Saturday, 14 January 2012

Friday 13th

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same
...Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it

New growth springs from forest fires.  That's a thought to hang onto.

Yesterday, on Friday the thirteenth, OD got her rejection letter from Cambridge and drowned in the pool.

I am SO proud of her for giving it her best shot, and will be even more proud of the way she tackles this set back and sees it as a chance to redouble her efforts:  it was such a close run thing.  In a weird way, a year out of academia will give OD a chance to mature and to experience things she would never otherwise have done.

Also yesterday was the day that my father went into a home from which he is unlikely to ever emerge.  It was time.  My mother had been his full time carer for several years and carrying on was not an option without her endangering her health and giving up the rest of her own quality of life.  With moderate to severe dementia he will be better cared for in a residential facility.  Still, it's a heartbreaking time and incredibly difficult for my mother.  OD has gone to stay with her for the weekend so they can nurse one another's very different heartbreaks.

Meanwhile Waif is being reassuringly teenagery:  she spends a lot of time mooching in her room, which is more like a self contained flat as she has the largest bedroom in the house with a sitting part and a bedroom part.  I will put up a photo later.  The rest of her time is spent out with school friends, generally smoking in Ollie's hut.  Waif swears to me that she does not smoke but she definitely smells strongly of cigarettes and it is clear that she is at least a second hand smoker.

I am a vehement anti-smoker merely on quality of life grounds - I HATE the smell and can't imagine why anyone would want to do it - yet also on health grounds.  However, the health issues seem remote compared with anorexia which strikes so young and with such deathliness so I keep a low profile on the whole thing and hope that Waif is clever enough to make the right decision on her own.  On one visit to the Maudsley, Waif was asked what I thought of smoking (the psych was encouraging her to hang out with her friends and drink and smoke!) and Waif was very clear that I had no shade of uncertainty about my views.  So that's good.  I can't really do more than give her strong advice.  I have picked my battle and it is not the smoking one.

The Maudsley phoned me on Friday.  You may remember that Waif has a review coming up on 2 February.  Well, apparently the Head Psych (Waif's lovely, firm counsellor) is off for a good few weeks following an operation so we will be seeing someone else.  I am still glad that Waif is going as it will be a time to reweigh her, but sure that she will not like the CHANGE of psych.  I am guessing that she will be very shy and that the psych will not get a word out of her.  Head Psych couldn't believe the difference in interaction from when she first met Waif (the no speaking act) to our final few appointments where Waif was the outspoken, zingy, ascerbic, funny girl that she is with us at home.  I hope to see more and more of that girl  :-)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Still waiting

Firstborn Daughter is still splashing around in the Cambridge Pool.

I am not sure if the tension is telling but Waif has now gone off the whole idea of Oxbridge for herself.  And she is having doubts about changing schools.  I have told her that she should do just whatever she would like to do.  I know how hard working and perfectionist she is so I have no worries about her under achieving so much as worries about her putting too much pressure on herself.  Nor do I want to hold her back from her dreams, so I will simply support her decisions.

I am not sure if I have mentioned (and am too lazy to check) that the Maudsley have asked Waif back for a review appointment.  They wanted to see her at the end of January but as this clashes with some of her public exams I put it off to 2nd February.  I am reassured that they will confirm whether or not her weight is acceptable and/or has slipped.  Her cousins came to visit on Sunday and my oldest niece (aged 22 and a very down to earth and kind primary school teacher) ticked me off for Waif looking far too thin  :-(

Poor Waif is not well at the moment - D and V.  Two years back I lived in terror of that as any weight loss would have been life threatening.  I am so glad that we have a tiny buffer now such that I am sure she can go without food for 24 hours without compromising her health unduly.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Splashing about

We are still waiting for news on Older Daughter and her Cambridge entrance.   I am not sure Waif should ever go through this as the stress is quite enormous on her.

Meanwhile, the Maudsley telephoned to offer Waif a review appointment.  The first two days that they suggested are ones where Waif is sitting GCSE modules so were not possible.  I have plumped for the day after her exams finish.  I am not going to tell her until after the papers as I don't want her worrying about two things at once.  I am hoping that the review will go well.  I am glad that it means she will be weighed....hmmmm...that is the only reason to warn her weeks in advance as she always eats in anticipation of a weighing.   Remembering where we were with Waif 2 years back makes me relax about this Oxbridge stuff actually.  OD is healthy, happy and settled.  I can't ask for more.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A glimpse into the future

I am sitting in the kitchen on tenterhooks:   we are waiting for my Older Daughter's decision letter from Cambridge - whether or not she has been accepted to read Medicine next year.

We have accepted the sixth form place for Waif at the central London day school at which she won a place - there were 140 applicants for 12 places so she did well.  Really it involves moving from one private London day school to another so it not too great a change BUT she will be going back to an all girls' school.  With a desire to study maths, physics and economics this seems like a sensible trade as the chances are at her current school that she might well be the only girl in the higher maths set and (having been in that sort of position myself) that is not much fun as it leaves you short of female company.   Waif is keen to remain friends with her current set, and I am sure she will as they all live locally to us and I know she will make the effort.

I have not been without qualms about the move as the only way that Waif will ever achieve any happiness in her life is to stay healthy.  I have not persuaded her to weigh herself and let me know the weight but I have seen her several times in underwear and she is nowhere near as thin as she was 2 years back when she resembled a walking skeleton  :-(   OD dug out our holiday video from Christmas 2009 and we were all pretty horrified.  She is now merely very slim which, although dangerous territory, is not in itself worrying.  Hearteningly, she tucks in to chocolates when they are on offer and always eats ice cream for pudding at supper time.  Apart from that, she eats very healthily:  usually the vegetarian options, always lots of greens and often a medium small portion but not ridiculously minuscule.  I am daring to hope that perhaps she will be one of the lucky ones to beat this thing once and for all.   If so, I don't want to hold her back unnecessarily.  At her new school she will be in a class of about 8 and they have a tremendously good Oxbridge record.

OD has just gone to the cafe round the corner and I am instructed to phone her when the letter arrives.  Gulp, any minute now.......