The first week of the school year is now done and dusted. It has been a very long week.
D wasn’t happy until Thursday when his class finally did some maths work. While he is quite able with his reading and comprehension, it his maths that he loves. It almost made me laugh when he came home from school and announced it had been the best day so far. I asked why, expecting they had done something really fun and exciting, which I suppose for D it had been! He is a happy wee man to be back to a place he likes. He is a little concerned by the mix of people at his table, but I think that is because they are all boys and he has been used to sitting with a table of girls before. I am sure he will soon settle into routine as it is now.
M of course is a different story totally. I have said what happened on the first day of term. It was heart breaking, but I was so proud of him that he had broken the mental barrier of going to school. I was even more proud on the second day when he was up and dressed without being forced. I had a little fist pump inside my head as I thought he had achieved a lot by getting himself organised. It was of course a false sense of achievement. Thursday morning was even worse than it had been on Tuesday. It seemed to start well, as he had his breakfast no bother. He then needed to get dressed. The screaming and crying started. He begged and pleaded with me to not make him go. He refused to get dressed, curling himself into the smallest ball he could manage in the corner of the room, making it difficult for me to try to dress him. It is really difficult to keep yourself on an even keel in these circumstances. It would be so much easier to wrap your arms around him and promise to keep him safe from the outside world. Instead, you feel the worst parent in the world as your child is unable to control their breathing and incapable of doing the simplest of tasks. With his still begging me not to make him go to school, I finally got him dressed, and into shoes. All the while the tears were streaming down his face and he was shouting about how he couldn’t go “there”. I had to literally push him out of the front door. He continued screaming, not care or even notice who was seeing him. When he got towards the school he told me he would do anything rather than go any closer. I told him the only thing I needed him to do was get to school. Right outside the school gates is a lamp-post, and he wrapped his arms around it and continued his screaming. By this time he was in full view of many of his class – including some who have been known to bully him in the past, he just had no understanding that there were other people around. The first bell had not gone, so I just stood and waited, and when he seemed to loosen his grip, I coaxed him a few more steps. In the playground there are a few wood benches. One of these is behind the building his classroom is in, so I told him to sit there, as he was a little more isolated from peoples stares, but close enough I could see his line waiting to go in. The second bell went but his mood didn’t calm. One girl at the back of the line shouted over they were going in, which just sent M into full flap. I didn’t rush him, but managed to manoeuver towards the door. The teacher stuck her head out, but went back in – I think she decided to leave it to me as someone else offering him attention might make him worse. He stood on the outside of the door for what seemed an age, still crying and shouting. Eventually I got him over the threshold which goes straight into the cloakroom. I took his water bottle and pencil-case out of his bag, and literally pushed him into the classroom. I didn’t hang around to speak to his teacher, she had seen what was going on, so knew he wasn’t happy, and I didn’t want to extend his anxiety of seeing me still there. My eyes just sprang a leak walking home, as I felt so bad. I knew I had done the right thing getting him to school, but I am sure any parent would feel upset at seeing how broken-hearted their child is having the beg you not to make them do something. It really made me feel terrible. When he got home from school, he was much calmer, but needing alone time. D told me that M had played with him and his friends at lunchtime. It is so good to know that Ds friends aren’t just supportive to him, but also there for M too. At bedtime, M informed me he didn’t think he needed to go to school on Friday. I didn’t take the conversation too far as I didn’t want him to have a bad nights sleep on top of everything else. Surprisingly, Friday morning, he had to be told to get dressed, but he managed it without being forced. He packed his bag, and said he would walk with D and his friends. On Fridays at school, they have what is called Golden time, where they get to take something in to play with – those that misbehave during the week lose some of this time so it is pretty much a bribery tool for good behaviour. M decided he was taking his large cuddly Picacho, from Pokémon. I have always felt a little uneasy with M taking cuddly buds as it is another thing for the bullies to use against him, but as Pokémon is so huge again at the moment, I didn’t think it would be a problem. It was almost comforting to think M would have a friend to be with even if he was a bright yellow cushion. M came home from school, looking exhausted and saying he was pleased it was over. Picacho was filthy where he had apparently enjoyed playing outside!
For the weekend, we wont mention the “S-Word”, instead we will let him chill and unwind. He must be mentally exhaust after the emotional rollercoaster he been on this week. I know I feel emotionally washed out. It has been a horrible week seeing my young man hurting so much and not being able to take the pain away for him. For now we are not going to think about that and instead enjoy some family time.
It is really difficult to know how to best help him. We are still waiting for an appointment with Child and Family Mental health at the hospital. Hopefully that may have some advice we can take on board to guide him out of this tunnel of fear he is presently living in.