What a week.
Apart from my dubious mental health and pretty rubbish coping skills this week, poor M is feeling the strain of the approach of Christmas at school and it is spilling over into everything at home. As much as school are keeping her to a strict visual timetable there are just too many changes to the norm for her to be able to be anything but very unsettled.
I dropped the packed lunches off on the way to the shops this morning and saw M through the window of the gym hall – she was curled up on a bench at the side – and I noted that they were doing “social dancing” (Scottish country dancing). She had a wonderful time last week so I was surprised to see her so obviously miserable. I was let into school and was having a quick word with the head teacher when M hurtled out of the hall and into my arms like a missile on a mission. She was really upset and needed considerable cuddles before she would allow me to detach her (boy she does weigh a lot when clutching my neck in a stranglehold).
She was definitely still very uptight on the way home from school, and even the purchase of a Friday treat of Maltesers didn’t help much. She couldn’t settle at anything, and needed lots of encouragement to eat her pizza at teatime.
Finally I managed to get her into her pyjamas and then suddenly the dam burst and so many words came tumbling out of her, all so negative and heart-rending that i wanted to run away so I didn’t have to listen. I think when she is so confused and despairing it comes out as self-hatred and wanting to “not be here any more” as well as thinking everyone hates her. She kept repeating that she needed me to be in school with her all the time “otherwise I think you won’t come back for me mumma”. What the hell can I possibly say to that? I have never ever given her cause to think I won’t be there for her; if I have been out in town and concerned I might be even 2 minutes late for the school run I pull over and call the secretary so she can tell M I am on my way. I KNOW that my little girl’s life is ruled by her anxiety, and I do everything I can to prevent it worsening, and then she says this.
It breaks my heart. Am I doing the right thing in making her attend school? She does like social interaction, and can cope well most of the time now she has 1 to 1 support, but maybe I am barking up the wrong tree and I am actually really damaging her. Maybe every time I watch her go through those doors in the morning I am condemning her to almost 6 hours of unremitting emotional torment. I just don’t know. And she can’t tell me.
There are five more school days in this term. The last one has a Christmas service at the sister school in the next village, but M has told me that she can’t deal with being in a place with lots of people she doesn’t know, so I will be talking to school on Monday to arrange an alternative morning for her. I even asked what she would choose to do and she said “art” so I will see if there is a decoration she can bet set to making as there are bound to be lots of scraps of glittery paper around.
And then we will have two weeks off, no school, no dancing classes, no Sunday School, just us, all seven of us home for the holidays. With any luck I can persuade E, “uni sister” to drop her mainly nocturnal habits for a fortnight and give M some desperately needed sibling cuddles, and we shall tackle January when it arrives.
Thanks for reading.