I have written quite a lot about Henry and how he has difficulties with anger sometimes and this is a blog about starting school and how Henry has coped…
On the first day my little ray of sunshine ran into school and came out buzzing with all the new things that was going on in his life. School was ‘brilliant!’, ‘amazing!’ and ‘fab!’ which was really everything any parents wants to hear but this didn’t last. After the first week the weather had changed and the sun that was shining had now gone behind the clouds and this was somewhat like Henry’s mood. He began hitting his brothers, pinching, crying, shouting and then, as I had a feeling it would, he started hitting me again. At home he was volatile and unpredictable shouting at us one minute and then hitting us the next. His sleep was disturbed and he was coming into our bed in the early hours of the morning and the bravery that saw him strut forward into new challenges in the summer holidays had all but disappeared. Where had my gorgeous Henry gone?
I had a word with his teacher last Monday after a particularly awful weekend and to my surprise she said ‘oh yes, he’s like that here too’ I was a bit surprised wondering when she was going to mention this to me. Apart from being difficult and unpredictable Henry’s behaviour was shouting directly to anyone who wanted to listen to him ‘I AM VERY UNHAPPY!’ Maybe his teacher sees this as a natural rite of passage for all 4 year olds I’m not sure but we are having a meeting the week after next (Hubbie is away) so I’m looking forward to talking with her.
I sat down and asked him if anything was wrong at school and he came out with a lot of very credible reasons as to why he was unhappy. He doesn’t like the playground he goes on as he doesn’t know any of the teacher’s names, he says a boy is hitting him and he doesn’t like it and he says that he doesn’t like the school dinners. All these are very real reasons and even if they turn out to be not quite the answer it’s how he feels at the moment and I must take that as a starting point. Every day I drop him off he asks if I can pick him up at lunch, that he doesn’t want to stay the day and could he come home with me and Tobes when Tobes finishes.
This all got me thinking…
I walk past his classroom to go and collect Tobes at 11.45am. Just the time when Hen is sitting on the carpet looking out the door to see me walk past. He then see me walk past again with a smiley and happy (and bouncing most days!) Tobes and he has to sit there and watch me go. Could this be the reason? Is it he just wants to come home and be with me and Tobes as he used to do? He knows Tobes and I will spend time together, make things occasionally, go shopping and generally do jobs and be together, all while Hen is at school.
I think this is what’s the heart of Henry’s problems at school. In fact he’s virtually telling me this when he asks when I’m picking him up and if he’s coming home with Tobes and me.
But what do I do about it?
I feel very cold in a way, ‘sorry Hen that’s just how it is now and the sooner you get used to it the better?’ That’s not really the way I parent.
I’ve got lots of thinking to do and maybe, lots of reading and asking people’s opinions. I may just start by asking to go in a different door so Hen can’t see me arrive and leave with Tobes. It’s worth a go and something I should easily be able to do. Maybe not seeing me might help, maybe just being asked to sit with his back to the door (in the subtle way that all teachers can get children to sit in different places) is another way of making sure he doesn’t see us.
You can prepare a child for school for months before it happens. You can buy the uniform, excitedly try it on and they can have a settling in morning before they actually go in September but the initial enthusiasm might begin to tarnish as the slow realisation sets in that this is it, every day until some says it’s a holiday you have to go in even if you don’t want to and all this coupled with seeing your mum walk past and then again with your smiling and happy brother.
That would make me cry too…