Friday, 22 May 2015

“The Kindness of a Stranger”


We continue to wait for further news regarding the appointment for J’s full assessment, and while we wait Daddy P and I continue to muddle along as best we can, working hard to keep J’s routine in place, giving him a timer to help him understand limited amounts of time and what needs to be done within that time, making sure that even if he doesn’t feel the same himself that he understands why others might feel the way they do.

Something that we regularly have issues with is school drop-off. Some days, you’ll get there and the teachers have just opened the door – days like these tend to be easier, because then J will see the teachers and his classmates rushing in and he’ll grab his stuff and say goodbye and charge off eagerly to be with his friends. Some days, it’ll be a few minutes before the door opens and in those few minutes J gets bored with waiting, and distracted. I try to keep hold of him as I know that once he runs off and starts playing I won’t be able to call him back easily – it’ll take me ages calling him, trying to catch him, before I manage to get him and take him to the ramp that leads up to the door. Other days he’ll grab onto my leg when the door opens and refuse to let go – he’ll get upset about leaving me, says things like he wants to stay at home with me to make sure I’m OK.

Twice this week, I’ve had the running away experience. Earlier this week when he did it, I’d been holding his hand right til the last minute, and let go of him only to usher him up the ramp, and he turned round, dropped his things, and ran off in the opposite direction. As I stood there feeling deflated and wondering why he did these things, a young girl ran over to me and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get him,” She then wandered over to him casually, held out her hand and said, “Come on J, walk in with me.” He stopped what he was doing and looked at her. I was stood there in disbelief, and he rushed over to her and grabbed her hand, and the pair of them walked over to me. She gathered his things from where he’d abandoned them in a pile at my feet, and handed them to him, took hold of his hand again and they walked in together.

This morning, it seemed we were waiting forever for the door to open and to start with, J was perfectly happy to stay close to me and run around me and one of his classmates mums, with his classmate, chasing one another. Then the door opened and his classmate ran off up the ramp without hesitation – J shot off in the opposite direction. I’d called him and waved at him to come back, but he was off to the play equipment (which he knows he’s not meant to play on) I followed him over there, with my strict mummy voice on, and told him to get off the equipment and hurry up into the school. At first he refused, then he came down the slide and ran toward the ramp as if he was going to go in without further issue – then he changed his mind again, ran past the end of the ramp and carried on playing. Just as I was standing there wondering what to do for the best, the same young girl came over to me and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get him” for the second time this week, and she calmly walked over to him and held out her hand again. Once more she took him up the ramp and into the school. I made sure this time that I spoke with the teacher on the door, to tell her how impressed I was with this girl, because of her helpfulness and the fact that she is so willing to give me a hand getting J into school.

I was told that the same girl often keeps an eye on him in the playground, and despite the fact he’s younger than she is, she’ll let him play with her and her friends, and she’ll often help the teachers at the end of breaktime getting him back into school (it’s not just me who has issues with it then!)

It’s part of what I like about J’s school. It’s called a family school, and I wondered why that was to begin with, but they do have a strong family ethic of looking after one another. Older kids will play with younger kids, with understanding for the difference in their ages and compassion if the younger ones get injured in the playground (they escort younger ones to the first aid room) The older kids who do well are made into monitors who then spend an afternoon or two each week assisting in other classrooms – J has developed a bit of a thing for a year six girl who comes into his class on a Friday to sharpen the colouring pencils and who sits and does some reading and drawing with a couple of the children (normally including J!) The teacher on the door in the mornings isn’t a teacher who teaches J’s class - yet she knows his name and has done for some time. She’ll call him in the mornings when she sees him hurrying toward the ramp, he knows her and chats to her about his interests and what has happened and how he’s feeling. Today she was chatting to me about our plans for half term; she was saying to me that she’s found stickers work well for getting J into school after break time. It’s definitely motivation that works for J – since doing the sticker diary at home in the evenings he’s trying really hard to earn as many stickers as possible.

I don’t know anything about this girl apart from the fact that she doesn’t bat an eyelid at J throwing a wobbly and she remains calm and offers her hand for him to take when he’s not feeling co-operative. The kindness of strangers doesn’t have to be anything massive, but twice this week the same young girl has shown me how much of an effect a simple act of kindness has.

Peace & Love,

Mummy P


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