Today has been the infamous swimming lesson Wednesday; it was whilst I was sat watching George mess about yet again that I thought if he would ever learn to swim. If he would ever get better at this?
George has swimming lessons at school and is confident in the water. However let us not confuse confidence with ability!! It is misguided confidence, closer actually to reckless. He began having swimming lessons with Peony due to this reckless behaviour poolside while watching Peony swim.
I lost count of the times that he either entered the pool fully clothed, requiring me to go in after him equally as clothed. Or he would wait until he was in the shower with Peony at the end of her lesson, waiting to put his pyjamas on and enter the pool completely naked. Oh and the time he slipped my hand and ran around the other side of the pool, needing me to run after him. It’s hard to run on a wet poolside as an adult as you are filled with the caution that its slippery and falling over will break a bone. This made George much quicker poolside than I!!
Based on these frankly traumatising events I decided to enquire in to lessons for him, thinking he would not be my problem pool side; so he started with Peony and the lovely (albeit a little scary) teacher.
George is doing ok in his lessons; doing well when he listens! It’s hard for him to listen from being sat at the bottom of the pool. His lesson also depends on his level of compliance, how much horrid henry he has watched (as he turns in to this character at will) and how distracted he is.
So as I said I was sat watching George with the buoyancy of a rock, thinking will this get better?
This made me reflect on the past few years and think about the areas that we have battled with George thinking things would never improve and actually they do.
As soon as George grew out of all in one baby sleep suits and had to wear pyjamas, he learnt a new trick of putting his hands in his dirty nappy. Morning after morning we would dread going in to his room, as he would be covered head to toe. Always on the look out to out smart George I began to think of options of night time wear. We tried onesies that were footed, every night I would sew a few stitches in the top of the zip and cut him out every morning. On thinking that I’d cracked it I hadn’t factored in summer!! So I used all in one swimsuits that did up at the back, and put tights on under it. This not only stopped him touching the contents of his nappy but also stopped his next trick of climbing out of his cot.
The trouble with George is just when I think I am one step ahead he outsmarts me. This is not something I generally tell people!! Even in tights, or footed onesies he learnt to climb the sides of his cot, over he would go. It was this point that I used a child’s sleeping bag, like the grow bags you would put a baby in. once again my needle and thread came out and each night I would sew his zip on the sleeping bag. Now feeling good in my efforts, he couldn’t get in to his nappy and he couldn’t swing his leg over the side of this cot.
Well this lasted maybe a month before he fathomed out a way to get over those cot sides!!!! Next was a huge massive adult looking cot! Full size single bed, 5-foot sides, and a swing open lockable door. Stood next to it I felt a member of the borrowers!! Carrying that up 2 flights of stairs almost killed us but once again our boy was safe at night.
Again all these efforts were in vain!!!!!! Over the side he would climb, even with the onesie, even with the sleeping bag, even polishing the inside wooden slats to make them slippery.
You may wonder why all these things were needed, what would happen if George left his room?? At 2am one morning he got in to bed with me after finding the hidden back door keys, going outside to play in the garden, squashing the Wendy house. He likes to make breakfast; this is unusual in contents. He never uses a bowl, preferring to pour the milk on the side and floor, he uses all herbs and spices that he can find, pasta, eggs. To be honest what ever he can lay his hands on, he uses, and then he then eats it!!!!
One night George turned to me and said no while I locked his ‘cage’ door. We had always said the day he didn’t like that bed was the day I would take it down. That is what I did, I put his mattress on the floor, after constantly pulling his curtains down I velcro’d them to the wall. We had to lay with him to get him to sleep and he was like some insomniac child but he was out of the ‘cage’!! He struggled to sleep through the night and struggled to remain in his room. One point of shear desperation and having watched him climb over the stair gate on his door for the millionth time, I put a stair gate at the top of the doorframe too. I haven’t mentioned that I have already unscrewed his door one night at silly o’clock because he wouldn’t stop slamming it. So with his two stair gates holding him in his room just a mattress on the floor, he was safe! Well until he learnt how to open stair gates. It was at this point that each night our routine was, I would sew George in to his pyjamas, stick his curtains to the wall, and cable tie his stair gates closed, placing scissors at the top of the stairs to cut him out in the morning.
It was at this point that I honestly thought that this would not get better. I would be ‘locking’ my child in his room that only held a bed forever. Let us whizz forward to 2016; George is in his own room with a proper bed, not just a mattress that he used to use to barricade the door, he has furniture, curtains that are on a pole and his clothes in his room without him scattering them. He no longer stands naked at his bedroom window, pointing his willy out the small gap and weeing out of it. He has nice bedding, he would like a TV in his room and this is a request we will meet.
This to me gives me so much hope, that things do get better. In those dark days, where I begged a social worker to help me because I didn’t know how else to keep him safe, and me being told I was impinging his human rights, sleeping on the landing outside his bedroom door, I never thought I would be where we are today with him.things get better