, so many issues.  But we will get there!!!!!

The pics are Waif (above) and her older sister (lower picture) taken at the weekend by a friend for her art project - theme of enchanted garden.

Waif has had her lips blocked out with concealer -she is not really that pale!!