Twice now my son has almost been an angel at story time at the local library, we have started to go as want to get him ready for school and know he finds sitting still at times a bit of an issue. However, pleasantly surprised and have certainly gone more smoothly than his exercise lessons. His old nursery tried to recently say this is one of his weaknesses, I don’t know maybe me being with him makes all the difference and I can’t hold his hand throughout school. Although have to say really pleased and proud of him. He enjoyed yesterday’s session so much that he has asked to join the library so he can take out books, so sweet.
What a last few weeks? Not just for me personally, but terrorist attacks too, the world has gone mad! Simultaneously this country seems focused on wanting to nuke the world too, the one thing we need a world leader to do is have a willingness to nuke everyone, I despair?
I mean my childcare woes seem trivial in comparison, but it shook my small world up and shocked by what just seemed to me as unreasonable spitefulness. We have found replacement childcare and hoping my little is one much happier there and can continue to progress. Waiting for the NHS to still get back to us and confirm they have no worries or concerns about my son, and he is ready to start school in September.
This weekend we tried our first story time at the local library and have to say I was impressed with my son in the end as it was his first time in a library, he sat and listened, and was very quiet. To be honest I think the volunteer would have appreciated a bit more feedback and interaction, but it was only a small group and it was only our first time attending. However, nothing like the nursery was trying to tell me he was at these kind of sessions, admittedly he may behave better for me. So, two things we are going to continue to persevere with is his preschool gymnastics class and story time at the library. We have also got more puzzles and few simple games like picture dominoes and memory games to work on his concentration. Trying out magnesium flakes in his bath a couple times of week in order to help relax him a bit more, not sure it will make any difference, but suppose to be good for skin conditions and he does have mild eczema anyway, also might try it out myself as apparently good for muscle stiffness, yep feeling my age!
So starting to feel positive, things we need to sort out are finances for childcare (refunds and new payment, just another headache I will be glad is out of the way and done with) and toy organisation, never ending, got rid of a few bits about a month back and now feeling overwhelmed by toys once again ha! Feeling happy about our son’s new garden corner, but got to deal with those pesky slugs who are chomping on my new plants this week!
The one thing I wasn’t anticipating was changing my son’s childcare so near to starting school and was hoping to only deal with one change, rather than two, but hey life is always ready to throw a few curveballs your way!
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.
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.
Our son had us on tenterhooks today as we tried another preschool exercise class, after weighing up that the Little Kickers’ one just wasn’t quite right for him. My lo has so much energy that needs to be channelled in a more structured way. However, he is going through a phase of not wanting to go to new places again. After the last class I decided to ask my son well what kind of thing would you like to do, and he said jumping, so racked my brain to find one that was suitable. Found a local gymnastics club that has a trampoline and lots of other equipment to try, and runs a weekend preschool class.
As usual after trying to build it up and get him to look forward to the class, on the day he has the grumps. Plays up in the morning before we get out of the house, then cheers up and then we get to the sports hall where the class is being held. He goes shy, clingy, and very grumpy again and doesn’t want to participate. At this stage it looks like a massive fail, I get him to sit on the mat eventually where they are warming up and I sit close by him, but again he is not really participating, but doing his own thing. Then the children split up into smaller groups with different coaches to do different activities. One of the coaches tells us a lot of kids may feel intimidated by the larger group and prefer the smaller group activities. She was right as he decided to join one and got involved, started to follow the coach’s guidance and instruction, eventually he had a go on the trampoline, the bit he was looking forward to. So in the end victory, so definitely one we will persevere with now as think it will be good for him, not that he will be a sports star, but just good for his development in general. So yes, whoop, whoop!
Dealing with my depressive fog and open mental wound
I had spent the last 5 months or so contracting in my new job and just been made permanent in the role when my uncle was taken ill from his nursing home. Unfortunately he had been bed bound with illnesses and falls throughout my pregnancy, I did get some opportunity to talk to him in a lucid state while I was pregnant with my son. However, towards the end of my last trimester his health was not getting any better despite my uncle trying to regain his independence, but he just couldn’t and never returned home. He had to be relocated to a nursing home after my son was born, I had a lot of my own health issues with my baby and myself going on too, and didn’t get to see that much of my uncle until my son was almost a year old. My mum took my son up to see my uncle when I was at work sometimes, but it was a long old trip for them both, but glad that my son may have brought some smiles to my uncle and distracted him from his pain. The first month into my new permanent role, my family had to make the decision to turn my uncle’s life support machine off and say their goodbyes. My father had already passed away as well 8 months previously.
One of the managers at the time caught me coming out of the toilets at work looking distressed, I just had enough of bad things happening in my life. I reluctantly accepted counselling, I knew I couldn’t go on as I was. I went once a week to see a counsellor, I always dreaded that I would remain silent and not have anything to say to the counsellor. However, that was far from the reality I had envisioned, the hour went quickly and I was always surprised how much I said and how on earth I got on to some subjects. I think in some ways it felt like that old saying ‘a weight had been lifted to get things off my chest’, but then sometimes I felt like I was going round in circles. I opened up about the repetitive molestation events I suffered with at the hands of a family member (somebody who fortunately passed away when I was 10 and is no longer in my life) when I was too young to know any boundaries, and ignorant to the fact that this responsible adult was taking advantage of me, that was the darkest and most difficult things for me to recall or even explain. I tried to talk about it objectively and distance myself to not get upset. To recall it is like being an observer or narrator in a film of my early life. I think the counsellor maybe saw a link with my treatment at work, all the life changes I have been through recently, new baby, new mum, family deaths, pushed out of work whether directly or indirectly and being made to sign a gagging order had reset a trauma trigger off within me. The new company I worked at had only signed me up for 6 sessions, the counsellor said I needed more and that I should see someone with more specialist training. My line manager offered that I could have more sessions, but I said I would get the specialist sessions that I needed from the NHS. I didn’t realise how bad I would feel after the counselling had ended, I just had dark thoughts, felt on edge and didn’t want to be alone near railways, especially difficult seeing as my commute to work involves that form of travel.
I couldn’t go on any longer like this and saw my own GP, who immediately prescribed me anti depressants. I was apprehensive about going on them, worried that I would become some zapped out zombie, but I just gradually became calmer and felt I was getting back to being me again. Of course, I am far from a perfect human being, and have relapses from time to time, underground lines and certain stations still make feel nervous at times and I can feel my heart racing, and I had to rely on coping mechanisms to get through it. Sometimes I probably feel stressed out by situations that others may find trivial. I should go back to talking therapy to develop better coping mechanisms, but at the moment it’s just not something I wish to do or have time for, and one day I will, especially if I feel as bad as I did when I first went to see the doctor on the day I was prescribed anti-depressants.
The doctor has talked about weaning me off my meds this summer as I have been feeling good for a while, but don’t think it will happen. Too much stress going on with my son’s behaviour, well nursery reports, starting school and now with a person I never met going too far with personal animosity. Still will try to stay strong, anti-depressants are not a sign of weakness, but taking good care of your well being like you would for any other part of your body.