With only two weeks left of school, the boys are going through a confusing time.
M has been very cuddly this past few days, and as lovely as it is to have a child that flings himself at me, and snuggles into me, even at times giving kisses, it is VERY out of character for him. It is usually a sign that something is bothering, and while he doesn’t know how to articulate whatever is going on in his head, he knows he can get comfort from me. I make sure I don’t make a big thing of it being strange that he wants cuddles, but I do play with him, telling him he is my baby, and he responds to this in a way that is very odd. He becomes quite child like – I know at 7 he is still a child, but he reverts to giving me googoo eyes, and withdrawing from speech. I think again these are signs that his brain is stressed and/or confused and to step backwards from the here and now is a coping mechanism. I am just pleased that he understands that when things are going tough, a Mummy cuddle can help, just like when you have a sore bit, a Mummy kiss is the best medicine.
I don’t suppose he will ever put into words what he is feeling, so it is up to us to put the clues together, and hope we are working in the best Miss Marple manner to get to the truth. He is talking a lot about the fact there will be no more homework this term, so it is obvious he has the countdown going on in his head.
Holidays are difficult for both boys, but D copes with them better, because he relies on himself a lot. By that I mean he is happy in his own company. M however, while he prefers to work alone, he likes to have other people around him, so going from the hubbub of the classroom to the relative quite of the home seems a little disturbing for him. The longer summer holidays are the easiest for him to cope with. The change of routine from not having to get up breakfasted, dressed and out the house, to being able to take your time in the morning, takes a while for him to adjust to. When they have just a week or two off he has just got used to the idea of no school before he has to start thinking about it again, but during the six weeks of summer, he has time to be confused, then time to accept the change before we have to start thinking again about preparing him for the return to the school routine.
To make the transition from school to holidays easier, we go away during the first week they have broken up. It means he has something fun to look forward to, rather than the ad hoc nature of being at home. We go to a caravan, as it’s the easiest thing for the boys. They can come and go, and there is so much going on, the week goes by far too quickly.
The rest of the holidays, I have various things planned, from days out, to Activity clubs the council and local church run. It means they have things to look forward to, and know that they will get to either meet up with friends from school, or have something exciting to recall later on.
Now, I’m not saying I organise every last-minute of the holidays, no, no, no. We have plenty of down time. If there weather is nice there are plenty of really nice parks in the area, one close to Hubbys work where we can meet him at lunchtime and have a picnic. There is also Castles, and Seaside, as well as the strawberry farm which is a VERY popular day out for the kids and for me!! For the wet days (which there usually are plenty), I have a bag with craft things in. The boys love messy painting, and they usually end up as the canvas themselves! There is also salt dough modelling, as well as baking. We keep busy!
Both boys have friends that call for them. D will play nicely with his, and loves nothing more than showing off to them, be it on the trampoline or hiding in the cubby under M’s bed! He has told me who he wants to see over the holidays, and so there are a couple of Mums I need to exchange numbers with to arrange things, everyone else is within a few doors away. M on the other hand isn’t so agreeable as D. Friendship is still very much on his terms, and he doesn’t understand the social niceties of being with other people. He has one very good girlfriend who lives a few doors up, who has called one him constantly over the years, and she has learned to read the signs when M is bored with her company. Others though aren’t so understanding and get quite frustrated when he doesn’t want, or can’t join in with their play. We therefore tend to have an open door policy at the house where kids come here rather than M goes out with them, as a few times I have found him wandering alone because the friends he has gone out with have just left him. I think I use all my texts each month sending messages saying to Mums their child is in our house – I don’t let anyone in if I don’t know their Mum as I wouldn’t want my boys going into a house where I don’t know the parents.
We have to start thinking about the return to school a couple of weeks before it happens, so as to allow M to get his head in the right place and not be angry with the idea by the time the first day of term comes around. We have to do it gently so as to not upset either boy too much. It usually starts with a trying on and sorting out uniforms, and then gradually gets into the likes of preparing bags.
We have a summer holiday calendar on the wall in the kitchen so they can see what we are doing and when, it also serves as a countdown to the return to school. We have to have something visual otherwise words would wash over the pair of them.
I love having my boys at home, but I do understand how stressful it is for both of them, so we make the most of the time together, but I also look forward to that first day of the new term!