The Ripple Effect…
Yesterday was a big day in the Glutarama household, Lewis went back to his mainstream school after 5 months of being at a pupil referral unit. It was a day we’d known was coming for some time but the reality of it all didn’t really hit me until this morning. Not just the fact that Lewis was going back to a school that, to begin with seemed completely unprepared and unable to care for him, but the ripple effect it would have on the family. This post may pee some people right off, I’m going to be brutally honest about what’s going on in my head, it will probably appear selfish in places but there is a ripple effect, there’s no escaping it….it’s what I do next to steady our little pond that counts, wish I knew what that looked like?
Back to school: The Big Splash!
So as mentioned, Lewis was in a PRU, there were about 12 kids in the whole unit and at times he was one of 3 in his class. At the unit he was on a 9:00-12:00 timetable, therefore his mainstream school have adopted a similar start and finish time to work around their current timetable; he’s in 8:30-11:00. To ease Lewis back into the busy hustle and bustle school life, it’s also been decided to have him in school Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He’ll be doing Maths, English and Science lessons with reward time and this will all take place in the SEN Room in the school, away from the other students with a 1-2-1 teaching assistant.
Lewis went in yesterday with relatively little issue. He was clearly nervous and got very little sleep the night before. I’ve designed a morning and evening routine poster to go on his door…before anyone judges, the bedtime time is significantly different to the 10, 11, 12 o’clock times that we’re used to these days so I’m being realistic, I’m adding the routines below just in case anyone else finds them useful and wished to print them off. Lewis loves pugs and he loves the colour orange, it’s very early days but he seems to ‘get’ the logic and uniformity so fingers crossed we can get this working on all points! Hind sight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? I wished I’d use lots of techniques that I use now, years ago…then maybe we’d all be in a better place. Lewis would have more stability, maybe never been excluded from school countless times. There’s no point in dwelling on what should have been though.
The first ripple: how I am effected
This is the selfish bit, it’s all about me! My week (after I had to give up work) consisted of;
Monday; shopping and washing day
Tuesday; Aquasize, coffee in Costa with a friend, baking in the afternoon
Wednesday; cleaning my Gran and Grandpa’s and stopping for lunch
Thursday; Aquasize, coffee in Costa with the same friend and blog writing in the afternoon
Friday; cleaning my little sisters house and coming home to do our housework and eventually sitting down and focusing on social media and promoting my blog.
Of course, there was a ribbon of hypo’s, hyper’s, calls from both school’s, ‘can you come fetch….’ interwoven into my weekly schedule. I think I recall at least three Costa trips that were cut short in the last few months and endless Diabetes/dietician/eye specialist hospital appointments, CAMHS appointments, therapy sessions, meetings, visits, I’m sure there’s more, it doesn’t seem enough!
My week will now consist of;
Monday; Dash to shops and then pick Lewis up at 11:00
Tuesday; No school for Lewis so no Aqua or Costa’s
Wednesday; Picking Lewis up at 11:00 so no time to drive to Gran and Grandpa’s
Thursday; No school for Lewis so no Aqua or Costa’s
Friday; Picking Lewis up at 11:00 so no time to drive to my little sisters and clean.
I feel as if I’m on house arrest, I’m torn, I don’t want to take Lewis out during school hours to the coffee shop or parks for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t feel it’s fair on Bethany who’s going to school everyday despite sometimes waking up feeling awful due to blood sugars or is struggling with her own anxieties and demons. Secondly, going out into public places can be very hit and miss with Lewis and I’ve lost the energy where that’s concerned at the moment.
Do you hate me yet? Are you thinking pull your socks up woman and get a grip? Do you want to shake me and say, think yourself lucky you selfish bitch there are people in far worse situations than yourself…and anyway, it’s your kids you should be feeling sorry for, not yourself, call yourself a mother?
….were you thinking that? or was that me?
The second ripple: How Bethany is affected
I’ve already touched on this. Beth is finding this all very difficult. Seeing her bother staying at home most days, listening to how I am around him, the allowances I make, the battles I choose not to fight due to being ‘battle weary’. Beth’s becoming my conscience, she tells me I’m letting things go, I’m not dealing with each issue fairly, she gets upset when I take a verbal beating from Lewis and tells Lewis off. She’s becoming a parent to Lewis and me! The girls 12! She’s got enough on her plate and no one should be adding to that.
Family outings are riddled with drama..and that’s before we’ve even left the house. Bethany is embarrassed by Lewis behaviour in public, what he wears, how he acts. So when we talk about going out now, she’d rather stay at home in her room. She feels she cannot watch what she wants on TV as Lewis hates anything she likes, her laugh irritates Lewis so she can’t even feel comfortable watching silly vines on YouTube and having a giggle.
The third ripple: How Brett is affected
Brett works his socks off every day, 6 days a week. His job is very stressful and coming home to bad news about events that happened during the course of the day is wearing. I try not to hit him with it as soon as he gets through the door, but sometimes its pretty obvious it’s been a bad day! I’m exhausted when Brett gets home and recently it’s not been until one or two days later that I’ll say ‘Oh! did I tell you about the letter I got’ or ‘I haven’t told you about the meeting yet’. Brett feels totally out of the loop, all the info he needs to know as a parent gets locked away in my mind until I’m ready to process it! The communication is dying. My communication is dying. Maybe that’s where the urge to write this blog post came from, the need to purge.
The forth ripple: How Lewis is affected
You might say that he caused the splash so why is he a ripple…he’s included because all these ripples have an impact on Lewis too. Anyway, he didn’t cause the splash,the system caused the splash, the lack of communication between professionals, the late or forgotten follow up appointments, the missing transition documents, the closing schools, the changes in staff, inadequate referrals, the system, the system, the system…
Lewis is affected because he’s lost a year of his education, he’s learnt to get used to being at home, he’s grown apart from friends, he’s not living a ‘normal’ boys life – God I’ve really f***ed things up.
I try to end my posts with something a bit more lighthearted, tears of a clown? It’s not there today…there’s nothing.
tomorrow’s another day…ask me how I am tomorrow, my answer? ‘I’m fine!‘
If this has struck a chord and you feel you need to talk to someone, PLEASE click this link #HeadsTogether
[post image courtesy of Elegant Themes]
And finally, for an up-to-date post on #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek by The Spoonie Mummy head over to Natalie’s post Mental Health Week 2020 – the importance of kindness