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You can not be serious! Anyone for tennis?

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Every term, flyers come home from school detailing class being run in the town as part of the Active Kids programme.      Every term, M looks at it, and says there is nothing he wants to do.     This term though it was different.

M wants so much to be part of what is going on at school, and yet he has such difficulty understanding the social nuances that are required to be part of groups.       Last year, he joined the Scottish dancing club which was run in the school hall for half an hour immediately after classes.   He loved the sessions, and would come home showing us what he had learned.   Then some of the older kids started getting annoyed with him because he didn’t always understand the instruction, and therefore appeared to be playing about, and so he wouldn’t go again.    It was so sad that as much as we tried to talk to him about asking if he was unsure or us saying we would talk to his teacher, he had made up his mind he just didn’t want to go back.            He joined Cubs, because he had seen a television programme about it and thought it looked really interesting, learning about nature and the wider world.   The reality was, there was a room full of scream kids and they were being spoken to about things, and not getting the chance to experience them.    He didn’t want to go back, and when asked why he said he didn’t want to spend time out of school with the boys who made life difficult at school – sad that being bullied isn’t something you can switch off once the teacher says it has been dealt with.

We had therefore been looking for something M might enjoy doing.    He loves his dancing at the weekend but there was nothing along those lines at any other time, and peer pressure had told him boys don’t do proper dance lessons!       I just think any possible situation that he can maybe learn to experience teamwork has to be a positive influence on him, but really he needed a team activity that he could do by himself!

This term, his class are doing a social community project, and basically it means the children are learning about what goes on in the town they live in.    When the note came home about it all, M was SO excited.     The class were going to the golf club, to have a go, they were doing a traffic safety day, they were going to the beach to look at the rocks, they were going to the pond to look for wildlife, and they were going to the tennis club to have a go.      M was talking about all the things they would be doing this term, but he was most interested in the idea of going to the tennis club.    I am not sure where that comes from as we aren’t big fans in the house so don’t watch it on the telly for him to have seen any of the big names.       The tennis is of course the last thing on the list of activities, so he has a long wait.

Then the note came home with the active kids programme.     One of them was tennis coaching.    He didn’t even give me time to read what he was handing me, but instead, just said he wanted to take tennis lessons.        It was a six-week block and it would take place in the school hall immediately after school on a Monday.        When he had calmed his excitement, we talked to him to make sure it was what he wanted to do, and he was desperate to take the lessons.    I therefore booked him in.

Monday was his first lesson.     His teacher was asked to remind him that he needed to go to the hall and not home after school, but still I waited for a call to ask why he hadn’t been picked up!     None came.

When he came out, he was asked if he had liked it, and he said “no”.    My heart sank, as I thought here we go again with something else that hasn’t lived up to his expectations.   Then he added, “I totally loved it, it was awesome!”         Hooray!        There was nobody else from his class going, but a couple of boys that are 2 years ahead of him, that often say hi to him are there, and so there is someone familiar.      He has already asked for a racquet, and has been told if he sticks with the classes and wants to continue, we will happily get him one.

It is such a relief to find something he wants to do that is extra curricular.     I hope he can stick with it, and find something to enjoy.   I remember when we were little my brother and I often went to the tennis courts in our local park for a knock about, and it was great fun.

So when the next John McEnroe steps onto centre court and  starts screaming at the umpire in total meltdown, it might just be my wee man!

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School Doctor.

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Anyone who has read anything I have written regarding doctors appointments, knows my loathing of their condescending attitude.    To be made to feel stupid or inferior just because you’re either unwell or hurting is just cruel.    As a life long fatty, my distrust of all things medical is mostly because of whatever the problem is, it can be cured by loosing weight, and often I have had to fight for treatment.     I therefore had got to the stage of not going to the doctor unless I really needed to and then, I will put it off as long as possible.    All this was until I found the doctor I use now, who takes the time to listen, and because of her I have had my tonsils out, and she is looking for cause rather than excuse about my anemia – something I have had problems with for over 30 years!

D has never had a strong constitution, and in his short life time has probably had more doses of antibiotics than I have had in my long one!    He has suffered terribly with his chest, and at one point they put him on an inhaler, which just resulted in him being rushed to hospital as he could barely get his breath!     A couple of years back, the GP referred him to the hospital to see if there was an underlying problem that was causing all of this, but the consultant just passed him off as a fat kid, and refered him to the dietitian.     He still gets the chest infections, but touching wood firmly, they haven’t been so bad this winter.

Having grown up being bullied because of my size, it brings me to tears just thinking of D having to go through what I went through and the mental scar that does effect your whole outlook on life.      I therefore get very up set when he is called names, or people look at him as if he is some how less, just because he is big.      Now, I am not saying he doesn’t like his food, because he most certainly does, and as a result, we do monitor what we put in front of him. If he has sweets, we give him sugar-free, if possible, and then he doesn’t feel left out.    I have always had low-fat everything, so it is just something that is the norm in this household, fat-free yoghurt, 1% milk, it’s just what the kids have grown up with.       I love to bake as you know, but I experiment with recipes, and adjust them so as to use sugar substitute rather than the real thing if at all possible.     Again, its meaning the kids are getting treats, but they aren’t downing a load of sugar and fat they don’t need.

When we had the letter through for D’s 6 monthly check up with the school doctor, my heart sank, as I knew she would focus on his weight.     At his last appointment with her, she mentioned it, but was more concerned with his mobility problems, and as a result of her referrals he had the operation on his knees, and had his appointment with O/T.    I did however just know that this time, there was none of that to go through and so there was only one thing left to focus on.

I had to pick D up early from school to get to the appointment, and of course I hadn’t taken a spare shirt for him, and he was black – mud and paint all over him!   I managed to get his face clean with wipes I keep in the car but the rest was just how a 7-year-old looks when he comes out of school!       I had timed it perfectly but the doctor was running almost half an hour late, and so D was getting restless.     He did his reading homework, and then starting getting irritable, but luckily we were then called in.

She talked through all that had happened to him since we last met, and then asked how the healthy eating was going!     I went though what he does and doesn’t eat while she looked at me with a patronising smirk.       I said we were waiting to hear about the Eat Well, Live Well scheme the local hospital run as we had been referred to it.     She then started on about how active he was – by this time, he had explored every inch of the room, and was starting to open drawers and cupboards.   I said that this was normal behaviour as sitting still was really difficult for him, so even when he was inactive, he was still on the go.    I explained about the hour plus he spends on the trampoline every night.     By this stage, she was beginning to lose the look and actually started to listen.     She asked about the dietician we had previously encountered, and was quite shocked when I said we were accused of falsifying his food diary, and that if they were true we should not be feeding him!         Her whole attitude seemed to change at this point, and she started asking questions about family history.      My Mum and my Uncle have thyroid problems and are diabetic respectively.    She asked about my weight – I saw red for a moment, but continued calmly.   I explained that because of my weight, it was the last thing I had wanted for my son to suffer the way I had as I was fat from a very young age, as he has been.      She then shocked me by saying that it sounds as if it might be genetic!      What?   A medical professional admitting that not all fat people can help it and it is just one of those things!       In my head, I was punching the air.     At last, someone was looking at the broader picture and not just making assumptions.     She did say that if his genes meant he was prone to carrying extra weight, it would mean looking at his diet and see if certain things effected him more than others and when we see the nutritionist, she will go through how to move forward on this.      I was elated that at last we were being taken seriously.   Ok, this revelation isn’t going to stop the bullies, but it means we can help him more.    I am now looking forward to seeing the nutritionist as no longer is the assumption being his only problem is he eats too much.

In the mean time, we will continue to eat as healthily as possible and hope we can move forward in a positive way.

The school fayre.

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There are few things in a year that the kids value above all else, Christmas and Birthdays are of course at the top of the list, but closely behind them is the social event of the school calendar – the school spring fayre!     It is so important for all the children that there is no keeping them from it.    Last year, M was poorly and couldn’t make it, and it really was an end of the world moment for him.

The fayre is always held at the beginning of May, and it is the major fundraiser for the year.     The money the PSA raise at events goes towards helping for the extras for the school, I suppose you might say the fun stuff rather than the nitty-gritty day-to-day life of the school.     While I often complain about the amount of notes that come home for the kids to take in money for this or that fundraiser, at the end of the day, it is for the kids to have a much happier experience of school, so ultimately worth it.

A couple of year back the fayre was on Hubbys birthday, and as he doesn’t really enjoy the event, he was loathed to go, but the boys insisted and he was bought a burger by the boys as his birthday treat!!!!

Because everyone connected to the school attends the event, as do many in the wider community, we have to pick our time carefully, so it isn’t too busy – not that there is ever a quiet time from the moment it opens to the moment it closes.      We were therefore at the school on Saturday in time for the opening ceremony at 10am.     Usually at a weekend, the boys are up usual time, but it can still be hard work getting them into clothes in time to leave the house to get to dancing at midday, but this week they were mythering to go out from about 8:30am!

The fayre is a mixture of local traders with their wares, as well as things like tombolas, and toy stalls, all of which the kids were encouraged to take things in for during the preceding week.    They actually had a brilliant way to get donations for the chocolate tombola, and that was to have a dress down day, and they didn’t ask for money, but something for the stall!   Needless to say the amount of chocolate at the stall was obscene!    But it was ok, as both boys won on two out of their three tickets!

M flitted around from room to room – many of the classroom are used for stalls, and didn’t really want to look at much.    I think even with the event being relatively quiet at this stage, for him the whole thing is wrong.    He got very flappy when we entered his classroom, and it wasn’t how it should be.     It must be a very stressful situation for him to have the familiar changed without him really comprehending it.   I am sure he will have inspected his classroom this morning to make sure it was back how it should be.

D on the other hand was very into it, and had his hand out for money at every stall we passed.      During the morning there were various television and film characters wandering around that the kids could have their pictures taken with for a donation.    D loves all this sort of thing, even though he is happy to tell you he knows they aren’t real and there is a person inside.    The first two characters were Curious Geroge, and Peppa pig.   He was delighted at this prospect, as George is a firm favourite in this household, and not just with the kids.    However, when he saw the Peppa Pig, he was petrified, as it was quite a disturbing costume, and so he didn’t go near George!       The Peppa costume just didn’t look quite right, and yet the George one was perfect!

Having learned in previous years to make sure I can carry everything home, I went armed with a shopping bag, but by the time they had visited the toy stall – more Star Wars and Angry Birds puzzles, and the home-bakes, it was overflowing!

I saw several Mums I hadn’t seen for ages and caught up with a lot of gossip, and new babies!      The weather was dodgy early in the morning, but it cleared up enough for the outside activities such as the displays by the local pipe band, and Jazzercise to take over the playground.

I had spent  a small fortune, but it was all in a good cause, and the boys were happy.      There is a huge amount of work put into an event like this by the organisers, and to be honest I don’t know how they do it, but it is a good job they do because without their hard work, the children would miss out on so many of the fun things, like the pantomime at Christmas, and the end of years trips.        Events like this bring together the community at the school which with the every growing role can sometimes be strained.    It is a great thing.