Very odd behaviour


Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
Yesterday was a strange day........
mum is developing very strange behaviour.....more so than usual.......

i have come to accept that if she doesn't want to eat something she will either try to hide it or throw it on the floor........

yesterday....I heard what I thought was her spilling something......I looked up and she was pouring her tea quite deliberately on the carpet:eek:
I asked her why she had done that and she said she didn't know.....I told her I just wanted to understand .....she said there are many things we don't understand(very lucidly)

Over the last week I am finding her putting more and more things in her underwear.....newspapers,sandwiches,my credit card(shouldn't have left that out),photographs.....even one of my shoes:confused: :confused:

I was cooking tea yesterday and my youngest son shouted me "mum....can you come here! Nannas on the floor!!!"....I ran in....she hadn't fallen....she'd got down on the floor and was crawling on her hands and knees....I asked her if she was ok.....she replied "yes....are you?"....and I asked her what she was doing
"I'm playing cuckoo"..she replied....said she didn't want to get up and carried on crawling on all fours......a bit later I got her up.......

Is this common?

Its a far cry from nearly 2 years ago,just after dad died when I was so worried that I phoned my sister in law for advice because mum was putting her undies on over her tights!!! That seems so trivial now.......

Is there a game called "cuckoo"?
:eek: :confused:


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
"I'm playing cuckoo"..
Hi Wendy
well, to be "cuckoo" is to be crazy, so she may realise she is behaving strangely, yet not know why, so she may rationalise that as "playing as if she is crazy".

Hiding things - anything really - is pretty normal. It is trying to keep things close by in a world where everything seems to be taken away from you.

At Jan's home, residents have been known to pour tea on seats, into plants, on the floor. They realise they have finished and want to help in clearing up the mug/cup, but no longer realise the sink is the place to do that.

Crawling on the floor? When balance starts to be a problem, or when you just can't be bothered to stand up, then crawling is a good and safe option. Jan has been crawling for 4 years now. She is losing the ability even slightly to do that. I'll miss the crawling when it goes entirely. Motto: enjoy what you can, when you can.

It is certainly all a trial and distressing for all parties. But there is nothing we can do about it, so it is best just to accept it as a new normality.....:eek:


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
How old is your mother? The reason I ask is that I remember my mother (89), telling me in the past that in her youth it was extremely common to put things you wanted to keep safe in your knicker elastic, so that may be where that's coming from.

No ideas about the other stuff I'm afraid.




Registered User
Aug 3, 2006
Hi Wendy, I'd be inclined to ask "How do you play cuckoo, can I join in" That's the approach I used to take with my wife whenever she did what some might discribe as childlike. We are all children who have been weathered by the ravages of time. Discard these ravages like: grow-up and act your age, do as your told, that's no way to behave etc. Let the child within free and enter her world.
Even though my wife can't speak I enter her world as best I can and talk to her as though we have time travelled back 60 years or more. When she sleeps I'm back in real time to weather whatever it, throws up.
You can discover a lot about yourself you never knew. I know I have and continue to. Best wishes in your endevours and God bless. Padraig


Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
Thanks for your replies....
jennifer....that makes sense....mum is 83 on 23rd December hadn't ocurred to me that mum was trying to help when she was pouring her tea on the had actually gone cold cos she'd forgotten about it......i feel a bit guilty now

Padraig.....thanks for your advice......i do try not to get exasperated but now and again i feel so confused myself......but i suppose thats it......the uninhibited child in mum is now at the surface.......

love Wendy xx

PS.....oh how things have changed.....poor mum is now doubly incontinent and i always thought i would never be able to cope with that.....but i say to myself.....she did it for me so now its my turn to be "mum"
When she's anxious its my turn to ease her fears......
.....But i still wouldn't want my children to do it for me.........


Registered User
Apr 10, 2006
Hiya Wend

It seems to me that if you were in a world where you forget where you've put things for safe keeping......and everything seems to disappear.......then your knickers has to be a fairly safe place.......i don't mean yours literally, i mean your mums.........but the fact that these things are close to her body will keep reminding her that they are still there.
(Its a tough one to answer, or should i say a tough one to word without sounding flippant....... if you only knew how many times i've changed my answer to this post!)
But i can understand why she's doing it............ i don't know of any games called cuckoo though!..........sorry i can't help.

Love Alex x


Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
thanks Alex
Don't worry.....i don't mind anyone being flippant!!!!
boy......mum must feel so uncomfortable at times.....I wonder if thats why she paces around so ease the discomfort?????

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Wendy, all of the things you mention sound familiar - except the game 'cuckoo'.
As for your last line: my husband's sundowning has improved (reduced) enormously since he has been on Ebixa and Trazodone (a mild anti-depressant), but he still gets evenings when nothing is safe: he paces up and down, pulls pictures and mirrors off the walls, tugs at the curtains, pushes me away from the cooker or sink .... I don't always 'twig' at the time (because at that time of day I am usually busy trying to get a meal cooked etc), but almost invariably realise a little later that he must have had a rumbly tummy or felt uncomfortable. Trouble is, there's nothing I can do about it until 'afterwards' (he, too, is doubly incontinent). But I do feel so very sorry for what he goes through at times, it is a blessing when he is relaxed and happy.


Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
mel said:
she was pouring her tea quite deliberately on the carpet:eek:
I asked her why she had done that and she said she didn't know.....I told her I just wanted to understand .....she said there are many things we don't understand(very lucidly)
Hi Wendy

My dad didn't do that ..... but he did some pretty odd things. The sense I make of it is that there's a bit of memory preserved "tea is something you pour" ........ but the proper context is lost ............... so you could end up pouring it anywhere. No idea if that's "right" but it seemed to make sense of some of dad's antics.

The second bit of your comment reminded me of how dad could be sort of very lucid (very sort of articulate, and formal in his speech) but in the oddest contexts. With it coming up to Xmas it's reminding me of last year with dad writing his Xmas cards. I knew there was something not right with him before that, but doing the cards I really really realised it, no mistaking or denying it anymore. That's a long story for another time. But I remember a bizarre conversation (one of many) about who to send a Xmas card to. One of his brothers had died earlier that year, and he remembered that .......... but I said to him that he should send a card to the brothers wife. He couldn't seem to grasp that, and sat starting at me and not being able to write the card. After lots of stumbling and not with it sort of comments, he suddenly comes out with "but I don't think it's the usual protocol to send cards to those who are deceased" :eek:

Anyway, now I've started rambling and reminiscing ....................


Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
Thanks Nutty Nan and Áine,
the beauty of TP is being able to share others experience and ideas as to why these things seems so simple when its put before me in black and white!!!
love xx


Registered User
Jun 24, 2004
I remember once when my mum in law was in respite she had put an individual margarine portion in her knickers!! what a mess that made when it got warm and the plastic pot split - never mind we said we'll have to start calling you MARGE.

Best wishes to all


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I have to confess - I had a good giggle visualizing underwear with a credit card, shoe & newspaper stuffed in it.

It does make sense that your mother is trying to keep things "safe".