It has been far too long since I blogged. This is partly because I didn’t have much to blog about, time and wanting to concentrate on what was happening right now and not reflect back.
So as I start to write this it is a cold and very wet bank holiday. I wanted to look back on the summer that we have had. Spud left primary school in July, I knew it was going to be emotional, upsetting, sad but also marking a huge step.
Spud started at his primary school midway through year 2. He settled in very quickly and made friends that have been there through thick and thin since. School has been the best and worst times for us. Both spud and me have made amazing friends who seem to really understand both of us. These friends are not going to the same senior school that spud is going to and I am feeling the loss of the chat at the school gates already. Both the mums I am friends with have younger children so I have said I will meet them once a week at the school to have a catch up. I have been reassuring spud that his friends will still be there and he will see them at football but he will also make new friends in his new school. I hope this will be true.
During the last school term I met with Spuds new school and various staff about 8 times, arranged a detailed transition programme and laid out everything to the year head and his form tutor. They appear to understand and have made the right noises, all we can do is hope and wait. I have given them very visual images of attachment disorder, training materials, answered questions and been very honest. He has enjoyed the 6 weekly afternoons at the new school, the transition day he loved and even managed to eat lunch and the welcome disco the school organised. So far he has had a very positive experience at the new school. I brought spuds new school uniform weeks ago and it has been hanging in spuds bedroom together with his school bag already packed.
When Spud started at the primary school I was a brand new mum. He had been a child for 7.5 years but I had only been a mum for 2 weeks. Spud had already been to 2 primary schools while I had never been a school mum. I lacked confidence, understanding, knowledge and a voice. This time is very very different. I have thick skin, broad shoulders and a believe that I do know my son and what he needs. I have made it clear to the school what I expect, how they can support spud and I will ensure it happens.
So onto this summer. I decided that spud needed to be close to me this summer in the hope I could build up our attachment as much as possible before starting senior school. I felt that the more I could “top up” his attachment, love and bond, the better it would be come September. One way that works with Spud is camping. We have done lots of camping this summer, being outside, back to nature, close to each other and having fun have all helped. We have spent most of the camping trips with other adopters which have helped to keep me going over the last 6.5 weeks. We have had a very wet summer with every camping trip seeing lots of rain but in a way, it has added to the experience. We have had camp fires, marshmallow toasting, swimming, cooking outside, bike riding, scooting, den building, sea swimming and sand play to name a few. We have also laughed and danced to music in the car, shared jokes and just hung out together. It has been very hard work and I am so tired but I really think it has made such a difference. Spud has been much more tactile and often comes to me for a hug. We have had much more eye contact and he has said several times how much he loves me and I believe him. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly has not been a bed of roses, the famous five summer holiday or plain sailing but it has been good.
Since this weekend spud has not left the house. He has stayed in his pj’s, watched TV, played board games and been on his Xbox. This is his way of getting ready for school,in a few days time. Yesterday I managed to convince him to try on his whole school uniform. He looked very smart but so little and vulnerable. It made me very emotional, not that I showed him. His behaviour has become more manic, hyper and regression play has come back. He can’t sit still, bedtimes are back to being a nightmare, food obsessions are back and he will not go for a shower without me upstairs with him. Tonight we start the “getting back into routine for school later this week.”
It is hard to know how much to remind spud that school starts back in a couple of days time. I feel that he needs time to process the return to school but not too much time to get very worried about it. The next couple of days we are at home and keeping everything very calm and simple. I doubt that Spud will leave the house before Thursday when he starts at senior school, I know the behaviours are going to escalate and I know I have to manage my emotions that my little boy is growing up.
Like 1000’s of other parents, all I can do is prepare and be there for spud in the coming days, weeks and months and remember how proud I am of him.