Life on the Frontline – Week 16

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 A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

I had three whole hours to myself on Monday morning. Small made it into school for the morning register and I breathed a long sigh of relief, one to have the space in my life and two that we had managed to get him there.

He was reluctant; the enormity of this week likes a mountain summit to be ascended, its peak within the clouds, obscured from view. The anxiety buzzed around his being, irritating and unsettling him. But he had still gone.

When I collected him at lunch time his report showed a mixed bag of a morning, some compliance and some refusal, combined with a touch of cheek.  His irritability still sitting uncomfortably between us as he scowled and refused to answer questions. In his bag a homework book was also stashed. The afternoon at the support centre also produced  mixed result.

Tuesday, he again went but the results were mixed. He was quite obviously finding this very hard to deal with. That evening I made the decision that the homework being sent was not going to be completed this week. As his mum, I could see the toll the days were having on him and recognised that his home time needed to be his down time. I explained this to Small, so he knew that I could see what was going on for him and sent a message in the communication book to explain this to his teacher.

A returning message came home at the end of Wednesday. I was asked to “not undermine the work they were doing in school by discussing my thoughts with Small”

It transpired that as I had not done the spellings homework with Small, he was asked to complete them in school. Small being Small, and never missing an opportunity to get out of doing his work, refused, on the grounds that his mum had told him he didn’t need to do this homework.

My blood boiled at the realisation that firstly, school had not identified this as Small  manipulating a situation to his advantage, and therefore they showed again their lack of understanding of his behaviour. Secondly that there understanding of me is that I would do such a thing as blatantly undermine them  and thirdly how dare they tell me what I can and cannot discuss with my child who has massive trust issues.

A slightly heated phone call to school, where I was asked to trust that their choices for Small were right and I asked that maybe they should have consulted with me over the homework as I could have told them it was too soon. I was again told that I needed to trust that they could make the right choices to prepare Small for the high school and I suggested that the bar they had set this week was too high and they were therefore setting him up to fail.

I came away feeling that we hadn’t exactly agreed but we had listened to each other.

By the end of Wednesday Small’s anxiety was well and truly spiralling and he hid behind the sofa, unable to face the conversation we need to have about school. When he did come out he covered his face with a blanket as I gently spoke to him, trying to get him to tell me how things had been, what he felt. The only words he could muster were,

“I can’t do it, I can’t do it, it’s impossible” as he nibbled away at his almost none existent nails. I need nothing more to know that his fears around school had been ramped right up again.

So on Thursday when he refused to go, I really wasn’t surprised. After a lot of debate and a little bit of bribery we managed to get him there for 10.30am. He came away with an excellent report for the rest of the day and again he managed to have a faultless day on Friday.

So the return to full days for Small has not revealed to us weather he can or can’t cope in mainstream education. I suppose it would have been too much to expect that we would have a clear idea so soon but I can honestly say I still feel none the wiser.

In Other News

Tall has returned home saying he’s had bad days. However, after exploring what this means, I would say they are far from bad. He has, on a couple of occasions, used his exit card to leave class. To me this shows a great level of emotional maturity and understanding of his need to regulate himself. He has, in fact, made me very proud this week.

A long time was spent, this week, with the inclusion officer, making further suggestions for content in Small’s EHC. I feel that now, if all is included, the plan will actually represent the complex little boy and how best to support him.

A nice family outing to the pub, this weekend, was cut short and turned on his head when Small got annoyed and louley suggest Dad throw himself down a “s**ting grid”. I love how creative his language can sometimes be.

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