There’s a lot of things you take for granted when you have a child. That they’ll talk, walk, dress themselves etc. One thing I took for granted is that my children would have friends. I met my oldest friends aged two and they’re still stuck with me now after all.
But when you have a child with SEN, it’s not that easy.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to read about Tilly was a report about 18 months ago that stated that other children were scared of her. 100% true and 100% justified but utterly soul destroying. Tilly always wanted to have friends but she couldn’t behave appropriately around other children, her love for them involved ripped out chunks of their hair, skin and faces. It was pretty horrendous. There was a lot of blood. No exaggeration.
Last summer after eighteen months of various epilepsy medications with hideous side effects that caused her to be incredibly violent and volatile I decided enough was enough. She wasn’t happy. I took her off the massive doses of drugs she was on.
Best decision I ever made. The difference was almost immediate. Her brother could be around her for the first time in his life. I could go to the toilet and not have to close her into her bedroom to keep him safe from her. They have Friday night sleepovers in her bedroom and curl up together. These are siblings I had to separate with a metal room divider at one point to stop her from tearing him apart.
Tilly started special school in September alongside some of her peers from Nursery. They remembered her and rightfully so they were scared. A few months Tilly was chosen by another boy in the class as his friend during a friendship activity. I cried when I found that one out.
Tilly’s behaviour around other children improves every day. Through the impressively hard work and determination of the staff at her school, she has been taught and has learnt how to behave appropriately around other children most of the time.
Today Tilly had her first ever play date with the other girl in her class. They went to Nursery together too and Tilly targeted her as she loves her and her hair is especially long and lovely to pull 😫. But not anymore. Both girls were happy to see eachother. They sat together with her younger sister in a restaurant and nothing was broken, no one was injured and the place didn’t burn to the ground.
My child finally has friends aged 5 and a bit.
And I have a friend who gets it. ❤️
Hold tight. Here we go.
I stupidly set myself a challenge this summer to be #brave 🙄 and carpe the diem! No more hiding in the safe confines of the house or the local park. The Unexpected family are on a stupid mission to break down the invisible barriers of single parenting a volatile SEN child and her arsehole brother. So we began.
Today it has been chucking it down here in sunny Costa Del Gosport. Seeing as Tilly kindly broke the TiVo box and I “spring cleaned” (read as drank a glass of wine and threw out a lot of stuff) all the good DVDs… the paw patrol DVD on loop was wearing thin by the middle of the morning. I probably would’ve called it a PJ day but it’s likely I would’ve chucked the TV or a child out of the window if I had to ponder why there’s a town somewhere where they rely on a child and his puppies to save them from ridiculous events every day. Where are Ryder’s parents? Are they dead? Why hasn’t anyone commented on the mayor being unstable…? Is it all symbolic of the afterlife? Why is there only one girl pup? The questions go on and on and on. So PJ day was cancelled. Plus I had this stupid #brave challenge to do. Ugh.
Much screaming, sweating, shouting and wrestling later, all three small gingers were loaded up into the car ready to take the pup for a walk. We got there, I managed to unload and rebuilt the massive buggy complete with stupid buggy board and massive raincover and loaded children onto it and off we went. Ten paces down the path into the woods I realised my first mistake. I was wearing sliders. Bloody sliders. In wet and windy woods. The kids were wrapped up in their coats and wellies and there I was, in just a dress and sliders, I had forgotten to pack myself anything practical. The ultimate symbol of motherhood that. We will pretend it was my self sacrifice and not my utter lack of preparation that caused this.
For the next half an hour or so, all was well. Arlo enjoyed every puddle, Tilly enjoyed sitting in her chariot and the dog enjoyed his ball. Off we wandered into the woods and up the hill. Lovely. A few ankle deep puddles, but as it turned out, sliders are great for the woods, my feet were dry again in minutes. Score.
It was on the way back that disaster struck. About five minutes from the car was a little bridge over a river/duck pond with a little island about four metres from the path. Determined to tire the dog out, I threw the ball into the pond for a few minutes whilst he dove in and brought it back. Then for some unknown reason, the stupid pea brain decided to get up onto the little island and then decided he was stuck. Here he is:
Cue chaos. One dog woofing and crying. One Arlo attempting to drown himself in the pond and one Tilly joining in with the noise for good measure. A crowd formed, well meaning dog walkers offered suggestions on how to get the stupid dog to remember he could indeed swim and hop off the little island and come back. Oh no. The dog continued to cry and bark. And then it happened. Right in front of a whole crowd of people, my darling dog, the one I take loving pictures of and post all over instagram, projectile shat ALL OVER the little island. Ever seen the exorcist? Yeah. Like that. Mortified. “Bless him he must be nervous” one dog walker kindly remarked. Yeah, nervous I was going to drop kick him into the swans and let them eat him. 😑
He continued his one dog drama show for another ten minutes, whilst I calculated whether or not I liked him enough to wade out and get the idiot ( I don’t, that was never happening) until finally another dog stole his ball and he jumped in like it was no bother at all. Little bastard. He trotted off up the path, oblivious to the thirty minute shit show hed just staged. Bastard.
Things improved, I introduced Arlo to the art of blackberry picking “red ones make you poo, low ones taste like doggy wee” was our mantra and now I will be spending the next fortnight trying to get blackberry stains out of Tilly’s clothes 😣.
Still, week one of #brave challenge done and no one died so… job done ✅