Monday Mornings are a pain

The farm fields are now ploughed. The Autumn School Term has started. So the early alarm calls have heralded even less sleep. Another week of school at home. I had forgotten the frustrations. Hawklad hanging around for stuff to do. The time lost searching for files and waiting for teachers to respond to queries. Trying to find the right colour pen and then one that actually works. Trying to filter out areas that might spike Hawklad’s anxieties. Then watching the online system and Microsoft Teams crash.

Oh how have we missed this….

I needed to de-stress. So it’s time for MINDFULNESS. Somedays it’s works, other days not so. Today’s free mediation video was different. Lie down on the floor. Relax the body. Clear the mind. Slow the breathing down. So far so good. But then the slightly intimidating Hannibal Lector voice tells me to focus on my right foot – how does it feel. Then my right leg. Then my left leg. How is my abdomen feeling. Then my tummy. What are they feeling, what is the sensation. Then my back, my chest, my shoulders, my arms, my hands. Finally my mouth, my nose, my ears my eyes and the top of my head. I should be calm and relaxed now. Well that’s what Hannibal said….

Well to me not so. I remembered stubbing my toe, my toe hurts. I remembered my knee I had overstretched during that morning weight training session. I felt my IBS playing up, I noticed by tummy feeling bloated. My back was definitely stiff. My left shoulder which has been dislocated several times was sore. I could feel the finger I had burnt cooking, I could feel the paper cut on my thumb. I found an annoying bit of food between my teeth. My ear was itchy. AND my left buttock had gone to sleep on the hard floor. Basically my body hurts, pointing that out Hannibal, how is that supposed to relax me. Seriously.

Yes Mondays are painful.

They’re at it….

What on earth is going on the conservatory window. And yes the conservatory needs tidying up. Out of focus dinosaur toys have taken over.

So it’s the first full week back at school for families in our area. Already many children have taken the quick but problematic virus test. Our Government is really pushing them while other countries are deeply sceptical of the test we use. Even our own Doctor Groups have expressed concerns. Some parents are refusing to let their children take them. Some schools have run out of the test kits. But the tests are the only precaution left in our schools.

From the parent comments on our school’s forum, a number of children have tested positive and are waiting a full test. A number of parents are isolating due to contracting Covid. But the Government rules have changed. Schools are not allowed to track potential cases without the approval from the authorities. They are not allowed to notify parents of potential or confirmed cases. Parents will only be notified if the number of cases escalates beyond a set national threshold. It seems odd that if a child has head lice then other parents are immediately notified but no notification now with an infectious disease. It also seems bizarre that under the current rules a child who tests negative using the inaccurate quick tests must still attend class even if that child’s parents have Covid, and if the child’s siblings have Covid.

Not an ideal backdrop for Hawklad to be wrestling with going back to school or not. He is still struggling with crowds. Still struggling with OCD. Still struggling to touch objects. Still struggling to venture inside.

School have said that they will try to be flexible about his return but do they really get it . His health professionals recommended a number of changes to help but these have not been acted upon. We asked if he could be put into classes with at least a few friends to help his potential return. Most of his classes have now been announced and guess what. Where are his friends……NOT in his class. It’s as if they had tried to put him in the worst class groupings possible. Let’s hope that the last two subjects fair better. Classes are full, the year is over allocated and unless a pupil leaves then switches can’t happen apparently.

Yes they’re at it again…. And it’s not helping.

Swiss Sunday

It’s very early Sunday morning here in Yorkshire. I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming big.

This week I was going through some old boxes that I had stored away when I cleaned mums house out. Looking for some old papers but I quickly got sidetracked. I found an old postcard. Wow, remember them….. It was one I had sent to my mum from my first trip to Switzerland. Many years ago. Pre parenting times. If I remember right it was sent on the first afternoon of the holiday. I used to write quite big as my handwriting is pretty poor. Not ideal with a small postcard. I struggled to fit mums address in the right half of the card. The first few words read of the message read.

“Hi Mum. Here safe. Switzerland is EPIC. I have never seen a land this beautiful, this magical, this perfect.”

Those words say it all. Switzerland is that good.

Anniversaries

Another year and another anniversary. Time passes. It never stops. It never stops.

These words will go live almost 5 years to the minute when I received that call from the Hospice. That conversation has faded into the mists of time now. I remember just a few words “I am so sorry”.

The first two anniversaries were so tough. I was in a bleak place. I couldn’t understand why my time had stopped but the world kept turning. It never missed a beat. How could that be possible. One thought dominated. Why her, why not me. The wrong person went. Over an over, the same thought. I was kinda rooted to the spot. No dreams left intact. Living purely through the eyes of our son.

Now it’s 5 years. What does an anniversary feel like now.

More like any other day. Does that sound bad….Even for me time doesn’t stop. Yes some moments spent remembering. Maybe not enough moments. But I know now. Those times have gone. The good and bad times. Just memories now. Time has moved on. I have moved on. New Dreams. Time moves on.

I won’t lie to you. Yes I still sometimes think -‘maybe it should have been me’. But……There is a phrase that can grind on me but in this case it’s true.

It is what it is.

Yes it is. That’s how it’s worked out. I can’t change it.

Memories are in the past, locked in time. I need to deal with today. Yes it’s an anniversary but it’s also another parenting day. Time doesn’t stop, even on an anniversary. Yes hopefully time for memories but also time to dream.

So how does this anniversary feel. Important YES but i realise it’s just about the past. Important but not as important living. So what does it feel like. It feels like today. It feels like the gateway to the future.

Memories will come but forgive me I need to dream first.

And then

Another sign of the approaching Autumn Term. Plenty of insects on the windows. Yes this one is superimposed on the big boy cats butt.

The day has dawned. In hours Hawklad is due back in the classroom. One email from school informing parents that school Covid safeguards have been relaxed apart from some testing. The school day will start with all children undertaking a Covid self test. Then the Year will gather for a school assembly in the main hall. After about 3 hours lessons will then commence.

No specific contact from school about Hawklad.

No discussions on tailoring a return.

No chance for Hawklad to do another pre school visit.

School haven’t even specifically asked if Hawklad is returning.

So what is Hawklad doing?

The thought of 3 hours of being in the small main hall with something like 120 other pupils without masks has really bothered him. Bothers me….. No specific plans have been agreed with school. Nothing in place to help with his potential return. Under those circumstances he can’t return. So I have informed school that he is working from home today.

It doesn’t help that it’s an anniversary……

Let’s see if school offer anything today. At least the timetable and class details will be published. Hawklad has said he will decide on Saturday. At present he feels that he can’t return. If that’s the case then it’s a question about is the a temporary hold or the permanent switch to homeschooling.

It’s such a mess.

Warning

No contact from school again about Hawklad. Now one day from what is supposed to be his return. No plans in place. No discussions. Not impressed. Very unsettling. Change subject before rant starts.

There aren’t many things more unsettling to me than when I’m are happily driving along a road and an approaching car flashes their headlights at me. Or someone puts there hazard warning lights on randomly as you drive past them. Especially when you can’t figure out why. I’m I even the target of that, is it aimed at someone else, was it mistaken identity, was it an accident. What’s wrong. Is my petrol cap open. Is a police speed camera just round the corner. Is there a giant dinosaur waiting to pounce behind those approaching traffic lights.

The uncertainty just unsettles me.

Well I have the solution. It’s my one big invention. My route to fame and fortune.

All cars should be installed with a special keyboard on the steering wheel. The keyboard will have large keys you can press in those light flashing moments. Rather than just randomly sending out a vague message to the approaching car, a giant lcd screen on the front of the car (so large that it partly obstructs the windscreen) will display a detailed warning message. These can be preprogrammed. No confusing henceforth. For example my available warning light options would be

* Children next to road…..

* Animals on the road…..

* The road surface is dangerous…..

* Warning, The Cops……

* Hi Sister, have you been shopping…..

* Your driving like a moron…..

* Your car is falling to bits……

* Get your Mobile out, Pokemon nearby ready to be caught……

* Put your Mobile down you numpty…….

* Turn your Full Beam headlights off you selfish lemon……

* It would be so nice if you wouldn’t mind getting back on your side of the road…..

* Ha Ha Your missing a once in a lifetime sunset behind you….

* Turn your music down your not at a Metallica Concert……

* Stop looking at that bird in the sky, YOUR supposed to be driving……

* UFO sighted, danger of alien abductions……..

Well I think it’s a great idea. That’s distracted me. Sometimes even parents need a distraction….

Wrestling with a decision

Still no word from school. A day of planning for a potential return lost….

Still no final decision on the return to the classroom. The case for school not helped by the Politician in charge of Education in my country. Remember him, the person with a horse whip on clear display on his desk. In his words schools are ‘safe and protected’. When asked how that was during a pandemic with up to 40000 new cases per day, he floundered and waffled. Then he said that because ‘The Government’ has installed CO2 monitors in schools. They would indicate where air quality was a problem. Windows could be opened, classes could go outside, they could consider other stuff…. He was then asked a simple question, had any schools received monitors for the start of Term and the answer was ‘NO, they will start to be issued later’. They have known about this for 18 months….. Why can’t they just invest in proper school ventilation and reduce the excessive class sizes in English schools….Why enforce masks on school buses but not in school. Finally just decide on what is happening with child vaccinations.

So what is Hawklad’s decision. Still no final word but here is a potential indication. He loves watching Wrestling. He loves going to see it when they tour. He can go to see a Wrestling Event in a few weeks. Normally he would have snapped my hand off for tickets. This time his answer was different.

“If I can’t manage school then I can’t manage going to see wrestling. No Dad don’t get tickets……”

Whitby

Maybe being inside amongst strangers is still a step too far for Hawklad but he keeps trying. A late call but we headed towards the North East Coast. To Whitby. A small town with so much history. A small town which provided one of the key settings for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

These days it’s a busy tourist destination. Today was grey and cold, so hopefully not that busy.

Yes less busy but still too busy for Hawklad. He desperately tried to keep his distance. Often walking down the middle of the road to avoid strangers. His hoody pulled over almost to the bridge of his nose. He couldn’t stay long. It was too uncomfortable and unsettling. He resisted the urge to let me go inside to buy ice cream or the legendary Whitby Fish & Chips. We made it to see a few boats. A quick wander to the Pier. Then it was heading back to the safety and isolation of home.

What happens with school at the end of the week. Still to be determined. But to me there is only one viable road open.

The River

A Yorkshire River. A bit of an odd Yorkshire River. It’s not in flood……

In winter the River is often several feet above the top of the sand banks. But in summer the banks provide a perfect place for Swift’s to nest.

As we walked along the river edge my thoughts drifted back to when Hawklad had just started school. It was the start of the Aspergers journey. it was before any expert help came our way. Two parents trying to get their head’s round our family life. We kinda knew he was on the spectrum but what did we know. Expert guidance was still 2 years away. It was such a confusing time. But one of my clearest recollections of that time was Hawklads’s reaction to people.

Hawklad struggled with meeting people. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone apart from his mum, dad and grannies. His hood was always over his head and pulled down over his eyes. He would freeze or have meltdowns if an outsider was too near. If he was in a room with others then he frequently would be found in a corner, facing the wall. Outside he would hide behind trees until the coast was clear.

Slowly over the following years things started to change. With so much hard work he became better able deal with people. Not comfortable but he found a way. He developed a slightly wider network of friends. Really close friendships formed.

Today we are walking along The River. We are avoiding people. We came off the path because Hawklad was struggling. The hood was over his head again. We headed in another direction as soon as an outsider came into view. If he couldn’t avoid them then he hid behind me. Down by The River he could hide away. He had the place to himself and he could tell his Dad all about the migrational pattern of Swift’s. It felt isolated but safe to him. Away from others. He’s comfortable with me and his best friends. Others just no way.

It feels like I have been here before.