Tag Archives: motherhood

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.

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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.

Separation anxiety.

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The fear of not having to hand those that you rely on is terrifying. It is something I think most children go through to some degree or another – although watching the confidence of many children does make you wonder! I even think as adults, we are often put in situations where we need the fall net of familiar faces to help us perform some tasks.

Both my boys have suffered terrible separation anxiety and it has been handled as best we can – as usual we muddle through, make mistakes, learn from them and try to adapt the next time.

Before M started nursery, he had tried several groups to help him learn to develop bonds with other children – at this stage we just believed he was painfully shy as we hadn’t thought there may be something more to his behaviour. He lasted just two sessions at the 2’s group. He just wouldn’t let me go, and became so stressed at the thought of being there, that we just believed he wasn’t quiet ready. He was perfectly behaved at classes I stayed with him, but as soon as there was the slightest thought I might move away from him then he became uncontrollable. We explained all of this when he started nursery, as well as the fact we had begun the process of looking at his behaviour generally. It was agreed I would stay with him to begin with. After a couple of weeks, he unstuck himself from my side and would go and paint – a purely solitary task, but as soon as he was asked to go with other children he returned to me, almost hyper-ventilating. Eventually I started to leave the room when he went off, for longer and longer periods, but it was a good 6 months before he had bonded enough with one of the assistants there to allow me to leave him. The teacher was not convinced there was more to his behaviour than a paranoid mother who was trying to turn her son into a mummys boy!! We on the other hand knew there was something different about him and ignored her nastiness. I though had to drop him off and pick him up, as even when his Dad was available, changing the routine was just not acceptable in M’s mind. This behaviour continued throughout nursery, but a change of teacher, and a piece of paper with a diagnosis written on it meant his behaviour was no longer deemed my fault!

When he was due to start school, a lot of preparation was put in place to ease the transition for him, but he could not cope with full days without a break. This meant he came home every lunchtime for over 2 years. With the help of his teachers, they tried to get him to stay, and he even agreed on a couple of occasions, but the panic attack on the actual day meant we always decided it was in his – and everyone elses, best interests to bring him home for lunch. By the time he reached P3, we had him staying one day a week, and gradually have increased it so that now he is able to stay almost every day. He now only once in a while asks if he can come home for lunch.

In the house, M very much likes his own company, and will happily sit playing on the computer by himself for hours on end. This solitary time is punctuated with checking where everyone else is. If I dare to go and have a soak on a weekend afternoon, he will be in and out of the bathroom a dozen times just checking I’m still there!   I can’t go anywhere or do anything without him knowing what it is.

This year, with me going into hospital, was very stressful for M, and he had to learn very quickly to trust other people. A dear friend who we walk up to the school with every day, walked M home on many days, and once, he even agreed to go to her house after school. It was such an important moment in his development – many parents might think that’s no big deal but for him it was mega!

D on the other hand has never been so obviously clingy. He loves his cuddles, and will give hugs with no notice and seemingly no reason, which is lovely. However, because he takes the weight of the world on his shoulders, you often don’t see the tiny things that do bug him, it is only when you step back and look at the wider picture do things seem to fall into place. This morning was a great example of this, and in fact the reason I decided to talk about this today.

D loves learning, but finds school very stressful. He loves his teacher to bits which means once he is in there then he is ok, but the thought of going always has him getting upset. He will employ all types of delay tactic from refusing to get dressed, to sitting on the loo for half an hour. As we walk up the road to the school, his pace gets slower and slower, to the point that for the rest of us its painful. When we eventually get to his line, his head goes down, and most mornings he looks as if he could cry. By this stage of their second year at school, most parents have left their kids to line up and are away to the side chatting, but D has never let me do that, insisting I stand with him, and often leaning his head into me. If I have to sort M out in the playground, D can get very distressed, and has even been in tears when I had to go in to see M’s teacher one morning. He is always fine when he comes out of school, so I know for him the thought is worse than the deed.

This morning, I had to go to the hospital for a 9am appointment. It is only a 15 minute drive, so I was able to get the boys organised. M was fine when I explained he would be walking up the road with the usual crowd, but not me. D on the other hand became very panicked. He was glassy eyes, and holding really tight to me as I walked him to the bottom of the road to meet the others. I had to promise him a home lunch just to calm him enough to allow me to leave him. It is the first time he has had to go to school without either me or his Dad and he really wasn’t happy.

This behaviour made me think that his constantly telling us how much he dislikes going to school could actually be his separation anxiety manifesting itself in a way he can show it. It is such a difficult one to handle as I can’t be standing with him giving him a kiss as he goes into secondary school, but he has to be ready to let me step back. M got there, and I am sure D will eventually. It just makes you as a parent realise that things aren’t always what they might appear on the surface and often there is a simple explanation that can be addressed.