Today is the day of the end of term school disco. It is one of the most important days in the term for many of the children.
There had been talk about the disco for about a week, but with no note home, we were not sure when it was. Other parents seemed to have had notification, and we managed to establish when it was. The school is trying to go paperless, so many notes and newsletters come by email or text, but others are still paper copy that come home in the bags. When there are more than one sibling in the school, only one of them gets the hard copy note, and I think this is where a lot of the confusion comes in with receiving them. It’s not fair on the teachers to have to remember who has brothers and sisters. The sooner all notes come home electronically the easier it will be to make sure I see them, especially as the boys get older and they wont want me rummaging in their bags every day!
But I digress.
D is VERY excited about the disco. Like a few of his friends he wants to dress in fancy dress, as they did at the Halloween one, but this is the end of year, so it is looking smart and handsome! Being an odd shape, we have real difficulty getting clothes to fit D. He wears things many sizes too big for his age to ensure they are comfortable (whoever decided children’s clothes should be sized by age must have been odd, as when you look at the class lines there are children of all height, shapes, and sizes. They aren’t all carbon copies!). Smart shirts though is one thing we havent managed to find him ones that he feels happy to wear. If they fit his girth they are down to his knees, which on many things is easy to alter, but on a smart shirt, doesn’t look right. He therefore decided he would be wearing a smart rugby shirt and joggers – he lives in joggers as again they are comfortable for him to wear, and larger sizes can just have a chunk chopped off the bottom of the leg! He said he would put on his tidy shoes, until I reminded him he would be dancing and so soon changed his mind to trainers! I think as long as he is comfortable, then he is in the right clothes for the occasion. He will probably spend the evening just running around with his friend anyway! Before he left for school this morning, he put his outfit for this evening onto his bed so it was ready! Now that is a sign of a boy excited but nervous.
M on the other hand has decided he doesn’t want to go. He has been to every other one of his school discos but this time it is different. The first one he went to, I was nervous about how he would react to the noise and the lights, but one of the Mums helping out kept an eye on him, and said he was fine. I have therefore had no problem with dropping him off at every other one he has had. To start with I thought him not wanted to go was just his way of saying until he sees the note he doesn’t believe it’s happening, but he said his teacher was talking about, so he knew when it was. I eventually managed to get him to tell me what was going on in his head. He said he doesn’t want to be alone. A very bizarre statement when he would be in a room full of his peers. I didn’t push too hard, as there is no quicker way to get him slamming his barriers down than to push him for information. Over the last few days we have mentioned it on and off, and he tried to explain that he doesn’t like it when there is so much going on and he is by himself. M has always had problems with understanding personal relationships. His idea of friendship is if he knows someones name they are automatically his friend which is a very dangerous premise in my opinion. He tends to latch onto people which often leads to them becoming irritated with him and him loosing control of the situation when they tell him to leave them. It is actually something we (us, his parents, and his teacher) are going to be working to help him better understand over the coming months. I believe if we can help him to learn about his and other people’s personal space it will help him to interact better as those around him wont be getting so annoyed with him. But in the mean time, he his suffering from that most horrible of feelings of being alone in a crowded room. I really feel for him, as I know it is something I suffer, and it is quite scary where you can see and hear all that is going on around you but it is kind of muffled and out of focus. It is as if there is a force field around you repelling things, it is sensory overload. I am sad that M doesn’t want to partake in this social event at school, but I am also very proud of him that he knows it is a situation that makes him feel uncomfortable and so chooses to avoid it. a sign he is growing up that he recognises this and then vocalise it. Maybe as we help him to understand his feelings and how to use them, then he will learn coping mechanisms for dealing with situations he might feel awkward in. We wont push him, but we will encourage him as it is important for his development that he gets to experience as many regular school activities as possible. Maybe when he get home this afternoon, some of his class mates will have convinced him he does want to go, and if they have then I will be happy he’s going, but I will not force him to feel uncomfortable.