And to the worries. Honestly, where did Christmas vacation disappear to? It came and disappeared in no time. And if I must sum it up in one word, it would have to be SLEEPING.
During 2016, I went to a funny lecture at the local book shop. It was to promote a book, written by a journalist, about the need for loving ourselves. She was full of humour and gave a great lecture on how most of us are too hard on ourselves. In the middle of it all, people started to ask questions about her and the book. Till this female priest, in the audience, raised her hand and said “So, one more thing WE HAVE TO DO. Pardon me, but I already feel overwhelmed!”. Secretly I agreed. Learning to love oneself and be less hard on oneself, feels like just another chore, even if it would be beneficial for everything else in one’s life.
In December, I joined many others in the #LIGHTtheWORLD challenge. It was also a very good thought, just like the book written by the lady mentioned above, and a thing beneficial to both yourself and others. BUT it also added on to all my other December stress and instead of enjoying December and a two and a half week vacation, towards the end of the month and the beginning of this one, I felt overwhelmed in the end and as the vacation started, I collapsed. I can’t describe it in any better way. Sure, I had to continue to do things, in order for Christmas to come around to our house, BUT the rest of the time I slept, slept and slept. None of my great plans for the holiday came about, since I was just too tired to do anything.
And to my horror, I then discovered that “Boo” started school, a day ahead of all his siblings. So, back to normal, a day too early, when my mind and body was not ready for it. I did not sleep the night between Sunday and Monday, thanks to my itching skin. According to the doctor, not caused at all by my hypothyroid, but by stress. Nonsense of course, since I itch all year round, whether I am on holiday or running like a hamster in a wheel. “Gubby” did not want to stay in bed alone nor go up to his brother’s bed, till I got back from the morning run, so he had to come with to drop off “Boo” at school. I think all other parents had a tough time getting out of bed, as well, because we arrived and there was noone to be seen, except a couple of children, inside the windows of the after-school-care (or ought I say, before-school-care). We stood there in the cold and waited and waited. No cars arriving or anything. After ten minutes I lost patience and started to look in through the windows of the headmaster’s office. Had I misunderstood the starting date? It got an effect and “Boo’s” assistant came to the door, got dressed and came out, so they could walk down to the assembly point, for the buses.
Today, all the others also had to get up in the dark and head out in to a frozen landscape. I did not feel rested this morning either. I finished a book last night which was very disturbing in its nature, so I had a tough time falling asleep. And I woke up feeling upset. For one and a half year, I have felt that “Gubby” is in a good spot. At a good school. They have listened to habilitation’s advice on how to educate my little autistic boy, how to deal with his peculiarities, his language problems, his social problems etc. He has had a headmaster who has taken his handicap seriously and who has given him what he needs for the most part. Two assistants sharing the job of helping “Gubby”, while also wearing two other hats, that of music teacher and after-school-care-personnel. There has been a special ed teacher, who has worked with “Gubby” for years, already at the pre-school in OUR village and who has instructed both assistants and teachers on how to handle “Gubby’s” weaknesses.
In November, it was announced that the special ed teacher had been offered a better job elsewhere and she would quit after the autumn term at the school. The after-school-care teacher, who has been “Gubby’s” assistant during the lunch recesses and on Fridays, was also to quit, since he was tired of having a long distance relationship with his girlfriend, who lives in Stockholm. So this man who has come to understand “Gubby” and who felt it a privilege to be with him, has moved north. And right before school was out in December, all parents received a letter from the school’s board, that the headmaster is quitting for a job at a bigger school. A great shock. “Gubby” loves his little dog, Chili, a little female Jack Russell, who comes with him to work every day. For a year and a half, “Gubby” has walked in to the headmaster’s office, to say hello to Chili, and this school year, the headmaster has understood how much the dog means to “Gubby”, so he has let the latter go with him and Chili for their walks! We can’t have a dog because of my allergies, so this has been so perfect.
This morning, I just felt so sad and so worried all of a sudden. How do I know that the next headmaster will respect what has been done to help “Gubby” up till now? She/He might just say “Forget it, I am not going to spend any extra money on this child. He can go to another school instead, which has more funding.” And who is going to inform her/him of all of “Gubby’s” problems or weaknesses? Who is going to explain that he needs this and that? It feels like I have to start all over again from scratch. Asking habilitation in, to inform all over, what it means to have an autistic child at the school and in the classroom. And not just to a new headmaster but also to the new special ed teacher, who will not arrive until February. He is supposed to guide the others and how can he do that, when he does not have a single clue as to what “Gubby” needs to prosper or flourish. And what about Fridays and recesses? WHO is going to look after my little boy then? Assistants are so important because they are the ones the child turns to first and foremost. They are the stability to these children. And now one is gone and they still do not have a solution after having had months to think already. The Music teacher has volunteered to take over the second assistant’s day and the recesses, but she still knew nothing on the 21st December. I really do not like this! Are things going to go from good to bad at that school now? And what is going to happen to my little angel boy?
This morning he was happy to go back to school. We packed his bag and he got all the needed clothes on. Finally! He has enjoyed being home of course, but he likes the usual routine of the days. Getting up, getting dressed, having porridge for breakfast and a mug of milk. Driving off to school and spending half the day there, me arriving at 12:25 to bring him home… He ran in to school even though the ground was slippery with ice and he was telling everyone “Hello, I have missed you!”. But I heard noone answering the poor soul back, until this young woman working for before/after-school-care got a hug from him and I heard her saying that she had missed HIM. He then went to hug a man, also working for that part of the school system. (To be honest, they are there all day, helping out in the classrooms as personal assistants or just to be extra help. Two of them are the school’s gym teachers and most of them are in charge of recess safety.) “Gubby” looked troubled and sad by now and said “I don’t think people like me!” Both Thomas and I said “Yes they do! Why do you think they do not like you?”. “Because they do not talk to me. I tell them I have missed them and they have not missed me.”. I really did not want to leave at this point. Thomas tried to explain that everyone had just arrived and perhaps some did not hear “Gubby” or they felt a little bit overwhelmed at being back after the holidays… We tried to reassure “Gubby” that they all like him and after giving him several hugs and kissing his soft, newly cut hair, I had to leave, in order for “Boo” to not miss the bus from his school. But I felt worried.
Getting to “Boo’s” school, I also felt concerned, since his headmaster also has turned in his notice. It happened after his wife was fired for verbally abusing the handicapped children in her class, for threatening the parents of those children and reporting them unduly to the social services. No new headmaster has been found though until now, six months later and the new one will not show up for another month. But what will things be like for “Boo”? His headmaster also understood the problems, in a way, more serious problems than “Gubby’s”. And they had an assistant picked for him months before he actually arrived at the school and a plan. I am REALLY worried since at our last meeting, “Boo’s” teacher just looked at me and said “I don’t know if we can offer ‘Boo’ what he needs.” The special ed teacher did not want to paint an equally dark picture, but the picture is dark alright with my son in all likelihood failing class three, thanks to his resistance to learning things by practice. That Catholic school he went to for three years, really screwed him up. They destroyed all his self-confidence and they let him fail at everything, only to watch him getting bullied for his failures and his handicaps. I hate that school and wish someone had the courage to report them and get the school permanently closed for all future! But the schools have found a powerful weapon. If you report an independent school in Sweden, they report the parents to social services! So, I have not been able to report them for destroying my children’s lives. Other schools have had to pick up the pieces and unfortunately “Boo” is so afraid of failure, that he will not exert himself. He stops when the going gets tough, so he does not get anywhere while the others learn more and more. He is in third grade and thanks to dyslexia, he still can not read and he can not do math above ten… The others can sew and crochet but he has fine motor problems, so he is completely excluded in that area. There are just so many things he can not do and still the law says he must go to school. And now there will be a new headmaster. who knows nothing about him and who might say “We can’t afford to keep such a student!”.
So this term has started stressfully, due to factors outside my control. And yes, I know, we should not worry about things which are out of our control, but just accept them. But theses factors will effect my children and they might not effect them in a good way at all. I might be in for another year of sheer hell! Deep breaths! Count to ten! Sleep has become my usual method to deal with stress, it seems. At the same time, I go to bed and just lay there, thinking, thinking, THINKING!