Story of a Small Boy (Chapter 1)

Yes I have two amazing boys but today I want to talk about Tink. We had the children’s IEP’s (Individual Education Plan) meeting this week and whilst Stigs took a familiar format, reviewing targets discussing his progress and putting new goals in place, Tink’s was far from what we’ve come to expect.

About 6 months ago with increasing concern about Tinks anti-social behaviour and disregard for rule following in school, I approached CAMHS for some assistance. I would like to say that this organisation was at this point trying to shrug me off. I had been visiting a psychotherapist periodically to discuss the children’s progress and on my last visit had been informed, in a smug manner that, “although we had initially seemed unsure on how to parent our children, we were now considered quite competent and not so much in need of their assistance.” Just as an aside the same man also told me to lay off the “self help books” when I discussed reading around the issue of attachment. However, on this occasion they listened, asked questions and more questions and came up with the idea of assessing Tink on the Autistic Spectrum.

Some weeks later we delivered our small boy into the hands of 3 unknown adults. I knew he wouldn’t complain, he never does but I also  knew he was afraid. The telling signs of silly behaviour funny voices and general rudness were present,.  Mr H and I retreated to a close by coffee shop and surmised the possible conclusions that this assessment could produce. “Yes, he’s a little bit angry,” Although he’s on the spectrum, it’s very mild”, “He’s a bit quirky but charming” Oh boy how far were we from the mark?

Attending the feedback session a couple weeks after, we joked and made small talk as we entered the room. The laughter was soon gone and our jaws dropping wide open at the opinions drawn. The 2 therapists smiled sweetly but shifted uncomfortable knowing the news they were to deliver. His conversational skills are clunky and awkward, no creativity, no eye contact, but lots of talk of aggression and violence towards others. The report reads He showed no insight into social relationship or his role in them. His social responses were either odd or inappropriate. He reported liking “tasting” girls ‘hair and eating or sucking various flavours and food out of it. And more and more, heart wrenching reading. Handed the report at the end of the meeting I fought back the tears, it seemed such an injustice, this was not our small boy.

Sat in the IEP this week, We’d come to terms with the truth of the matter. They are right, he is all the things they said, just luckily we don’t usually have it all on displayed in one session, as they did.  Everyone around the table had read the report and everyone around the table agreed,  Tink needs help. Some intelligent suggestions have been made for improving his school life but finality has to be based on the full outcome of the assessment which is not yet complete.

And although we’ve come to terms with this report and the seemingly hurtful things said about our child, we’ve also taken stock of every amazing characteristic which makes our boy. Did I tell you he likes to dress up? The outfits he creates are amazing, dresses and shawls, masks and heels worn with panache and flair. He reads and reads and reads, his intellect, when amongst those he trusts is bright and his wit sharp. The cuddles are warm the kisses never ending and he loves nothing more than a good old snuggle, be it on his terms. He has nerves of steel, aged 6 he ran away from home , stole magazines from the local Coop and started a fire,  all a single day of activities for our little toughie.

So here is the opening chapter in this small boy’s story, hold on tight because it might not always  be for the faint hearted, but I promise you there will be days when you can’t help but smile.


Shall we Start with a Party?

I’m 40 soon, very soon, less than two weeks away. I’m not upset about turning forty, in fact I’m almost looking forward to it. I’ve a party organised, a get together in a local wine bar with a meal for family and besties (close friend) followed by drinks and hopefully dancing with an increasing crowd. Then there’s the night away in the Boutique hotel with my husband, wine, fine dining and us time. Not forgetting the all important gifts, a beautiful new digital camera and I’m sure a few other bits. So what’s not to look forward to? However this is not the main reason I’m “almost” looking forward to this event. I’ve decided the day after my fortieth birthday I’m going to give up alcohol for a year.

I can remember the moment my relationship with alcohol changed .From my  late teens I enjoyed a tipple, growing up in a “sociable” household where having a drink meant fun and enjoyment, my parents were not and are not alcoholics but having a few was never frowned upon. I adopted this same sort of sociable attitude towards drink, and drink I did, with family with friends and then with my husband. We would spend hours in our local pub especially at the weekend and stumble home to bed; this was obviously way before parenthood. And then it happened, parenthood, and not in the conventional way but after a couple of tough years, adoption. So there I am sat in our kitchen of the time, finally having got our two new little boys to bed after a first few tough days together, I reached for a bottle of wine from the rack, pop went the cork, and relief oozed through me with that first gulp.

And there you have it, a change and that glass of wine became my reward, my relief, on bad days my oasis, sometimes my friend. That friend has been helping through my children’s very challenging behaviour, my husband losing his business resulting in him having a nervous breakdown, battling my own depression which I’ve lived with since my early 20’s and did I mention the children’s challenging behaviour.  The boys have been with us 6 years soon and please I’m not a wine soaked mess from dawn till dusk, 6 days since my last, but the problem I now have is stopping once I’ve started.

So in order to confront my relationship with alcohol and to kick these nasty habits I’ve acquired, I’m giving it up; 12 months at least, dry as a bone, on the wagon. Surprisingly I am at the moment very much looking forward to this challenge. I know that at times it won’t be easy as I don’t intend to lock myself away for the year, but by removing the option of partaking I am hoping for increased consistency and calm in my life. I’m hoping the delights of this challenge will reveal themselves along the way, I have my own hopes which I shall keep to myself for now, but I shall let you know all, the ups the downs the ins the outs the hates and loves…just don’t mention the puffin.