Reconnecting

I wrote on Twitter yesterday about how much both T & I feel we have reconnected with Sqk during this week and a bit away. Sqk and I travelled to train station at Escape in Castleford on Maundy Thursday to meet T after work. Having eaten we then drov north to a caravan site north of Richmond where our caravan is pitched on a seasonal pitch. We stayed here till Easter Monday and then went a bit further north to a site on the cliff to close to St Mary’s Lighthouse in North Tyneside.


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Long time

No post bar weekly Instagram posts.

In fact last time I posted was mid December. Since then both T & I have changed jobs – January was an interesting month and indeed it is only this week just gone that we are fully into the new routine as before half-term my sister was picking Sqk up from school with her two and taking him to Mum’s on a Friday evening. I have had to change my work at home day as all my teaching this semester falls on a Friday. So now I drop Sqk at school and pick him up on a Thursday after discussions with childminder as this is one of her busiest days. Busiest is Wednesday but that is never a good day in university terms as stuff often happens on a Weds afternoon although my new place of work appears to schedule teaching even then. Ok even with this I am still going into work for noon every other Thursday for research group meeting and this next week I am going in to cover a PG session on embedded software for a colleague who is in Germany.

Our PASW is getting stuff done – ASF funding permitting we are starting sensory work later this month and she is talking to school. We had a meeting this Thursday (was a busy day what with osteopaths, research meeting & this) at school with PASW, SENCO, class teacher and I. A pretty fruitful discussion ensued with me discovering that Sqk has had full-time 1to1 support since they came back after Christmas (would have been nice to be told!!!! Although I have wondered). Also our PASW is good friends with Sqk’s original SW who knew the birth family from well before his birth and has basically said she really doesn’t think there is any need to think about FASD. We still wander due to facial features, small head and ADHD like behaviour. His concentration span on anything he is not interested in is horrendous and as for fine motor control…. However his academic ability appears to be good when he can be sat down – they had a comprehension test the other week where his TA acted as a scribe. His teacher said he did very well – better than a lot of his peers and he is one of the youngest in his year 1 class. He loves reading and story time and enjoys maths so we are all determined to try to get the strategies in place to deal with his wonky brain wiring as he has capability to go far if we can get him to engage.

Socially he is liked by all his peers and is always surrounded by children in playground. Even this morning at soft-play he has made a little friend (probably 3/4) and they are happily running around together. Emotionally he is probably 4 on a good day, 2 on a bad one and somewhere in between most of the time. In some ways had we deferred his entry he might be better off but there is a very good reason we did not and school know this and are grateful for it. Academically it was right decision it is just those emotional skills.

We all agreed that the biggest issue we need to deal with is the ‘stealing’ (food mainly from teachers desks when he sneaks back into school) and lying about not doing something when he blatantly has. These are common issues at school and at home along with the disappearing in the blink of an eye. As the SENCO says he is not a runner but is very good at hiding. We are working with him by saying he must respond when someone calls his name unless it is in hide and seek. Getting better at this at home but it is work in progress. Going to try social stories but need to find some non-autistic aimed ones as he needs the colour and shading that autistic children do not need.

On the positive side Sqk is making progress and hopefully with everything we are all doing we will get there. He is on a modified behaviour policy (yeah). Even when he spat at TA last week it was handled by time in at break – sat on a chair in classroom with teacher present and a sand timer counting down the time. I will admit that having another adopter in the school who has already fought many of the battles has made life so much easier and I am so grateful for that. Plus Sqk copes with me working which is beneficial for my own mental health particularly thanks to the loveliness which is my new campus. So looking forward to the better weather and ability to go walking when I need to think. This is the view out my new office window…

Update as new term starts

Well after an interesting end to July which ended with me getting a job offer for a post in the civil service we were all set to up sticks and move 20 miles across county when I got an interview for a job in another local university (email came through miraculously while we were in France with in-laws & patchy Internet). So I was back at work a day before having another day off for interview – which I went into with no real preparation (presentation was a recycled one from 7 years ago) and not caring about getting the job. Lo and behold two days later  – in Clearing I get phone call from Dean of School – who when we eventually connected up (took 4 attempts) offered me the job. After a lot of discussion between DH & I and my parents we decided that a job that kept us living where we are and didn’t change a lot for Sqk was the right job. So I gave back word on civil service position (explaining that this other job was better for my son and when you come down to it I am a mother first) and accepted the job that means effectively I travel 3.5 miles further a day to work as of January.

Sqk amazingly calmed down a lot once we explained to him that we were not moving and the anxiety levels in the house had gone down. Even starting school again has not been much of an issue other than wanting to go back to Reception as there is more play there. But so far so good in year 1 – ok we are a week in but not had any reports of issues yet. Then again going on a year ago, it will be close to half term before the real Sqk comes out at school. His childminder bless her has been getting some of the fall out from school compliance as he feels secure there. He was very happy to see me at end of school today – I am praying that my timetable allows me to continue to do this in January. However, I have plans in place in case it doesn’t – childminder before school and my Mum after school for the 12 teaching weeks. We have also agreed for the remainder of academic year from January to pay for an additional half hour in evening until I see what my journey is like. Sqk’s bedtime is now half an hour later so he gets same amount of time with me in evening anyway.

Two evenings on coming home this week have involved me opening garage so Sqk can get his scooter out. The daughter of the family who moved onto cul-de-sac just before end of last term turns out to be one of Sqk’s good friends from school so he wants to go out and play with her when she is out. Last night it was me watching 6 kids (Sqk, his friend, her older brother (year 4), another lass from year 1 who lives at house opposite end of cul-de-sac and the two boys from house 2 doors down from us (year 2 & 4). Other parents happy to let children roam freely but we are not quite there with Sqk yet although if he keeps to boundaries as well as he did last night I shall get there. It was wonderful to see him so happy and so involved – his social/emotional maturity was not noticeable in the scooter/bike riding going on.

Just got to hope that the anxiety over SH’s job doesn’t kick in too much – he got told at his performance review he either needed to look for a new job or agree to go on a performance management plan. His boss said he is a brilliant pharmacist but not so good on the HR and shop management side. Mind you as DH says he has had little support. However I got him cheered up by finding 7 or 8 jobs that were possible on Tuesday night – and he has 5 applications in already – with more potential jobs out there. He thought it would be difficult to find a new job but looks hopeful. We have agreed he is going to take the opportunity to get out of the city and hopefully into either an online pharmacy, a supermarket pharmacy or a hospital outpatients dispensary (not the ones in our city however). All of these take away a lot of the HR stuff and more particularly the large amount of retail that comes in a high street pharmacy branch. As he admits himself had a crystal ball 13 years ago when he qualified he would have gone into hospital pharmacy rather than community as he is much more into the clinical and patient focused stuff.

Anxiety Reigning

Unfortunately at the moment anxiety seems to have got our family in its grip. I have been struggling since early April when I got told my discipline at university was being closed and we still have no idea what the teach out plan is and who is likely to be keeping a job. The uncertainty is not at all helpful for Sqk at this time of year when it is all change at school.

Sqk has been coping well – transition day the week before last (up to year 1 with experienced teacher) was hard for him from what I have heard (via childminder). He struggled with sitting at desks and was drawing on them (with pencil thankfully) and was definitely not calm. He has been a little fizzy for a few weeks – we have tried to keep the worst of my anxiety from him but it isn’t easy and he is picking up on it along with being tired and school routines going. SO we expected him to get much more fizzy and to have behaviour issues…

This last week it has all come to a head and he managed three days (2 full and 2 half) in school thanks to diarrhoea attacks. I have been off work ill thanks to a chest infection which didn’t help matters and on Wednesday I got a call at lunchtime to go pick him up. At first we put it down to him eating something he shouldn’t have – not the first bout of diarrhoea of the year although the rest have all been at weekends or during holidays – as I said to his class TA they have actually done well to get to the last 3 weeks before it has happened at school. Kept him off Thursday as we were wandering if it was anxiety related (sports day so decided too different) and he had no further bouts (loose/soft but not diarrhoea). So he went in on Friday full of it – and I got the call again at lunchtime. He has been having a lot of movements over the weekend but mainly just been very loose although yesterday morning was interesting as he took his own nappy off – cue boy in shower and Vax in use. Thankfully my mother lives a mile from us and I had pre-warned her Friday as given I was off last week I need to be in work this week (well have an interview at a local firm tomorrow). So he has gone to Granny’s today – and having phoned NHS Direct yesterday he also has a doctors appointment this morning as DH suspects he needs something to slow his gut down – and for under 12s it is a prescription only drug so he cannot supply it.

Update: Ok now it is policy to let U12s go a fortnight before treating – doctor will do stool sample to prove to school what they already know (he is not ill) and then we can send him back. No actually we cannot as they do not have the staffing provision to clean him up after every instance and do not want to be dealing with him in pull-ups (which is to be honest how we are coping). Annoying as anything – so grateful to Granny for having him and being prepared to continue to have him. DH and I have a cunning plan however…….

This weekend has been really good – we took a day trip to London to meet up with some of the people from one set of adoption forums. As DH said it was a train ride to play in a park and have a picnic. Sqk had a brilliant time – Coram Fields is a wonderful space and he spent a lot of the day on the roundabout (suggesting anxiety again as spinning is a regulation technique for him). We expected him to manage about 2 hours at the most – in the end we had to leave because it was time for our train home. Yes it was a long way to go but Sqk had a brilliant time and very glad we did it as it is always good to meet with others who understand. Due to my autistic tendencies I seem to have made a fair few friends over the Internet – this was the second group of people from forums who I had met up with.

Just hope we can get Sqk through this stage of anxiety and that at some point soon my job uncertainty goes away. I have another interview at end of month for a job which if it comes off will be brilliant. I am pretty much where I am to Christmas however as have a 3 month notice period and cannot go midway through a teaching semester – 3 months takes us into semester 1 so will have to wait till end of December unless we get offered a better redundancy package.

Work….

Apparently this became a lost post. Probably because I was so tired writing it after a long day at work and then working most of yesterday evening as well. Research & accreditation keeping me busy.

Not a long post today thanks to a stupidly hectic day which has included me working most of this evening as well. Sqk is doing really well – or his teeth are. Dentist was really pleased with them today – been told to keep up the good work. However Sqk was tired as we got back home from dentists and he went into on/off tantrum mode. I kept re-regulating him but then the slightest thing would set him off again. So he went went to bed early although he did see Daddy.

I could have done without work this evening as my brain wasn’t wanting to engage. Managed it in the end but still got lots to do. Mind you postdoc working as well as got response to my email with document comments already.

However to bed….

Sleepy – so sleepy…

And it is not caused by Sqk. I am having a period of waking at somewhere between 4 and 5am and not getting back to sleep before I am up at 6.30am. Initially started waking because of DH having massive coughing fits at that time (he has an ear infection). he got back to sleep fine but I didn’t – suspect it may be everything going on at work at the moment: Accreditation visit coming (which means lots and lots of paperwork to sort), lots of stuff happening in research and also into last three weeks of term.

Getting on top of research and making progress on the accreditation stuff – not going to make deadline of next Monday from my line manager, but hopefully by end of next week. Problem is everything has to go via centre and we need to submit it all by January 20th. Mind you will then have to chase evryone else – and try to track down all the marks for last year….

Sqk is doing well – being a cheeky monkey at nursery it appears at times – and also deciding painting sponges filled with paint are good to chew. He has a chewy for that very reason and they are getting better at using it. he is coming to visit us in our bedroom most mornings but is being pretty calm and it mainly seems to be so he can be certain of saying goodbye to Mummy (and getting kisses and cuddles).

Friday night is a big night – we are trying a sleepover at local Granny’s for the first time. Then next week we start childminder transition process – I have to remember on Tuesday to come onto our estate rather than using auto-pilot to his current childminder’s house.

Running round

It’s been a day of running round. Not helped by waking up with early signs of migraine so not getting to the till gone 11. I forgot how problematic parking was at that hour – I actually got in at 10:50 but then spent 15 mins hunting a space. Mini open day doesn’t help with parking….

Did my prospective applicant tour at 11.30, returned to have lunch with rest of discipline team & candidates for new Lecturer. Then research group meeting, then lecture then back to research lab to meet candidates individually. Then dive to far end of far car park to drive to get Sqk. Just got there before 5…

Definitely a running around type of day although I did start sorting progression stats for one year on one course (out of 5/6 for 8 courses) for accreditation visit in March. The data I have from university is not granular enough for what I need so having to do some general finding out.

Sqk is fine and is most important in my life. He takes priority over work if it comes down to that.

Another day of randomness

Mainly as that is what my day has been. One of those days where I have done lots of bits & pieces. Started with getting some more bits done for our accreditation visit next semester, then progressed to doing marking once got official confirmation marking boycott was off. Then writing report from progression viva I did last week and forgot to write. Then seeing a colleague about meeting a couple of weeks ago which I am attending in place of them. Laboratory this afternoon so was on feet for 3 hours. oh and the phone call from nursery to say could I pick Sqk up which was directed to childminder as it wasn't a real emergency and I was somewhat busy in lab as it is my module which is just me. Why they had to ring when form explicitly says childminder Mon-Thurs.

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