New Year, New School, New Nursery and New Dancing Shoes!

It has been a while since my last post as I just haven’t had the time to post and when I HAVE had any time, I have been so tired ( pretty sure it is due to the arthritis- the exhaustion is hard to describe. Thank goodness J is now sleeping well on Melatonin or I hate to think of the state I would be in!) But today is a big day. Both my children are in school (J) and nursery (M) and I have a couple of hours of ‘ me’ time. I must admit I feel a little lost. I SHOULD be completing an order ( I work from home- craft business) or vacuuming or tidying or doing the 1001 things that need doing…. but as this is my first lot of ‘ me’ time, I thought I should celebrate and write a post. ( It will take my mind of my little ones and clock watching too- I miss them so much.)

Christmas was difficult on occasion.. J was totally overwhelmed often and he employed his own coping mechanisms that helped him out alot- the first was obsessively holding onto and reading his Christmas cards,regularly.The other was having a regular game of Wii Mario Kart- he adores this and can talk about it quite obsessively and we have had to put some level of ‘ control’ in ( e.g. Not before breakfast, not on a school night etc or he would be lost in his own little Mario world and hard to ‘ bring back ‘ to us. ) Yet another was regressing and behaving like a baby- crawling, baby talk. Really difficult to see how much he was struggling with social gatherings- thank goodness we only have a small family. We had a few meltdowns and a few trashed rooms, but we also worked together on visual timetables for his bedroom wall to help him cope with the lack of routine and this undoubtedly helped.

New Year’s Day 2011 is a day I will never forget. I know I tweeted this so sorry for repeating myself but it is such a ‘biggie’ it has to be mentioned again. Just before getting in the bath, J said ,’ I love spending time with Mummy because I love Mummy.’ And then he stroked my hair and put his arms around me.I was absolutely astounded. J has never said he loves me and it was so unexpected and so beautiful. I cried and tried to stop asap in fear he may never mention it again as he thought he had upset me. J may never say this again or it may be weeks, months or even years but it will be a moment I will treasure always. I feel like it was the most positive start to a New Year I could ever wish for.

January 4th was a big day for J. too. He started a new school. With my utter exasperation, disappointment and downright anger with his last school and the fact that J. was clearly unhappy there,the fact that the distance had become more of an issue since my arthritis had been diagnosed, it was clearly time to find a new school.. ( meltdowns regularly before and after school and weekends aswell as avoiding like he was terrified of certain children.. I know he doesn’t interact well, but this was clearly a fear. In one of his meltdowns over Christmas J. started to nip and pinch- something he has never done. Everytime a new behaviour appears , it has always been traced back to someone doing it to him first. So I am convinced other children had been doing this to him- this could explain the fear and some of the unhappiness.) So he started last week, doing just mornings. I don’t want to tempt fate but it has been a really positive start. His teachers are lovely and keen to really get to know J, They make a real fuss of him on arrival and when leaving and he feels wanted and special like all kids want to feel. ( His last teachers didn’t bother to even say good morning to him….. no help for a child with a social communication disorder.) They have experience of working with ASD’s ( there is another child in J’s class currently awaiting assessment for autism…. so it is nice for both boys ( and their mums!) to have an understanding other in school and at at the school gate.) and it really shows. Apart from a slight bit of anxiety in his face on his first morning, J seems content. Very content. No meltdowns, no clinging to legs, no ‘ rabbit caught in headlight’ expressions. He even ran into his classroom this morning and forgot to give his mum and little sister a kiss he was so keen! His teachers are asking appropriate questions and they are utterly astounded by J’s reading ability and are carrying out an assessment today to make sure they are ‘ meeting his needs’ ( wow- first time that has been said to me!) with regards to his reading and language abilities. His teacher was shocked when I said what stage ORT book he was on and that he could read more complex texts but his last school has kept him on these to check his comprehension ( to be honest if ti hadn’t been for me he would have still been on stage 1, bored silly, and the reason he was kept on level 4 seemed to be more to do with the fact that accessing the higher level books was too much effort for the teachers. Sorry if that sounds harsh but in J’s part of his last school, the highest book level they had was 4 so a level 5 would require his teachers to walk to another cupboard in a different part of the school and this was clearly too much effort. Despite the fact, they had agreed for him to pick his own books in their own library for his additional needs plan… it never happened. Grrr!)

Anyway, when I went to pick him up on Friday, the school secretary was falling over herself to talk to me, saying what an amazing little boy I had. His teacher had been having palpitations apparently as she could find a word J couldn’t read and had taken him into the office where he had read ‘ administrative’ and ‘ frightened’ and ‘ documentation’ to name a few words. Hence, she had asked if it was alright if she assessed his reading today. So it seems this school is really willing to see J as an individual and work to meet his needs. His head teacher has set up a 6 week timetable for J, gradually increasing his time at school with the aim of him being full time after half term.She pointed out that despite J’s advanced language and PC skills his numeracy is average ( he seems to have inherited my number skills rather than his daddy’s- who is a number whizz. ) so they want to make sure he is keeping on top with his numeracy and as these lessons are in an afternoon, they are keen to get him in afternoons asap. I totally agree. But they are also aware that is it all seems too much for J , he can revert to an earlier finish for a while. It is a strange experience to be almost totally relaxed whilst my son is at school. I am normally so worried for him and it is a lovely feeling.:)

Today little M started nursery ,just one full day a week, to get her used to being apart from Mummy for that length of time , yet freeing up the rest of the week for us to have some real quality time together. She looked so grown up with her Noddy backpack and Hello Kitty lunch bag ( all her own choice!) I held it together until she turned round and unprompted gave me a kiss and wandered to her new friends without so much as backward glance and then the tears came! Silly old Mummy as J would say:)

Another first for little M is dance classes every Saturday. She is always dancing, the minute she even hears music in a shop she is dancing away. Her Nanna bought her a ballet dvd and her first ballet shoes for Christmas and there has been no stopping her so classes were arranged. Her Nanna was a ballerina in her younger years ( accepted by Royal Ballet but chose to go into medicine instead!) Everyone thinks their child is smart ( just like I have said countless times with regards to J’s reading ability, but with no frame of reference it is hard to know if it is ‘ just’ motherly pride or something more than that…. By the way, Motherly pride is more than enough for me,.I will never be a ‘ pushy’ Mum, but I will always be the proudest:)) Anyway, at 3 years old, my daughter, the youngest and smallest in her class, picked up routines with ease and grinned and grinned and ballet danced and tapped her way to huge admiration from her teacher and to more tears from a very overcome but proud mummy! I think she may have inherited a real gift from her Nanna and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Little M has started to stammer ( just like her daddy did when he was young) and it just starting to affect her confidence in her speech. Dancing doesn’t require her to speak and it is so lovely seeing her sense of freedom and unbridled bliss when she dances. Needless to say, Mummy’s bank account is now a little worse for wear now new ballet and tap shoes etc have been bought ( the tap shoes are the smallest available… they are like little dolly shoes!)

I don’t want to tempt fate, but I feel 2012 is going to be a good year:)


N.B. the title of this blog comes from my son’s very literal understanding of ‘ magic carpet ride’ ….. he believes this to be a ‘car pit’ ( as in ‘ sand pit’) and demonstrates this with a plastic lid and toy car. The magic comes in when the toy car is covered with the lid and it disappears!