September marks the start of the new school year and an opportunity to look ahead and plan for the coming months. For our household, September has seen M starting at his new school as well as a number of appointments to make and keep regarding his health. There’s been so much to deal with that, for my own sanity as well as ease of reading, I’ve spread my thoughts over a couple of blog posts.
School-wise, the start of term has gone amazingly well for both M and G, who have enjoyed meeting their new teachers and are slowly settling down into their new school routines. G was a little nervous on the first couple of days meeting her new teachers (she has 2 who job-share), but her class is the same, so she’s with her friends. It’s hard to believe that my first-born is starting in Year 5 and makes me feel old to realise that I’ve been parenting for nearly a decade.
Sadly, the continued use of Movicol meant that M wasn’t able to start back without wearing a pull-up as we had hoped. The risk of an accident during school hours and the massive negative impact this would have on him left the school and us in agreement that the pull-up was a necessary evil, and M reluctantly agreed. It has been hard to judge his real feelings about this as he has been deliberately disengaged from the decision-making, which has been no surprise at all. He just doesn’t want to face this new reality at the moment and who can blame him? His biggest fear is that his classmates might find out, but the school and I have worked alongside each other to make sure this possibility is minimised. The pull-up is hidden by his underwear – a sensible pair of trunks long enough to cover it completely – and school suggested he uses the classroom toilet to change for PE, away from prying eyes.
His sensitivity to his “different” lunch-box has been handled well by his new teacher, Miss K, who suggested a special circle time at the end of the first week to introduce his diet and health issues to the class. By the Friday, M had decided he was open to answering any questions his new friends might have and, as we expected, most of them revolved around what he could or couldn’t eat. Following that Q&A session, Miss K has also suggested that perhaps we could arrange a “tasting” session for the class, so that they can see, taste and understand some of the foods M has to eat. M loves the idea of being able to share his diet with his new friends and is drawing up a list of what to take into school as we speak.
School have also made allowances regarding his use of the toilets and impressed me by thinking around the matter of which toilets he would need to access. They considered what could happen if the toilet was in use when he needed to go and have given him special permission to use the Year 6 boys toilet, which is just along the corridor. They’ve also agreed that as long as the adult in charge is aware he’s dashing off to the loo, then he can forego the need to ask permission before he leaves the classroom or playground. All important when time really is of the essence.
All of this is a refreshing change for us and a real affirmation that we made the right decision in choosing to move schools. Their positive approach to working with us and with M means that we all feel a great deal more relaxed about the school day. School are keen that the day is as stress-free for M as it can be and the effect of this on M is clear, as so far we’ve had no toileting issues at school and he is the happiest we’ve seen him in a long time. They really have restored my confidence that M will be supported as he needs and the lines of communication are very much open for us all.