Our weekend and starting school countdown

We had a pretty good bank holiday weekend, stayed local, enjoyed the newly refurbished local splash park before it broke down on one of the hottest weekends of the year, grrr, typical ha! Had a lovely morning at our usual weekend morning playgroup, Thomas themed it as went to watch the new Thomas the Tank engine film at the cinema and also went to a Thomas Play Experience session, big layout track, motorised trains and lots of kids(big & small)!

Got a week left until my son starts school, yes, the 7 day countdown has begun, feeling nervous, more than my son most probably. It doesn’t help that all the childcare issues over the last few months haven’t built up our confidence. Feel the nursery washed their hands of him and the state of their arithmetic really meant 2+2=5, that is the best analogy I can come up with how they were drawn to their conclusions and made the relationship between us unteneable. The childminder who we once thought was promising seemed to be hinting our son was possessed like The Omen and coming up with unprofessional diagnosis’. The health visitor who we have been dealing with is absent minded, I think she was just hoping to get us off her books and never hear from us again, oh well, sorry to disappoint. What can I say about starting school? Trying to keep positive, finally got school shoes last weekend for him, don’t think we have anything left to get for the winter. We have read a few stories from the library about starting school to him and got some starting school exercise books that my mum or myself have worked with him a bit on. I am hoping for a miracle or answers once and for all, wish us luck we need it!

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The Bombshell

Firstly, I know I said in a previous blog I would try to work with the childminder, but oh well I couldn’t after the third whinge from her and the week before that she insensitively dropped the ‘autism’ bombshell on us.

What has alarmed me at first, my son said she was not around to witness the event, I thought maybe he is lying, but he is not. Although since then she has admitted each time there is an behavioural incident between the two 4 year old boys in her care she is not around. The third time I am starting to lose my patience, yes, I am aware that childminders cannot always be in the same room, but they are still suppose to be in earshot and have everything in sight to what is going on. It is obvious she doesn’t. We already said if my son continued to be disruptive in her care that we would review the contract and whether he should stay there. She decided she wanted his last day to be within her care to be the end of last week, and has been very awkward with refunding us, although we have most of the money back now.

I am in shock on the last day in her care she tells me my son was able to get hold of tent pegs and get near her baby’s head with them, yes, he could have hurt the baby’s head (1 year old child), but he could have hurt himself too. She seems to be completely oblivious to the problem that he shouldn’t have been able to get hold of them in the first place, this situation should not have arose and where was she not to notice he had got hold of these? She admits she shouted at my son that day. However, I also discover unexplained bruises on my son the next morning, and my OH’s mother is admitted back in hospital on Sunday fighting an infection/sepsis. So yes, it has been a shit week again, but have been trying to smile through it, only just.

I am left not knowing what to think about transitioning my son onto school, does he really need a referral, is something really wrong developmentally (as we have always been told no and the health visitor said she had no concerns over his social emotional development on her last visit in July) or have we just been unlucky with shit childcare? The referral is happening, but doesn’t look like anytime soon and because I have asked the childminder about how the bruises happened today she has threatened the LA (local authority) on us. Just unbelievable, but bring it on.

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Any normal parent would question unexplained bruises on their child?

My last thoughts for tonight!

I spent an hour of my life hearing bullshit tonight, I felt I was in some weird trance parallel universe state where I had to bite my tongue. Yes, some of the things my son has done he shouldn’t do, but if people think that children innately know what is right and what is wrong then my dear you are off your trolley. We are here to teach that, and if I pay someone to look after my child I expect them to do the same, give guidance with patience and understanding. To be honest, I expect better off of them as they have had additional training and I haven’t. If you can’t then maybe you are not cut out for the job. Honestly, so much substandard childcare out there. Perhaps, we are just very unlucky, but we are yet to meet our very own super nanny.

Moving on, trying to anyway

I have been putting off this blog for sometime, because well, was in the middle of resolving everything that went to pot!

I am furious with how my son’s old nursery have handled things over the last 3 months that he was there. After attending meetings and trying to cooperate with them, but after what they went around saying we could no longer work with them or wanted him in their care. They blew our world apart for a bit and our plans for my son’s care until he started school, I thought he was happy there and doing OK, but seems they have either maliciously made things up or not been filling us in on the whole picture. They completely left us in limbo and a shitty situation to transition my son onto school. However, we found a nearby childminder and after some heartbreaking drop offs and settling in he seems to be OK, and it is starting to get easier.

We had a little break away, which was nice, images below.

Now back at work, yet still to get a second opinion from the health visitor and whatever team she has checked with (she has told me the name, but still do not get their purpose) and finally have a follow up appointment arranged for next week with her, and have my son’s first school transition event tomorrow. So wish us luck with both, particularly with the health visitor as just want to be reassured everything is OK with my boy and have nothing to worry about. We have been continuing with going to story time at the library, our usual playgroup and preschool gymnastics’ sessions, and have to say he is really doing a lot better with the exercise sessions and getting involved with all parts of the session, so big leap forward for my son.

A letter never sent in the end

Some may wonder why I said on my FB page I was going to be a bit quieter for a while, well it was nothing really major, no loss of life, serious illness or anything. However, my life has been turned upside down for a bit as that dreaded time has come that my son has been no longer enjoying his time at nursery and got suspended. Yes, that’s right my not even 4 year old boy was almost kicked out, but we made the decision not to return him anyway.

This is the letter I almost wanted to send over the weekend to his nursery after the depression started to sink in. The nursery knew that the back up care I had was gone, so feel their recent actions was not just coincidental and accidentally timed to be simultaneously parallel with my mum’s holiday.

The letter never sent

I would like to stress how your knee jerk reaction has made others feel in my family.

A chronically ill woman who already suffers depression who is getting over two recent falls that had immobilised her, sobs her eyes out over her grandson, you are aware of this, my partner’s mother has been in rehabilitating in hospital since March to April.

Spoilt my mum’s holiday already before she has gone on it, a holiday with my older sister and her two boys that she doesn’t see very much as they live a good distance away from her. Now my family’s problems are going to be on her mind throughout her holiday that she should be enjoying and that she can’t support me. My mum lost her brother two years ago, a very dear uncle that my son did meet, but can’t remember and all of us lost my father two years ago, my son never got to see him, only went to the funeral when he was 9 months old. My father had cancer and was just diagnosed days after giving birth. You are not aware of the family bereavements, but you are aware of my mum’s holiday, told his keyworker and additional sessions were booked. This makes me think your actions were predetermined to cause provocation.

My other older sister who is also a survivor of child sexual abuse is very angry you could ever have thought of such a thing, you haven’t denied it either. She has offered me her support as your actions have start to make me feel unwell again and have sent me back into depression, I was possibly going to be weaned off my medication this summer and that is not going to happen now. This sister also has an autistic teenage daughter and is disgusted by your emails, and treatment, this is not support it is purely bullying tactics.

Seriously if you think something like that was happening, why have you been beating around the bush for so long? Why not just go straight to a child protection officer to start a thorough investigation?

Your recent actions make me suspicious of your motives, and are covering something up or just want my son out of the way as he is too much hard work and you are worried how it maybe perceived by not only other parents as the nursery manager said verbally to us, but by an Ofsted inspection, we are not paying you enough anymore and this is more a business matter masquerading as a welfare issue.

My son is a happy, healthy, active and sometimes mischievous boy as he is not even 4 yet, sometimes needs help and guidance with his social skills and his emotions, which he obviously has not been getting at your nursery nor the attention required to stop him from getting bored or disruptive. I believe he has been getting more attention for his bad behaviour than his good behaviour, and will continue to act up if this is the behaviour management tactic taken. I do not believe my son is a serious threat, and his behaviour can be managed. I think your suspension was an over reaction and your staff should not be wearing necklaces around small children anyway as part of your uniform/jewellery policy and for health & safety.

These issues are clearly not going to be resolved as we have repeatedly said we have lost faith and trust in your nursery’s ability to care for our son and manage behaviour not for just our son, but any child, as do not believe our son is the only one that acts up at your nursery. If we do not receive the unused credit owed to us refunded back to our various childcare voucher schemes by the 25th June 2017, including the deposit, I will be consulting legal advice that part of my company schemes can provide me with.

That was the letter above, but my OH persuaded me it wasn’t worth me sending it, we already had said enough and my family history or any other issues were none of their business. I gave the nursery permission to fill in the ASQ questionnaire that the health visitor gave us, our answers were radically different, but the bit that hurt me the most is their belief my son has an awareness of sexual activity, such an unfounded claim. Eventually we did get a reply from the nursery to agree to refund us on Monday, 5 days after the suspension. I have found replacement childcare, my son has had a trial session today and it seemed to go OK, so will keep my fingers crossed. I have no problems with putting labels on a child that needs extra support, but feel it is very damaging to put a label on a healthy child that does not need it (let alone even go down the road of medicating a child that does not need it) and that is what I feel the nursery has been trying to do, not to support him, but to justify their reasons for not being able to manage his behaviour. Also to divert attention that something untoward was going on, seriously if there was those kind of concerns going on then report it straight to the local child protection officer rather than drag it out. Anyway, I have just found this whole experience unbelievable and shocking.

Nursery woes, plus sunshine, ok rain, but happy rain

Sunday 21st May 2017

We had another meeting with my son’s nursery earlier this week, and the Community Nursery Nurse who we last saw over a year ago attended. We answered her questionnaire and it was concluded the answers we gave wouldn’t trigger a referral, and that the observations the health visitor made during a 2 hour assessment at his nursery had reported no concerns either. Relief, some would think, but nursery are still pushing for something and don’t know what they want us to do. According to the nursery he is not behind in his key milestones, he is meeting all of them and above for his gross motor skills, which is good as he was a bit behind a few years ago. The Community Nursery Nurse then suggested have they thought he maybe gifted? The nursery seemed dumbfounded by this suggestion. I am not sure he is a child prodigy or anything, but I think he is bright and has lots of potential if he can get engaged with something, but it does take work. I also think he has outgrown nursery, but what to do? I think he maybe experiencing a mixture of under-stimulation and overstimulation there, and needs more guidance with his social skills around children, he is our only and his cousins who he doesn’t see very often are much older than him, but I think the nursery are slow to spot the signs and intercept at times. We have no where else to go until he moves on to primary school.

On the plus side, we went to the weekend playgroup we have been regularly attending for the last two years, garden party, changed to an indoor party due to, well, our lovely British weather. They were celebrating 5 years of running playgroups and activities for the community, and have recently opened a community garden. My son had a lovely time and enjoyed himself, especially playing with his new friend he has recently made at playgroup. The two boys seems to be on the same wavelength and enjoy each other’s company very much.

Today we are making a second attempt of trying a gymnastics session, and hoping he gets involved a bit more with the warm up activities this time, but we will see.

April Showers

30th April 2017

This month has been literally scattered with them, not literally, but metaphorically speaking and sometimes the sun has shone through in intervals in between.

My son’s behaviour at nursery has taken a turn for the worse, one of my biggest fears has been him no longer enjoying going there, so much so the nursery has requested a health visitor to monitor his behaviour at nursery and this is due next week, have no idea what the outcome will be for that. Again at home not really a big concern, yes he has little tantrums from time to time, and wants his own way at times, but what kid doesn’t? The only thing left for us to achieve really in the immediate future is him not being scared of the dark and having the confidence to sleep on his own for a whole night. Anyway, fortunately he loved his last two days at nursery, although it was a concern that I walked in on one of the biggest meltdowns I have seen him do for a while, when I collected him from nursery at the beginning of the week, but we will see how things go.

On the up side we did get his first choice school in the end, relieved as this one has wrap around care that we can work around. However, had to make sacrifices and send my son to a local faith community school. We are not church goers so wanted to send him really to a secular school, but my OH and I need to work and we had to swap our school choices around at the last minute due to lack of childcare in the area. As it is a community school there was no need to fake going to church, but just accept that is the angle and ethos they are coming from. We felt optimistic after our first parents’ information evening at the school earlier this week, but regret asking to join their Facebook parent led group as had a mother from the group was on my case most of this weekend, with a barrage of messages. That has made me have bad feelings about where I am going to send my son to school now, but will try to get pass it. I really only hope to send my son there for the first year anyway as we are hoping to buy a house soon (an ungraspable dream most of the time, but fed up of renting) and realise we can’t in our current location, so it’s no big deal that he has to go to this school one hopes as the social committee doesn’t seem to like me or one member of it at least.

Only other highlights are MIL is back home, and OH’s support is needed less by her, fingers crossed can stay that way for a bit. He has also worked his first month in a permanent job role, and he hopes to look for other opportunities as soon as his probation period is finished.

We also tried a Little Kickers taster session for my boy a week ago, although the coaches were nice, and the class was well led, our son just wasn’t really into it, although enjoyed some aspects of it. Just not enough to purchase 6 more sessions. So, on the lookout for another exercise activity for my energetic nearly 4 year old boy.

Other photo highlights from the month: