Massage and sleep

Does massage encourage sleep?

We were those parents who struggled nightly with trying to get our daughter to sleep. Facing the tantrums, the tears, the heart wrenching sobbing and the ear splitting screams. We faced the ever depresssing ebb and flow of emotions from anger to frustration to just total exhaustion. 

Bedtime hygiene……

As a parent I submitted to the specialists and did everything that they told me to do….religiously 

  • No computers, TV, games console, phone, or any other electronic device
  • Black out blinds
  • No night lights 
  • Same bedtime hour
  • Soothing baths, bedtime strories, classical music, snacks, drinks 
  • Medication


I went on sleep courses where I felt like a failure as the rules never seemed to apply to my daughter. It became frustrating and to be honest I stopped going as nothing was making any difference. Our daughter was stressed out and so was I. 

Next step…

Late one night while my daughter was still trying to go to sleep I was googling for help and advice. Firstly what strikes me is that a lot of the research and information available is based on studies in America. While speaking to parents over the years sleep problems are a significant issue here in Britain so why are the specialists here not better able to help us. Why are we given medication and told to get on with it? Why are we told to attend courses to teach us what we are already doing? When will doctors accept that for some children sleep is a real medical issue and not parents making up symptoms in the hopes of a quick cure to make our lives better??

While researching one sleep deprived, weary night I came across mentions of massage. This is something that I had never considered before but having come out the other side of relationship problems, feeling insecure but determined with the thought of doing something for myself appealing I booked onto an Indian Head massage course. 

My Nephew enjoying 5 minutes of massage

The course took 3 months to complete and with my daughters permission I used her as a case study. Well wow from the very first massage move my daughter was a little less tense, a little less stressed and that night along with her medication she went to bed and actually slept. Well like you I thought it was a fluke but as the course progressed and my skills became more fluent and skilled we noticed a big diffrence in bedtimes. 

Don’t get me wrong massage is not a cure, sometimes it will work but others it won’t. The biggest thing for me is that it encourages the bond between me and my daughter. It’s time that we can spend together, relaxing. Massage also helps to relax me which in turn has a positive effect on my daughter. You see if I am angry and stressed she bounces off that, once I calm down I have noticed she does too. 

How can I use massage at home….


Massage does not mean that you have to go and train. A massage could be a back rub, twirling hair at bedtime, it’s about positive touch. For those who would like a bit more structure then I recommend story massage. You can learn 10 simple massage moves that you can use with any song, story, rhyme and can be used anytime anywhere not just at bedtime. We use storey massage all the time from camping to the doctors. Massage can help reduce tension and stress, can help to calm and refocus and with the story massage you can have fun with your children creating massage stories and….

Best of all mums and dads your children can share a massage with you!!!

If you would like to find out more or just wants chat please do contact me

Xx Leanne xx

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ADD; a run for the hills combination????

It was my daughters 10th birthday last week and for months in advance she had been begging to have a sleep over. Now sadly my daughter is one of those that does not get invited to many sleep overs / birthday parties. Wether its because she is not as popular at school as we are lead to believe or that parents knowing that she has “issues” just do not invite her, so baring this in mind and also in my new stance of trying to let her do as many normal things as possible (as I have let her sisters have sleep overs) and having the mind set that her disabilities should not hold her back, I eventually agreed to have a small number of friends who know her really well to stay over.

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the birthday girl

well…..

This was written at 2.45am the night of her sleepover…..

birthday sleep over and ADD; a run for the hills combination. over wrought over tired over excited every emotion going heightened and out of control when it gets to 2am and no sign of sleep what do you do

the only thing you can do so the guests can sleep is to move your ADD child and try and get them to calm and sleep back in their own bed

easy yes…. in our case its been 45 minutes and she has trashed her room screaming and swearing not a good combination especially as when she finally falls asleep she will wake up having forgotten what she has done.

I have come to the very stark realisation that even age 10 there are going to be limitations on what I can and can’t do with my daughter. For all that I want her to lead a normal life I have to accept that in some situations that is not going to happen. There is going to be times when I can’t let her have the independence she sees her sisters having. Having three so close in age (13 and 18 months between them) I really see the differences that disabilities have on my child. Its heart breaking!! I don’t want her to miss out!!!

These are the things they don’t tell us even when you get a diagnosis.

ADD is as much a learning curb as it is a disability. They tell us about the behaviours to expect, the drugs that can be used to help, parent courses to go on and so on. At the end of the day though there is no step by step guide to how to parent a child with ADD. Theres no written list of the do’s and don’ts. There is information on the symptoms and it is widely documented about all the bad disruptive parts of ADD and ADHD but alas I have yet to find a comprehensive manual or list that guides me through everyday life with my child. (will be waiting a lifetime as no two children/adults are the same)

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The girls

Very often I feel alone and alienated. Very often I feel like its all in my imagination, that surly she is not as bad as all that. I feel embarrassment… does that make me a bad mother? How hard can it be to throw your child a simple sleep over party when they are all the rage and everyone else is having them…surely her behaviour is no different to how it was when she was little except she is stronger, faster and when an object comes towards you it hurts. The screaming hasn’t gotten any louder, having sensorineural hearing loss on top has meant she has always been louder than her hearing sister. I can handle anything she throws at me…mentally and physically can’t I?

The thing is it has all changed. Disruptive behaviour at home or in the street wasn’t acceptable when she was little but up to age 6 she could be put in a pushchair or put on reins at least until she grew to big. Now when people see a tall 10 year old exhibiting behavioural problems they mutter and shake their heads. Heck I mutter and shake my head while inside I am fuming because I sometimes forget that she has this ‘illness’ and that she can’t help it but because I want her to be as normal as possible I do sometimes forget for a second that she is different, and yes as her mother I can say she is different because there is no way of getting away from it. She is unlike my other three daughters. Each different in their own way but so alarmingly different to their sister. If I was a bad parent surely they would all be like her?

So the sleepover…..

My daughters friends have sleep overs and maybe giggle the next time they are in school about how late they went to sleep but for us it was no giggle. The girls who stayed accept our daughter for who she is but even they struggled with her not being able to sleep. I felt pride at the way they tried to help her but in the end we had to remove her otherwise none of them would have slept. I had even tried to keep some of her routine at a much later bedtime and read to them plus she had her sleep medication but as mentioned, excited and anxiety played apart in making sleep disappear, we were left with running up and downstairs, shouting and screaming. I felt bad as a mother for taking her upstairs, making her sleep apart from her friends but when you are a household of 6, attached to another house sleep is very much needed by all. Needless to say the friends were asleep within 10 minutes of us removing her and didn’t wake till 9am the next morning.

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As for our daughter after she was spent from her tantrum she spent the rest of the night in our bed. She was very comfy!!! Me however spent time thinking and crying and wondering how much more we will come up against in the fight to give our daughter the chances and opportunities she deserves. Then again as parents thats what we do isn’t it? We give our children opportunities to grow and learn and we as parents also grow and learn. We learn the best way for us to cope / deal / parent our children. Its a huge learning curb being a parent and its a huge learning curb living with ADD. As the years go on no doubt I will learn more not only about ADD but also about myself and my family and especially about what our daughter will be able to achieve.

All I can say is never stop trying. There will always be good days and bad days, thats being a parent and we don’t always get it right. When it goes wrong cry, stamp your feet and let out the frustration and then start again fresh and new the next day. ADD for me is either a good day, a bad day or its sometimes like groundhog day…..

 

Take  care

x Leanne x

Massage for children… Any time any where 

As mentioned in previous blogs we use massage with our children as a relaxation, concentration, learning activity. We use massage morning, afternoon and night-times in lots of different situations and scenarios. Why? Because for us massage is a way of interacting with our children using a relaxing tool rather than shouting and getting annoyed with them which i previously did. It means less arguements, less tension and stress. It also means quiet time, creativity and respect.

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Story massage comes before hair brushing in our house

We have four daughter’s ranging from 12 years through to 6 years. On a daily basis as a family unit we live with sensorineural hearing loss and ADD. We are also currently living with two preteens full of hormonal changes, moods and frustration due to thinking they are ready for the adult world.
Primarily on my older two we use Indian head massage. This is a seated massage that is beneficial at the end of the day to calm and relax as well as spending some one to one time with my children. As a therapist I get asked how this works when parents bring their children for a massage? My answer is that attending a massage therapy session can feel daunting to children. They can become more tense and even scared as they do not know what is going to happen. I always work with a parent in the same room and if possible get mum or dad to have a massage first so that the child can see what is going to happen. I always tend to talk through the massage even with my own children so they do not startle when I move from the shoulders to the neck.

Obviously with children you have to adapt some of the massage techniques to take into account their smaller bones and muscles as well as nervousness and this is something I am always conscious off. I also adapt the massage to go with the child’s body language. My daughter with ADD some days just can not tolerate being touched. If her anxiety is particularly bad then no matter how patient I am massage just will not work so we sit and talk instead. You can see when an Indian head massage does start to work as after a few sessions relaxation sets in, fidgets decrease and children comment they have enjoyed their Indian head massage. Indian head massage is a perfect pick me up after a stressful day as well as being perfect for lunch breaks. Massage can last from 15 minutes to 30 minutes meaning it can fit in with almost any lifestyle.

At this time of year exams can place a lot of stress and tension on our children as young as 10. I have also found Indian head massage to be beneficial here. Children can feel stress as much as we can and so they too can benefit from relaxation. Indian head massage can also aide sleeplessness, headaches and eye strain which are common symptoms of revising and exam taking.

With my younger two children we use http://www.storymassage.co.uk

Story massage is a treatment you could say ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. It is a wonderful treatment blending 10 simple but effective massage moves with stories, nursery rhymes and songs in a variety of ways. This is a treatment that you as Parents can share with your children at any time of the day and dare I say it night. It is also a treatment you can get the whole family, carers,friends, teachers involved in and having fun.

Book available on amazon or via singing dragon publishers


So far we have used story massage

  • Bedtimes
  • bathtime
  • to explain a new situation
  • Tea times
  • Quiet time
  • Long car journeys
  • to celebrate a special occassion
  • On holiday
  • In the supermarket
  • Waiting for an appointment
  • To calm down an arguements
  • When waiting in a queue
  • Camping in the caravan

 

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story massage in the caravan…..excuse the mess

Story massage is really easy to learn and you can start enjoying it straight away. Since becoming an instructor I have personally used Story massage nearly everyday at home. My children love to write their own stories and then get mummy to put massage moves with it. It really brings out their creative side and gives the children a sense of achievement. Stories can be short and sweet or longer and there really is no right and wrong way to do it.  They all sit on the stairs and tell each other stories with massage. Its perfect for a rainy day activity or when those sibling arguments are starting to get on your nerves.

I have also found story massage to be really useful with coping with symptoms of ADD and Anxiety. Personalised stories reinforced with massage can aide concentration, raise self confidence and relax especially when there is difficult behaviour. This has been especially true for us at teatime when my daughter has refused to eat. During training I along with another participate wrote a story about a magical food unicorn. We still use this story even now to encourage my daughter to eat. I have found in my own personal experience that story massage can also reduce the feelings of anxiety. When my daughter is feeling particularly stressed and upset about something story massage gives her a positive to concentrate on. For example in a previous blog I wrote about a car journey and how Story massage helped to keep her calm and focused in a small space.

I offer Story massage sessions to families here in Norfolk.

  • fun and informal, relaxing learning approach with plenty of tea’s and coffees
  • A session typically lasts 2 hours either with just parents / carers or with the children as well.
  • You will learn more about story massage, the founders, history
  • get hands on practise learning the massage moves
  • be able to write your own personalised story massage for your child
  • feel confident in sharing story massage with your own children anytime anywhere

I am now of to do a 5 minute story massage as its the first day back after a long weekend which my ADD daughter has found confusing and is now starting to feel anxious. Keep in touch as always and look out for the next edition

 

Take care

x Leanne x

 

Mealtimes and ADD… mums worst time of day

So a bone of contention in our house this week is eating. Getting my daughter who is ADD to eat is like trying to bleed blood from a stone. 

Nothing I seem to be trying has been working. Breakfast, dinner and tea I may as well just put the food in the bin or better yet not even start cooking. Why does everything seem to be such a battle. I either just cook what I think she will eat and it’s wrong or I ask and then cook and still it’s wrong. I can’t win and I am the bloody adult!!! Why does eating have to pose such an issue seriously I am not soft I don’t let them dictate I cook set meals and switch it around I make it interesting while trying to not be boring and I don’t cook what I know they won’t eat. So why I think to myself will my 9 year old just not bloody eat. My other girls eat and she sees them eating, they see her not eating and being spoon fed (yes some days the only way she will eat is if I feed her ). I have tried earlier tea times, later tea times all sorts. I just feel like an utter idiot, a failure who can’t even get her own child to eat.

 

 

Much needed brew of choice today

Well you see for Louisa she is on medication for ADD. This helps her to concentrate and control her behaviour and allows her to learn and function where she otherwise would struggle, but a MAJOR drawback is that it is suppressing her appetite. She is 9 1/2 years old and weighs around 4.5 stone by comparison my 6 year old is 5 stone. We have appointments every 6 months to check medication, weight etc and we are told don’t let it get below 4 stone.

 

Even though I am doing everything that I can to ensure she maintains her weight her clothes are hanging of her, she is skin and bones and her energy levels are rubbish. I have to be so careful when she has a massage so that I don’t hurt her as her bones poke out. Its heartbreaking and I hate it.I feel like I am failing her on every level.  What am i suppose to do? without her tablet we go back to how it use to be where she can’t concentrate, sit still, she can’t learn, can’t socialise, picks on her sisters, throws things in anger the list goes on. Medication is meant to help my daughter but I see the effects that it has on her. Family and friends, strangers in the street can all see the effect that taking mediation has on her. So why do I do it? Why do I every morning give a tablet to my child? Can anyone else relate?

Food has defiantly been an issue for the last three years and its only getting worse the older Louisa gets. The medication used to treat ADD / ADHD is known to make them not feel hungry. It suppresses their appetites. Its why they are checked while they are on it, but what do you do between appointments. I have to weigh her weekly, its become something that I feel paranoia over. My husband is the same we are obsessed with seeing if she has put any weight on.You see I am so scared that if her weight drops to much they will intervene maybe put her in hospital but no amount of cajoling even at 5.30 pm when her medication has worn of will get her to eat. She is to tired and grumpy, argumentative and just wants to be left alone and she’s anxious about everything. She just has no interest in anything so no amount of bribes will work either. It’s getting to the point where she is starting to realise she has control over wether she eats or not. That’s something I don’t want to go through.

A new strategy…

So we have started with a new old strategy :)… a smile chart. I had tried reward charts when she was younger but they never really seem to stick and with the memory problems and learning difficulties she didn’t really understand what it was all about, she just wanted the reward. Our new smile chart is much simpler than a sticker / star chart as all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. No trying to find stickers and the stress of running out or hours spent trying to choose the right stickers because “it has to be the right one mummy”, no arguements no stress and they can personalise it anyway they want to. As long as you have a steady supply of pens your fine.

Excuse the grubby fingers
  

 So as you can see there are two charts. One I made up for home and she can gain two smiley faces a day, one for breakfast and one for tea. The second is one that we put in her lunch box for school. This means that anyone like a friend or dinner lady or teacher can draw a face and if thats forgotten with a pack lunch I can see exactly what she has eaten and add a smiley face at the end of the day. I was paying for lunches but Louisa refused to eat them 😔

The aim is for my daughter to get as many smiley faces as she can. When she has a full 10 smiles for breakfast/tea in a 7 day period she gets a reward. The lunchtime chart is the same. Its all about making it as achievable as possible without making eating such an issue that she digs in her heels. Basically I need to make her want to eat and if a reward will do the job I can live with that.

So last week’s reward was a new pencil case she had been asking for. The lunchtime reward was an extra 15 minutes before bed on saturday and Sunday. As you can see from the chart she achieved both 🙂 The rewards can be anything that you along with your child decide getting them involved is key. Louisa needs to be excited about something so that she overcome’s her anxiousness.  So we personally decided on things that louisa needed. i.e. a pencil case, a new book a little extra time before bed. Sweets and chocolate hold no appeal over a new pencil case in my house thank god! chocolate bars these days seem to be smaller anyway and more expensive or is that just me?

Last week was the first week. It was a good week Louisa was really excited and loved putting smiley faces on the charts. I thought all was going well, but we seem to have hit a stumbling block tonight. I cooked tea something I know she would eat but no she would not bloody eat it for love no money. I feel so powerless when she is like this. It breaks my heart because I know her body needs the food and frustrated because as her mother it is my job to make sure she grows up healthy strong and gets the nourishment she needs.  I feel anger that she won’t eat and have to try so hard not to escalate the situation while still trying to get her to cooperate. Without the proper diet I know she could end up with health problems, she could end up with eating disorders. Lack of food means that her concentration is even worse than normal, her body is tired and has to use its own energy to sustain her hyperactivity. I feel inadequate like its my fault.  As her mum its my job to make sure she eats. My other three girls all eat like horses. Anything I put in front of them they will eat, but lately I find I am doing more and more to try and cook things that Louisa will eat which means that meal times have become boring. I cook meat she won’t eat it except for chicken I can just about get away with, mash potato is a no no, peas hell no!!!  bread no crusts and she won’t even touch chocolate….says its too chocolaty, crisps as long as they are the right ones, sausage rolls a must for breakfast, cooked breakfasts she will ask for then not eat once cooked. But she loves spaghetti and meatballs ☺️

All I can do is keep trying and doing my best. Hopefully after today she will get back into the swing of things and we will again have some fab results and fun looking for a new book. What ever the next few weeks bring at least I know that I have tried to do my best and at the end of the day thats all I can do. It’s all any of us can do. With ADD I am finding its all about trial and error much like with normal parenting. We all have stages with our children wether disabled or not of stubbornness and refusals to eat, go to bed ect. The key is to take it in our strides as best we can learn from it and move onto other things. My children all have a stubborn streak. It runs in the family and they are also argumentative I feel like I am butting up against a brick wall most days and even though I try to think positive I can’t help feeling somedays that my best just isn’t good enough, and when I look at my daughter I see what other people can see and blame myself even more. I will never blame her.

will keep you posted

x leanne x

 

‘on this day’….. feelings of guilt as a mother

Today while on Facebook I had that ‘on this day’ pop up on my home page. You know the one? I personally absolutely love this feature as I get to see pictures of my girls that I had either forgotten I had posted or forgotten that I even had. In fact a few years back I lost some pictures but thanks to Facebook I regained most of them. Heres a favourite from 2010

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aged 3 1/2 years 

Anyway as you do I decided to click on it and see what popped up. Well hand on heart I did not expect to see that status. From 19 march 2013 @ 08.06am

Hospitals answer was medication so today is the first morning of Louisa being on ADHD medication mixed feelings about this 😦 and a sense of feeling lost

So you see today it has been three years yesterday we were told our daughter had ADD and three years today that our daughter had her first lot of ADHD medication!!! Her paperwork states ADD and learning difficulties and three years later she just seems to have a long list of letters after her name like OCD,ASD apparently she is across the board.

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Shock…

I looked at that status and just thought OMG I have been medicating my daughter and re-ordering tablets for three whole years. Never mind the whole living with a diagnosis of ADD for three years but what struck me then and made me write that status has really struck me again. Its made me feel things that I thought were under control.

My daughter is on what could be a lifetime of medication. She is basically on a mood altering drug that can almost make her seem like Jekyll and Hyde. Before the tablet I sometimes feel hard pressed to cope with her. She won’t co-operate, she shouts, screams, forgets where she has put something and her OCD well don’t even get me started on that kettle of fish 😦 she also picks on her sisters spends five minutes walking up and down the stairs saying ‘shit bag’, she resorts to babble and baby language and will not get ready for school. As soon as that medication kicks in her OCD ramps up and she gets dressed makes her bed and tries to eat her breakfast. Why is my daughter on medication?

I think even as I have been writing my blogs its moments like these that really hit home that my child is different. I am not sure what other parents feel at times – I would be really interested to know!!!

For me looking after my child as I have said before is just being a parent. I do everything automatically. I try to always do my best by my children. Some days this works other days I feel like a complete failure. Today has been  one of those days. Its been a day of

  1. Am I failing her?  because every morning she has a little pink and white tablet which she takes without hesitation.
  2. Am I raising her the way i should be? or is her disability actually my fault? am I doing or have i done something to make her this way?
  3. Is the trust that she places in me as her mum just an illusion? or is it my way of justifying that i am medication her
  4. Am I doing the right thing for her or is drugging her a way to make the rest of us in the house feel like we are having an easier day.
  5. whats going to happen in the next three years?

Can I really cope? …

you know what yes I can cope!!!

Yes I need help and support, yes I trawl through group forums and ask advice, yes I share my experiences because that is the way that I have found helps me best. I cope knowing that I am not alone. Neither are you!!

There is no shame in asking for help and there is no shame in my daughter being on medication. Having four children fairly close in age means that the symptoms of  ADD is really visible. Surely if it was bad parenting all my children would be the same?

Medication is such a big word and for children its scary. For louisa she calls it her ‘HD tablet’ because even aged 9 she knows that it helps her. It makes her brain stop flitting through tv channels so that she can concentrate better and for longer. It allows her to learn something new everyday although it does not help with the memory problems 😦 . She is better able to control her temper and her outbursts. She is still the same person with or without the tablet, just with the tablet she flutters about less (her words lol like a butterfly). Its really more like stomp around like a teeny pre teen buts thats just between you and me.

So to finish..

I think realistically its feelings like this that makes us human. When raising a child with a disability or learning difficulties life is always in the fast lane. Moods change, behaviours go up and down. Our children can be difficult and somedays life can really hit us hard. Going through what i have been through the last three years with a diagnosis and medication, relationship breakdown and heartache I find it easy to sink back into that quiet place inside me where I ignore people and become low. I feel like crying and the guilt really hits me hard. Writing this my hands are cold and my stomach has butterflies. I really hate feeling like this but do you know what?…. feeling low is a normal process that any human can go through and its how you come back up that matters. Take each day as it comes, be the best mum or dad that you can for your child and help them as much as you are able to grow and be happy.

Thank you for taking the time to read enjoy your weekend!!!

x leanne x

Continue reading “‘on this day’….. feelings of guilt as a mother”

I found a superpower….Massage

Ha Ha I love this heading I think its well apt for how I feel massage has helped me with coping with the day to day life, drama and ups and downs of raising a nearly 10 year old with ADD and hearing loss. Hope you enjoy reading as always any comments, feedback very welcome, at the end of the day I am just a mum like you x

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Touch…. What is meant by touch? 

The media portray touch as sensational headlines made to sell newspapers and get you watching the news. It’s deemed inappropriate, something we should never do, something we should get in trouble for. It’s almost a taboo subject. My six year old daughter came home yesterday and told me that the teachers are no longer allowed to apply suncream? my first thought was thats just stupid…. but this is how our society is going.

The thing is human beings need touch. We are a very touch sensitive race. We find comfort and warmth, love and support in touch. We communicate with touch, we express our feelings through touch. We bond through touch… How could this be wrong?  The sad answer is in lots of ways. There are so many bad things in the world that for many of us we are unsure what is right or wrong which is making it all the more harder for us parents. Any child needs to feel love and a connection with another human how can that ever be deemed wrong? My children who have hearing loss have already lost the full use of that sense making touch, sight and smell all the more important for them. What happens if touch becomes taboo…. we will no longer be able to hug our own children, tend to their cuts or help them through the power of touch. How will massage therapists like myself use massage to aide and help those if touch is no longer allowed? Its all very scary and confusing as a parent but here is my take on how positive touch could help you and your children x

Positive touch….

As an Indian head massage therapist one of the first things I learnt was the history of Indian head massage. Families, barbers ect in India use massage in everyday daily lives. The whole family gets involved from grandparents and the elderly to new babies, toddlers and everyone in between. As well as the massage benefits touch is an important part of family bonding, promoting respect and spending time together.

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For us as a family this is where massage now plays a huge part. There is now a lot of research out there on the internet about the benefits of massage for ADHD / ADD and similar conditions. It was due to this research that I decided to train in Indian head massage and story massage. I could go into great detail and post excerpts from these studies but instead as a mother not a research specialist and having hands on experience of everyday living with a child I decided some weeks ago to write what I know.

My main use of massage is at bedtime. My daughter has a drug called liquid melatonin which for her at the minute is the only medication that allows her to have a modicum of sleep. Trust me we have tried and sort medication as a last resort. Before she was medicated we were up until the early hours with a very awake child. Taking it in turns almost in shift patterns, trying to keep the noise down and just simply trying to be a family. Eventually though our other children were starting to suffer the effects of sleeplessness due to their sister. Tempers were becoming frayed, the house was a tense environment and became a home that no one wanted to come back too. Nothing could and still doesn’t sometimes now get her to sleep.

I use to become frustrated and angry because I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t just go to sleep like her sisters. Part of me in a way still feels that I really don’t understand what is going on. We are in the middle of trying to get more information from the specialists but as with anything it’s a long drawn out process. So for now we have to do our best. we medicate her. I as a mother give my child medicine that makes her sleepy even if she doesn’t want to be sleepy. When I say its bedtime it really is bedtime for her. There is no happy medium, its not a joke and its not the easiest thing to do. Watching your child succumb to the effects of drugs is never an easy thing to watch. It does not make me feel good inside to measure out the medication….I am not secretly inside doing a victory dance because tonight I know she will get at least 6 hours sleep. The reality is so much harder to bare.

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feeling like I am floating about not really knowing what I am doing 

So bedtime is the main area where we struggle. We have a checklist that we have to methodically stick to :

  • There’s no electrical devices of any sort an hour before bed. This is to try and help the melatonin produced in the brain do its job.
  • 15, 10,5 minute warnings – this count down ensures the least amount of possible arguing. Our daughter can not be rushed so this helps her to keep track of the time.
  • medication and snack
  • Upstairs, wash, dress, teeth
  • Into bed – check all teddies, blankets are there
  • read a story
  • 5 – 10 minute massage – in bed where she then does not have to be disturbed.

 

Maybe 7 – 8 times out of 10 massage is the key to getting our daughter to relax just enough to help the medication do its job. But massage is not a cure. It’s not a fail safe! It’s not a miracle cure. So why do we do it? Because even when you can’t see results massage has helped in some way, it allows our daughter to interact and to feel safe and happy. Its almost like when you swaddle a baby and they feel calmer and content. Its the same with our daughter and massage. We now use massage in so many aspects of her life its almost become a comfort blanket. If she is feeling anxious 5 minutes of massage can make her feel a little better and thats the best that I as a mother can hope for. Its what we do….We find ways of helping our children and making them happy. I feel great achievement if our daughter can manage to sit still for 10 minutes and relax with a massage. I also feel that as her care giver it has strengthened our bond. My voice through story massage can quite often bring her back to herself. A simple story can help her calm herself but also help her with language and counting and just making sense of the world around her.

Back to massage…..

Generally we do 15 minutes of massage every night. I use story massage which is a great way to interact with your child while keeping them engaged. Blending stories, songs or nursery rhymes with simple,gentle, relaxing massage moves promotes relaxation. The massage eases tense muscles and calms the mind while at the same time strengthening the bond between myself and my daughter. Story massage is a great way to end the day. It’s soothing and can be done while my daughter is laid in bed. Twinkle twinkle little star up her arm is her favourite at the minute.

This massage is especially important after a particularly stressful episode. Massage and my voice is sometimes the only way I can get through to my daughter. It can calm her, get her to refocus on the here and now and also get her attention away from whatever caused the problem in the first place.

The way I see it is when I was pregnant I spoke to my bump. I imagine lots of other mothers did this too. Once my daughter was born having failed the new born hearing screening after two years she was diagnosed with hearing loss. Although it took two years for her to get her hearing aids the close contact and endless talking to her ensured we had a strong bond. So she knew my voice. Once the symptoms of ADD started to present themselves aged 2.5 years I figured that on some level she knows my voice and that I am a safe zone. A part of her brain can recognise that I am not a threat and even though her body language is saying one thing generally I am able to calm her down by talking and singing. This can be really hard when she is shouting and swearing at me but I have to persevere. If I can’t look after my own child who else is going to?

Part of this also means that she feels she can take all her anger and frustration out on me as well but that’s for another time.

So when using story massage in a stressful situation it can help to calm and refocus my daughter as she can hear and recognise my voice. Also by telling a story or singing a song there is no room for me to shout or get angry. Have you tried to tell a story while your angry? I have….. By the end I was laughing and so was my husband because it just sounded funny.

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http://www.storymassage.co.uk

Story massage is simple. There is no right or wrong way. It’s all about sharing positive touch with your children. Promoting respect at the same time as being creative and fun. For those with Autism, Anxieties learning disabilities or who just don’t like to be touched all can join in and enjoy the benefits of story massage. You see story massage could be used to promote touch resulting in self confidence. It gives children the chance to be a part of the massage. They can write their own stories, they can join in with siblings or they can share a massage with mum or dad. My own children have endless fun writing their own stories and one of my daughters loves to give massages. She picked up the massage moves easily, as did my 6 year old. Visit http://www.storymassage.co.uk

Indian head massage is reserved for once a week. Concentrating on the upper back, shoulders, neck scalp and face Indian head massage is gentle and a seated massage. The treatment usually lasts 30 minutes. My children all love having a massage. The benefits are lovely.

If you want to find out more then please get in touch. I currently offer sessions in Norfolk to parents, care givers or anyone who wants to learn. To find out more http://www.marshamholistictherapy.co.uk

Take care until next time

 

x leanne x