Yesterday I cried. I cried on my own, into a pillow; I cried into my mum’s arms; I sobbed into Mr OG’s chest and I wept in the headmaster’s office. I wasn’t crying as England crashed out of the world cup. I wasn’t breaking down ‘cos Cas had pissed all over my side of the bed during his nap and I wasn’t overcome with emotion finding out one of the kid’s passports had expired when they need it to visit their State-side gran in 2 weeks. I was crying, hurting and lost – after 482 days/68 weeks/15 months and 25 days it felt like we were back at square one with Hugo – a two day school suspension.
Before I say anymore, I must point out that it is a just sanction for unacceptable behaviour (hitting two of his peers, who are fine now) and I support the difficult decision the school have made. But unfortunately, knowing it’s right doesn’t ease the heartbreak and disappointment, or stop the tears from freely flowing.
I was tempted to keep this to myself, to shield Hugo’s actions from the world, to hold it close and keep it private. But, what this community has proved to me over the past two years of sharing H’s bumpy, then less-bumpy journey is that this isn’t just our ‘journey’, this is a road that lots of you are on too – at various stages along the way; if you’re not on that journey, you know someone who is and want, so desperately, to help them. Plus, I’ve learnt through my psycho-babble past, that holding this to myself, within our walls, will only create a tornado of shame – which will eventually gather enough speed and furiosity to cause destruction. Sharing is not only cathartic, it’s what I set out to do with this blog – to ensure no-one ever feels as alone as I have when sat in that village hall toddler group, walking into the school playground or under the duvet in a snotty mess.
Although it’s the same old punishment with the same old outward “I don’t care” reaction from H, it’s different this time. We’ve gone 482 days knowing a different way, a better way, an easier way. He’s proved what an amazing boy he can be and is underneath those moments of silly rage. I’m proud of him and his achievements. He’s (nearly) reached the end of year 6 with memories of trips, friendships, sports events and productions – memories I doubted he would make when we were considering removing him from the school (to prevent expulsion) 16 months ago.
For 16 months I’ve promised a “Hugo Update” with the tips, tricks and knowledge we’ve used to keep H on the straight and narrow – why we were considering a “managed move” to another school, why I went guns blazing on the (previous) headmaster who thought Hugo shouldn’t go on a school trip due to past bad behaviour, why we chose to stay at the school Hugo’s been at since reception, the parenting course I took to better communicate with H and all the bits in between.
So many of you have asked what’s changed/what you can do to help your little firecrackers/is there an end? I filmed that update twice, deleted twice and pledged to re-do it. But, the reason I found it impossible to share that insight to our past year and a bit, was partly because I didn’t want to jinx it, but also as I felt like a fraud. I don’t have the answers, there is no cure and my child will never be perfect – so who am I to give advise on troubled kids? I’ve failed and failed again. I will likely continue to fail. But that doesn’t make me a failure – that makes me a tryer. And that’s what this is about, this whole parenting thing – it’s about not giving up. Especially on the person that needs you the most – in my case, it’s often the one who tells me to “go away/I don’t care/I’m a shit person and will always be!” – I’m equally as proud of him (which is brimming pride btw) and his hard work for the past 16 months, as any of the others’ accomplishments.
We used to go 2-3 days between school suspensions. This time we went a whole 482 days. That’s progress. So, while I don’t feel equipped right now to share my knowledge in the comfort that it works; I can’t share the secrets to changing your “spirited” child to a ‘normal’ member of their class – I can share HOPE. All 482 days of hope.
Here’s to the next 482 days x
If you’re a bit unsure of what I’ve been rambling on about for the last 600 words, here’s some previous blog posts on the subject which might help:
- How Do You Solve A Problem Like H
- The Loneliness of Being the Mum of a Naughty Boy
- Birthday Party Rejection