The dark cloud had finally immersed our house this morning! I feel I should be playing some dum dum dahhh music in the background. This year there was no new bag, no new shoes, no new pencil case or pens. In fact the blazer became such a contentious issue; well quite frankly I just threw my arms up in the air and accepted defeat! Well not completely! Like most mums and most mums with children on the spectrum I try to be two steps sorry two feet ahead. I cope by having backups, backups that nobody else knows about, those secret little draws or hidey holes stacked with contingencies and a mind of solutions and resources. It fits in with my strategy and allows me that indulgence of taking things up to the wire - Meltdown Management! I laugh and tell people I live by the seat of my pants, which is partly true my time keeping is atrocious unless we have Mr and Master AUTYnary with me (where to start with that one it is a post in its self!). I rebel you see, not often it’s just the teenager in me!
So there I am early this morning washing out pencil shavings out of the bottom of old case, decantering last terms books from rucksack and frantically polishing up a well worn pair of school shoes in silence. Re-pressed the trousers, shirt and tie - check. Clothes in the right order - check. Shoes at the bottom of stairs - check. Blazer no more said about that - check. OK let's go.
I'm mindful about our 'Bob's anxiety, even more so this year because he has been so vocal in expressing it! His school have been really good supporting him. They have spent lots of time talking about social and emotional issues, helping him develop his own strategies to manage these aspects of his life in particular whilst at school and delving into the world of social interaction from which he will recoil. So I was confident if I made the call and spoke to the Learning Support team, between us we could set about lessening the impact with some discussion and reinforcing positive messages of support. Call - check.
So engrossed with the uniform debacle, forgot all about the fact that 'Bob' had missed the last two days of the summer term because he had an emergency visit to hospital. Now was this a factor in the anxiety? I mean we didn't fully complete the school term, didn't get to say those goodbyes and the reminders that come with closure of an academic year. SIX WEEKS ON? Surely not. I know my boy can hold onto 'botherings' but this one is going to be a record. The ability to be consumed by irritations, and produced hours and days later is a key skill he developed quite early on. One in which I usually see coming! Patterns of behaviour don't generally change plus I know my son! School, being fantastic again, have suggested they get his TA to have a chat with him and will try to discuss how going to hospital made him feel. I thought "Good Luck!" That old chestnut had been and gone, but there was the off chance he may share the experience! What they're likely to get is a grunt!
I try not to bellow up the stairs but for a split second I forget.
"C'mon lazy bones up you get, It's school time!" .....Ooops
There's clonking and banging, and shuffling of feet, then bang, bang, thud, bang, thud....he presents himself with a blanket wrapped round his head.
"Where's me breakfast?" I point in the direction of a breakfast bowl, glass of orange juice and medication carefully placed in a line. So things just never change and the order in which we receive our breakfast is one, the order in which we put our clothes on and the order in which we scrub up in the bathroom are the others.
Reassuringly I let 'Bob' know about my conversation with school, to which I get a grunt! I pass on the information about where he goes, what time and how the timetable will look today, I get a grunt! We manage to not pace the hall but I can see the anxiety is taking its toll, and what he really wants me to do is to get in the car and arrive half an hour before he needs to be.
We don't talk on the drive there. I pull up and 'Bob' grabs his bag, gets out and disappears in the sea of bobbing heads. His anxiety may have lifted slightly but mine has just increased. And did he have a good day...no idea he doesn't want to talk about I just get a grunt!