Well, this week was our first week of getting into extra curricular activities with other actual people. Trampoline went quite well on Monday. Yes, he argued and even got a little rude with the teacher, but she was able to bring him back on track (mostly…) to do what was required. The important thing there is that he did some good exercise and used his muscles, which can only help in the long run!
We were supposed to go to a social group on Tuesday, but neither of us really felt up to it, so we stayed home and did some reading and book work instead.
Wednesday, again, we were meant to go to a social group, but I just felt so exhausted and over it all with the new diabetes medication I’m on and watching my diet so carefully.
Thursday we went to the Museum of Sydney and had a great time at the Lego Towers of Tomorrow exhibition. We also got to learn a little about Sydney’s history, and the history of tower building and Lego stuff. :) The boy wasn’t particularly interested in knowing or listening to anything at the Lego exhibition, he just wanted to get in there and build, loudly telling everyone he came across (which thankfully being a weekday morning, wasn’t that many!) that he is a Lego expert and could easily build the best tower. While I cringe inside when he does that, I try not to say anything in front of people. He often ends up realising for himself that he isn’t infact the best at these things. He was amazed and outraged at some of the other models people had built, but that didn’t stop him having a go this time thankfully. He did build quite an awesome tower in the end, and was proud of it.
On Friday, we went to our first group glass. A science class run by one of the Homeschooling mums on the norther beaches. She is a scientist and it was a nuture learning class run in a very free-form way about the universe, that ties in with the NSW syllabus for my son’s age group. I knew it would be a bit tricky for him as he’s so against any kind of group or formalised learning, but I really didn’t realise just much his anxiety would set him off.
We got there, and I had already set him up before hand by letting him know that he could just sit quietly with me and listen if he didn’t feel comfortable joining straight in. He told me that would be embarrassing if he had to sit with his Mum. I explained that was a lot less noticeable and embarrassing than knocking things over, yelling and running away. Anyway, we got there and there was quite a lot of interesting stuff around in the learning area. There were younger siblings, lots of books and papers, and toys and Lego. So immediately he was distracted. I quietly gave him a few little warnings that when the class started he would need to come away from the Lego and move over to where the lesson was going to happen. He got mad at me for that, saying that he would.
When the teacher asked all the kids to gather, he didn’t. He got mad at her for asking him to come over, and pulling on my arm on the way past, he exited the house to hide in some bushes outside. Sigh.
I followed and tried to emotion coach him back in. He swiped at my face a few times with his clawed hands, and hissed at me. That’s what he does when his anxiety hits it’s highest point. I tried to keep my patience and explained to him that he couldn’t do that. I also explained that he hadn’t given the class a try like we’d agreed. He had left before even waiting to see what was going to happen. He insisted that they were just going to have to sit and listen and stay still. I explained that actually they had all been given a very quick instruction on something and then were all standing around a table making sun dials right now. He came back inside, but went out the back and sat on their back step.
Every time I approached, he threatened to hit me with a stone he had found.
At the moment, everything seems to make me cry, (pregnancy hormones and lack of chocolate I’m sure!), I insisted that the needed to take some deep breaths and come back inside. I was slowly losing my ability to think clearly because I was also a bit embarrassed by his behaviour in front of the other Mums, even though I know none of them were judging me as they all homeschool for various reasons.
He left the house and ran out the front door again. This time I couldn’t find him at all, up or down the street. I rang my husband in tears and told him that, “he’s being a little poo and I can’t get him to even go inside and sit at the back and listen. Oh, and he’s run off and I’ve lost him.” Thankfully, my husband was able to calm me down from the other end of the phone and told me to offer him an ultimatum. Either he joins the class in some way that is positive, or he goes home and sits at the dining table for the rest of the day doing book work and writing lessons out.
Thankfully, about five minutes later, my son entered the house again,
Son: ” I walked around the block and I’ve calmed down now.”
Me: “That’s great. Are you ready to join the class now? If not, we can go home and do book work instead for the rest of today.”
Son: “Yes, I’ll try it”
He then went and apologised to the teacher, sat down and made a sundial! That is definitely progress. He still didn’t really participate like the other kids for the rest of the class after the break (it only went for an hour!! with a 10 minute break in the middle…), but afterwards when I asked him what he had learnt I found that he had actually absorbed most of the lesson quite well, despite not even facing the area it was happening. He insists of course that it’s crap and he’s not going back, but I’ve offered the alternative of group classes with more interesting learning, or book work at the dining table, so hopefully I’ll get him there every Friday and he’ll start to settle in a bit more. Fingers crossed.
I can tell you though, dealing with his anxiety when it’s up is still not an easy task, especially when you are as slow as a turtle and can’t bend over because you are 30 weeks pregnant!