I came home in the early hours and was so tired that I wanted to just go to bed. The house was in darkness but as soon as I opened the door, I heard Jamie's familiar squeals of delight. I went upstairs and found poor Jeff sat beside Jamie's bed, in the dark, listening to the radio on his mp3 player. Jamie was sat up and squealing in the dark, I put the light on and he was happy to see me.
I told Jeff to go to bed, Jamie had been hyper-active all night and had run Jeff ragged. I took Jamie to the toilet and I got my nightie on. Jamie was really happy to see me get ready for bed, I told him it was time for sleep now. We went into his room and I put the light out, got in beside him and told him the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. He fell asleep before I finished and I got to bed around 4am.
The next day Jeff said he thinks Jamie didn't like the fact that I wasn't there for his bedtime routine and he just wouldn't settle. I am afraid I had to leave him a lot more over the last week as Tamara stayed in hospital so I was dividing my time between trying to keep Jamie's routine as much as possible and visiting Tamara. It has been a stressful week.
Jamie was back at school on Monday and he really didn't want to get out of bed, he also didn't want to get on his bus. When we finally got him on the bus he refused to sit down and Jeff had to go on the bus to settle him in his seat. Although I needed him to go back to school, I felt guilty sending him as I know school is hard for him. It is too noisy and there are too many children for him to worry about. He doesn't like being told what to do and, of course, school is a place for rules and they are quite firm with him. I know he needs this but I feel so sorry for him having to endure the day at school. Sometimes he will come home quite upset and there will be little in his communication book to let me know what sort of a day he has had. I understand the teachers are very busy though and that they can't write everyone an essay about each child's day at school. However, this can make things harder when you have no explanation for why he is upset.
Also, I never get his book on a Wednesday as they have an activity day and are too busy to write in the books. This seems to be a day when he gets most upset because the routine and structure are not the same and he gets confused as I don't think he does the activities he maybe expects to do. Or, maybe he takes part him something he doesn't like. I have asked the school what he does on Wednesdays but they have not told me that he does anything specific. It could be trampolining, bowling or softplay but I just never know.
Sending Jamie to school at four years old was hard and it hasn't got any easier over the years. I admit that I spend most of the day worrying about him and my heart beats faster when his bus is due to bring him home as I don't know how his day has been or what sort of mood he will be in. I suppose we have had a few bad experiences that have moulded us into people who are scared of what is next.
When Jamie started primary school, he had black motions when he went to the toilet. They sank straight to the bottom of the toilet and I suspected he had been eating mud. If Jamie was left unsupervised he would find mud and eat it and I had made school aware of this from the start. I told them my concerns and was assured that his dark coloured poo was a result of drinking blackcurrant juice at school, of which he had a lot to drink. I knew it couldn't be blackcurrant juice as it had never happened before. I continued to make school aware of my concerns as Jamie started to have tummy pains and the poo was obviously sediment that was sinking to the bottom of the toilet. I was assured by school that he was supervised at lunch time and that it wasn't happening.
I started to work as a volunteer at Jamie's school so that I could spend more time there and build up better communication with the teachers. I accompanied another class on afternoon outings. One day, I went to school early and as it was lunch time, I ventured into the playground to say hello to Jamie. I found him, on his own, in a corner of the field, shovelling mud into his mouth. I was in total shock and I just picked him up and ran to the nearest teacher to complain. I was in floods of tears as I felt they thought I had been a picky mother and now I realised that I should have done something about it sooner. The teachers took Jamie off and they sat me with the deputy head who told me I should have contacted him about my concerns. I couldn't stop crying and they phoned Jeff. He wasn't happy at all. Heaven knows what could have been in the mud, or even if he had been allowed to do it on any outings, heaven forbid!
We took Jamie home and contacted education to tell them he was no longer attending the school. The very next day we had people from education at the door. They told us that the local authority would not pay for Jamie to attend a school in another education authority and we kept Jamie home for six weeks before we finally had it written into his statement that he had to have one to one at all lunchtimes and breaks. I was very reluctant but Jamie went back to the school after several meetings and assurance that it wouldn't happen again.
Having had Jamie home for so long, it became obvious it was too difficult to just keep him home all the time and I think it wasn't good for him and his development to spend all his time with me and Jeff. Jamie was given a wonderful lady called Freda to look after him on his breaks and it didn't happen again. I felt relations were strained with school after this and although I continued to be a volunteer, I think they didn't really want me in school but I am not a trouble causer, I was only looking out for my son's best interests and there's nothing wrong with that. I also really enjoyed spending time in other classes as the children were wonderful. We also ran a parents group on Tuesdays so that parents could save teachers time by making items the children needed for homework and such.
I enjoyed my time there but I left when Jamie did. I could probably write a book about things that didn't go right but I am sure I am not alone in that and I wont bore you with all my tales of woe today. When I first started work as a passenger assistant, I was working at Jamie's senior school and they put him on my bus! He played up more because I was there and so I moved to work with younger children at a different school. If I had stayed at Jamie's school, I could have built up better communication but it wasn't really practical. However, I wouldn't just sit back and ignore a problem anymore, they are better dealt with earlier rather then leaving it until things get too bad. Nothing has been as bad as 'mudgate' though.
My youngest daughter is 18 next week so we are hoping she is better by then, she is hoping to have a party but we haven't booked anywhere yet as she has been so ill. My brother is going to sort something out for her. You need your family at times like this. Even if we do manage to book somewhere or arrange to go out for a nice meal, Jeff will have to stay home and mind Jamie as it is too late to arrange any respite for Jamie.
I am trying to stay positive, it is all you can do.