It’s once again been some time since I last wrote!!
That isn’t for the lack of George Browne material, but for a difficult couple of months for him, which in turn then means not much sleep or rest for me.
Following his hospital admission George really struggled to get back in to the swing of school. Well actually I think in his head after 8 weeks off he was retired from education.
George has faced many new changes in school, not only his classroom and teachers, but also, he now moves from lesson to lesson for each subject. He moved to the big playground, where is has left his big fish status he carried with him in the little playground, and become a tiddler.
Sitting with him at night while he cried saying he hates school, a school he once loved was heart breaking. I immediately went on a quest trying to solve the reasons of unhappiness. I wanted there to be a fixable cause, I would fix it and would save his day.
The trouble is his mind, like many other children with special needs doesn’t process like ours. Not only could he not tell me why he was sad, but he didn’t know why he suddenly felt anxious and unsettled. After spending months of talking to his teachers and searching I spoke to a mum at George’s school, her son also has downs syndrome and is a little older than George. I told her how angry, grumpy and challenging he had become. She explained about her own son’s anxiety and his feelings of lack of control. He needed thinking time, time to process what was being asked of him and more importantly to feel empowered to feeling in control.
It made me think about how I had dealt with George’s protest to not to go to school. At times, I think I fed in to anxiety, believing that he did have something to be fearful of. Other times I failed to validate his concerns by saying ‘of course you like school’ and ‘don’t be silly’.
I need to change perspective, I needed to allow George to feel he was going to school on his terms for the greater good for him. I already knew while at school he was happy and settled during the day, so the focus needed to be the thoughts of school and that initial separation from me.
On the way to school I started to talk about what we are going to do after school, or about dinner and getting him to choose what I was going to go out and buy. We planned everything either side of school.
When he then said, I don’t like school or that he didn’t want to go, I could validate that and say, ‘I know but after school we will do…’
We began going to the park more, watching a film, playing cricket, softplay, swimming. Anything that I knew would motivate him to see past the end of the school day.
I cooked his favourite dinners, and got the puddings he liked most, knowing that when I picked him up I could carry out the promises and distractions I had made that morning.
It wasn’t an overnight solution, and has taken some weeks of doing this before this week he took his own coat off and hung it up on his peg, he didn’t hide, and he say goodbye to me.
It shows if you listen carefully enough one person can say something that can change everything you though was right, in to something that is right.
Even with George feeling wobbly at school, he doesn’t fail to entertain at home.
I decided to take a little trip to see my family in Bournemouth with the kiddies. A brave move as I am significantly outnumbered by them, and they know this. I have this festival trolley that willow and George sit in as both of their compliance to walk is poor. After dragging them up cardiac hill to the beach, George jumps out like a gazelle, hot foots it across the sand stripping on all his clothes while running like a scene from Baywatch. David Hasselhoff, he is not!!! So, there I am trying to run after him with the trolley and the girls, collecting his clothes before he makes it to the sea. Well of course he got to the sea first, off he went for a swim. I have never seen him run back to me so quick!! Cross with the sea for being so cold he took his frustrations out on a little girl’s shoes and they found themselves having a little swim in the sea. Trying to get them back I could not along with my sister have looked more incompetent, who would know timing waves to dodge could be so difficult. Getting lovely and wet was fun but not nearly as much fun as the walk of shame with the now very wet shoes was to put them back from where George had found them.