Monday Blues

So it was the first day back today. Me to work and the children to school. We have had a lovely week off together. No need to wear a watch. No timetable with routine out of the window. Eat when you feel hungry, sleep when your tired, that was my motto and that’s how we lived for one whole glorious week. It was luxury.

One thing I noticed was the effect the holiday had on my eldest child.

Two weeks ago he was stressed out, anxious, angry and depressed.

Two weeks ago my husband and I were discussing our child’s mental health! This has been a shock and sometimes I find it hard to really contemplate that my beautiful nine year old could have mental health problems. It scares us to the core.

But each day being at home I started to see a renewed, happy and relaxed person. It was an amazing transformation.

Why?

I had a meeting at school recently and said why does he find school so hard? What causes the trigger? What can we change? I wish the teachers could see the happy, go lucky child I have during the holidays. The teachers said yes, school is a problem for him but there is not a trigger we can change. It is just school and he finds it a struggle.

As a parent I both understand this but also hate this answer. As a parent I want to wave a magic wand and change his life for him. But I also realise I can’t protect him from everything. Unfortunately we can’t avoid life!

So, how do I make this better?

Is home schooling the answer? I don’t know. Is pursuing an ASD diagnosis the answer? I don’t know.

I wish I had the answers, I wish I had that magic wand, I wish we could stay on half term holidays forever!!!

I am sure there are others living my life too. Any comments, advice and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for listening.

 

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As far as anyone knows we are a normal family!

imageThis has been my family motto for the last few years! So far we have been quite unsuccessful I think!

It has been a tough week.

Why does everything have to be such a battle?

So leading up to the summer holidays I thought I had everything sorted. All the support my son needed to be able to ‘just cope’ at school were in place and I thought I could sit back and hope that this would be a good year. Well unfortunately life doesn’t seem to work like that. After just four weeks back at school many of the strategies implemented have now stopped because it is felt that he no longer needs them. He is doing so well and he has said he does not want them anymore. Why did they not discuss this with his parents? Why is it felt that an 8 year old can make these decisions? But my thoughts are; what  if he is coping because those strategies are there and therefore are working, what if now it is all going to fall apart? Looks like another battle has started.

My biggest problem is that at school my son appears happy and content but at home he is a stressed, anxious, and at times a depressed and angry little boy. I feel that when I talk to the school they think I am an overprotective, over anxious and crazy mother. They cannot see the child I am describing and I guess they think that perhaps if he is displaying these behaviours at home then is it my parenting skills at fault? It has been suggested that I attend a parenting course.

It makes me so frustrated. Does anyone else have similar battles? I would love to know.

It is so tiring!

But my biggest stress this weekend was having to make the Great Fire London out of aqua beads with my twin daughters. Honestly I lost the will to live at one point when one of my girls sneezed and we had aquabeads all over the kitchen floor. “Let’s start again” I heard myself say through gritted teeth as I reach the vino!

Box monster


imageI made this box monster for my kiddies and we have had great fun using him.

The idea is to lay out any type of picture, I have used phonic flashcards, and the child selects one and then says the letter sounds it starts with, or how to spell the word, or try to think of a rhyming word etc. There are so many uses for this little monster. Once they have used their selected card they put it in to the monster and he eats it up! Yum!

I thought that for younger children you could also use it to build vocabulary by just saying the word, and also good for children learning English as an additional language?

I am also considering making a similar little monster for my son to use as a worry box. I quite like the idea of the monster eating the worries away!

It was so easy to make, just a clothes washing tablet box which I covered. You can even get your little ones to decorate it themselves.

boofy things!

So we have survived our second week at school. How many other people out there feel like me? As I sit and reflect on my week the one word that springs to mind is “boofy”.

Well, I am not too sure if this is even a word but this week our life has revolved around boofy things.

Let me explain what boofy means in our house; “Large and fluffy” so we have boofy socks, boofy coats, boofy jumpers etc. Boofy things are my sons comfort blanket, he can hide in his boofy things and pretend the outside world does not exist.

Boofy things are good.

In general this week has been ok. We are starting to get used to the routine, the new teacher, the extra workload, although I am not getting used to the screeching recorder practice and neither is my neighbour for that matter. I am all for encouraging music as an outlet for emotion but perhaps not listening to ‘Londons Burning’ for the fiftieth time at four in the morning! Then, I am not so sure. But it is at this point that the ear defenders we have recently acquired do come in handy!

Worries are like growing tomatoes!

IMG_2403My son is a very anxious child, bless him. It breaks my heart some days. Every day things which others take in their stride is one big trauma for him. He spends time worrying about it, thinking about it and unable to sleep or even eat! It turns into an obsession.

As the end of the summer holidays loom his anxiety about going back to school is escalating. This happens every year, you would think we would have got used to it. But every year it takes me by surprise and I think, help, I don’t know how to deal with this?

So before we broke up for the holidays I asked the school for help and his school counsellor gave us a book all about how worries are like growing tomatoes. You feed and water the plant, you look after them, and think about them all the time and soon you have tomatoes everywhere and you have to eat tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a fabulous book. When we read it I thought to myself I don’t think he has understood that at all, back to the drawing board. What shall I do now to try and explain anxiety to a child which has no real idea about feelings, emotions etc.

Yesterday we went to buy new school trousers. I have put it off for as long as possible but now it has to be done. It started off ok, we were browsing and having a little jokey moment when suddenly Bam! Out of nowhere total meltdown. Hiding in amongst the clothes, shouting and crying. Other parents and children staring, wondering what on earth is going on.

There I am sitting on the floor trying to talk him down and I can hear others criticising my technique. Well, I don’t blame them. I guess to the outside world it looks like I  am talking to a very rude child and I have no discipline techniques whatsoever! Yes, I guess in that instance they are right, it must be my lack of parenting skills as you would never normally have a child of this age behaving like a toddler going through the terrible twos! Well how do I explain to them that my son is behaving like this because he is stressed, scared, anxious, that he wants to run away from the world and never return? How do I tell them that he has a variety of complex needs and that he isn’t naughty he is just struggling with the world?

So I just continue talking him down and ignore the comments and eventually he crawls out from his hiding place and rather exhausted falls into my arms. We hold each other for what seems like an age, I am not too sure which one of us needs the hug more at this point in time! I think we were both trying to support each other. And then he looks up to me with a sad face and says “sorry Mummy but it is the tomatoes, they made me do it!”.

Musical Christmas Jumpers!

Yes, you read that right, musical Christmas jumpers!

This summer holiday my son has been mostly wearing musical Christmas jumpers. He definitely has a style all of his own. So today he came downstairs in blue tracksuit bottoms, a pair of striped red and orange totes socks, the beloved Barcelona football shirt, his musical Christmas jumper and a blue suit blazer. He sat down on the sofa and stared at his bemused sisters as if to say “what, am I not rocking this look?”.

Now, it is at this point that I have to explain that my son has Sensory Processing Difficulties. Textures and in particular clothing causes extreme trauma. At one point when I used to try and force him into wearing ‘sensible’ or rather ‘normal’ outfits he would have complete meltdowns which would last for hours until I would finally give in and he would spend the day in his pyjamas.

Once I was able to understand that certain textures were too cold, too hot, too itchy, too soft, too scratchy, heavy weight jeans actually felt painful on his legs and flappy shorts made him feel like they would trip him up. Once I understood this and entered his world and experienced clothes like he did then the crying stopped and so did the living in pyjamas. Because now my son buys his own clothes based on what feels right rather than what looks right. And he has the freedom to wear whatever he likes.

I looked at this outfit and I understood the totes socks stopped the unbearable feeling of carpet on his feet, the tracksuit bottoms are not too heavy and soft inside so they do not feel scratchy on his legs, the Barcelona football shirt because he loves football (can’t blame spd on everything!), the Christmas jumper because it is a natural fibre, lightweight and no zips to feel scratchy. I now finally understand it! Clothes that feel right.

So, musical Christmas jumper it is. It may be August and summer time but he has a smile on his face and that fills me with happiness in return. Just not so sure I can cope with listening to “jingle bells” til December, that battery might just have to disappear shortly!

This is a really quick one, I just had to share this with you.

So we took our cat to the vet and just as everything in my life it ended up being a whole family outing! The poor vet did not really understand why or what was going on but he managed to handle it really quite well.

Anyway we managed to get through the thermometer up the bottom without too many giggles and questions and I am thinking we are doing well here, I am almost looking like a parent in control of a crazy cat and three even crazier children. And then it happened, the cutest comment ever!

So the vet asks “has your cat been spayed?” And my daughter replied “no we didn’t take her to Spain because she is a cat and doesn’t have a passport silly!”

Loving it! What a cutie pie!