Wednesday, 11 September 2013


It’s been a good start.

We will get some wobbles, because wobbles have a way of building up and spilling out in a wobbly way (a bit like my waistline does when trying to fit into my jeans again now the summer sun has clocked off).

But my daughter is chirpy and chatty after her first week back at school.

She did Vocational Studies yesterday, which as far as I can see, consisted of her not actually studying Hairdressing & Beauty at the special school’s secondary site, but having a Hairdressing & Beauty lesson performed on her.

Her hair was styled; nail varnish painted onto her finger- and toenails; and eyeshadow, lippy, and blusher applied, highlighting the hitherto-undiscovered landscape of her perfect cheekbones.

In a shocking piece of gender sterotyping, the boys, apparently, did Gardening.

You may notice that in the photo my girl has her hands resting on her chest, splaying her fingers out artfully. You might imagine this is because I posed her like this to show off her nail varnish, but this is not the case. She was so proud of her grown-up nails that she held her hands up to display them prominently - all the way home from school, all evening and even as she got into bed.  “You can relax your hands, sweetheart,” I told her, “You’ll give yourself cramp if you’re not careful.”

She didn’t take much notice. Not having any nail varnish remover in the house (due to my disctinct lack of long nails thanks to a lifelong nail-biting habit), she had to go to school today with her digits still decked out with candy pink tips. And as we walked through the gates, she continued to hold them out in front of her, looking like a puffed up pianist preparing to astonish and delight a concert crowd.

I’ll be shouting "Encore!" the loudest, as usual.

Song is Art Tatum - Sophisticated Lady


  1. Wowzers Josie, you look so beautiful xx

  2. She looks stunning-does she expect you to be able to recreate this look for her at home on a regular basis?? ;)

  3. Don't think I'd be gardening with nails like that.

    I concur with the first two callers.

  4. On a comment about your blog post "Booze", you said that you need to acknowledge to your daughter that she grows up.
    I expressed my concerns about booze and how it affects her cognitively and I invited you to trade alcohol with something else in order to achieve the goal of acknowledging that she grows up.
    My concerns about alcohol for your daughter are not much for calories because we can be very confident about your calorie management, but about the effects of alcohol on her brain. These concerns over alcohol effects on your daughter are even more acute now that she has Lamictal for bipolar disorder and possibly seizures. Booze does not get along with anti-seizure medications, does not get along at all with bipolar, much less with seizures !

    So, in order to acknowledge to your daughter that she grows up, what about offering to her a lesson of self make-up and nail painting with a make-up artist ?
    I am very sure that you can find this kind of activity in your area.
    It can be a very good way to acknowledge to your daughter that she grows up without putting her health in danger.

    You often say that "with PWS, you have to trade off in order to reach a goal".
    Your main goal here is "we acknowledge that my daughter grows up". I remember having told you that alcohol is not a necessity to acknowledge that a teenager has grown up.
    In such a situation, we can trade a harmful grown up pleasure (booze) for something safer for your daughter.
    This activity can be a self make up lesson and nail painting by a make-up artist. Or spending some time at the spa. Or learning manners when she is at an official event etc...
    See it as a strength and a good motivator to take care of herself.

    Since your now teenage daughter loves the way she is made up and has her nail done, what about using this pleasure to acknowledge that she has grown up ?
    In a certain way, we can say that you have a great potential treat to offer for a party while keeping your daughter safe ! :)
    You can even make a list of "safe grown up activities" that she can choose : while you take away the booze because it's unsafe, your daughter can see that she can have many, many other pleasures she can choose.
    This kind of list has been a great help for me (I have brain damage).
    Why not giving it a try for your daughter ?

    To go even further, with this wish of being beautiful, you now even have a good reason (for her) to not allow any booze at all.
    Alcohol dehydrates you, so your skin gets floppy and gray. Not great for beauty, is it ?
    As I told you, don't be afraid of giving her examples of grown up folks who don't drink at all, for a variety of reasons, and it does not make them "less than".

  5. Thanks for your concerns and advice Giulia. I think you may be worrying a little unnecessarily! We're not really planning to introduce alcohol into her diet for many, if not all, of the reasons you list. Although she really does want to go to the pub and have a drink with her dad on her 18th - I'm sure we can be sneaky and buy her a tomato juice and let her 'assume' it's a Bloody Mary. There's no need to tell her there's no vodka in it! We've already explained to her that alcohol isn't very good for her and she would not be allowed it except on very special occasions (which we can control and manipulate and potnentially provide a non-alcoholic 'version' of a drink).
    And we're ahead of you on the beauty treats - I also think a spa day, or having her make-up lesson with a beautician would be something she would LOVE (and may well feauture in birthday and Christmas presents).

    1. I know I worry a lot about alcohol, and maybe unnecessarily. But having experienced first hand alcohol side effects, I came to dread them, much more on folks like your daughter because the side effects of booze are magnified by the illness.

      A beautician can be a good idea.
      However, currently, beauticians become more and more specialized in a specific area. For example, some beauticians will have more expertise in waxing, while other will be more specialized in facials etc...
      If you think a little, it works the same with health care professionals : you have GPs with a specific interest in dermatology, other in cardiology, other in paediatrics etc... Then, you have cardiologists, but some will be specialized in hypertension, others in congenital heart diseases...

      Make-up artists are beauticians with a further specialization in make-up. At least in France, a make-up school requires you to have a diploma of beautician before applying.
      Make-up artists have a deeper knowledge in make-up than generalist beauticians don't have (like how to apply foundation with your fingers).
      I know that going to a make-up artist costs more money than going to a generalist beautician, but this money will be well spent.
      And as far as I know, usually, generalist beauticians are neither very interested nor well versed in make-up. They know some basics, but usually, they are neither enough knowledgeable to teach you make-up nor are very interested in this part.
      It's great if you find a generalist beautician interested in make-up and well versed in this area, but it's the exception that confirms the rule.

      If you don't have much money, look at make-up schools : maybe you'll be finding a student in this school to teach your daughter the knowledge they've just been taught.

      As I said before, make-up has become a real specialty. It's better for your daughter to be taught make-up by someone more specialized in order to avoid costly mistakes.

      A good generalist beautician can help teaching your daughter how to take care of her skin.
      If your daughter already sees a dermatologist, he/she can teach her some tips and tricks about her skin type and which kind of skin care is most suitable.
      Otherwise, and if your daughter does not have specific skin problems, a good beautician will give her precious knowledge.

      Another good spending is finding someone to help her find the right clothing for her, like what colors will suit her best, what shapes she can wear and what to avoid etc... She can even analyze your daughter's closet while giving to your daughter new knowledge : costs less than buying her a new wardrobe.

  6. If she's anything like my daughter when it comes to spending her own money, she won't be having more than one boozy drink.
    X Beth