It’s been a fairly emotional few weeks in our house. Once again it’s my youngest Bridie who has been the challenging one, she has such high anxiety that anything that’s over and above her usual routine turns her in to a screaming banshee. We’ve gone so far as to have school refusal. The naplan was on a couple of weeks ago and she was so stressed about it that I ended up pulling her out of it after speaking with her principal. It’s hard though, I hate giving in to her demands but the difference in her was amazing (for a couple of days at least) so it clearly was playing on her mind a lot. We’ve started seeing a psychologist who specialises in adolescents with anxiety. I had her assessed a couple of years ago for aspergers and we know it’s not that. There’s such a fine line between aspergers and anxiety though isn’t there? Throw in perfectionism and obsessive compulsive disorder and life is like living in a war zone. The psychologist – Bernadette – met her on Monday at my meet and greet session. Bridie wasn’t meant to meet her until next Monday but a combination of me feeling like crap with a shocking cold and Bridie refusing to go to school meant that I wasn’t up for a battle so I took her with me, having her out in reception for a big chunk of the time. I’ll let you know how we go.
Beth of course has seen this happening and seen that I am sick and is trying to capitalize on it. She wants to be sick too so she can have some time off. On Tuesday when I was getting Bridie out of bed to pull her out the door looking very unkempt (not a good thing because her hair is a huge anxiety but by then I didn’t care) Beth was in the background calling out “When will I have a day off school Mum?” I had lost my voice by this point and was trying to yell at Bridie to get her out of bed but nobody could hear me when I was trying to tell Beth to stop, just stop it! So there she is in the background, oblivious to my struggle saying things like “Yes Beth, you can have tomorrow off.” Or “OK here’s the deal, you can go to school today and then you can have the rest of the week off.” I stormed in and said in my almost non existent voice “Here’s the deal, shut up about having a day off or you don’t get your ipad for the rest of the day.” My anger wasn’t taken seriously of course as Beth told me that I sounded like Marge Simpson! Honestly, I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown yesterday. As I said goodbye to Beth at school I told her that I wouldn’t kiss her goodbye as I didn’t want her to get sick. Well that was stupid of me. Of course she had a wee carry on saying that she wanted me to kiss her, so I kissed the top of her head. She’s not stupid, she wants to get sick so she can stay at home!
I’ve been giving Beth a little independance at school lately, I’m not walking her in in the mornings, she goes in, signs herself in and then goes out and through the gate, all by herself. It’s been baby steps, first we would go in together, I’d show her how to sign in, then I’d supervise her, now she does it herself. I sign her out. Which means I get to see what she’s written. She’s meant to put the date, time and her name, I then sign her out at the end of the day with my name and the time. There is a section which is the reason you are signing them out if they are going early. Half the time if I look across she’s written an earlier time such as 1.30 then in the reason column she’s written something like ‘appointment’!
Yesterday the kids at Beth’s school got word that a child from Beth’s year who had been very sick for some time had died. I found out because there was a parent picking up a child who usually goes on the bus. She had been called and told that her daughter was distressed so she chose to pick her up. I hadn’t heard of the girl and I don’t think Beth knew her particularly well. It’s interesting the way their minds work though. Beth came out of school with a notice which I didn’t realise at the time was about the child dying. But the way she did it was her way of cheering me up I think. She said to me “Mum, I’ve got good news and bad news.” I straight away thought she’d gotten into trouble and she was buttering me up. (I guess I was thinking of my other kids, that’s how I think they would approach it.) She didn’t give me the choice but said “OK, I’ll give you the good news first. I was really, really, really, really good at school today. The bad news – heres a notice about a girl who died today”. I said that I had known she had died and how it was very sad and she thought about it and agreed but I don’t think it really affected her that much. If it changed anything in her immediate day then it might have made a difference. I found it interesting that in her mind it wouldn’t bother me so much if I was so caught up in being happy at her clearly excellent behaviour. I wonder what she was really thinking – Mum’ll get over it quickly because I’ve told her how good I’ve been, or I’ll tell Mum something good so it balances out the bad news, I just have no idea. The main thing for me is that she’s ok about it all.