Today was Jude’s last day of school so he’s back now for a four week summer holiday. I was having one of my “moments” during the week where I rotate on a vicious circle of guilt, sadness, missing Jude, guilt, bad mum-feelings, etc. and it made me consider the reasons why I so often feel this way. He’s been at his school for one full school year now so I thought I’d summarise how it can feel to have a child at residential school*.
*how it feels as a slightly unhinged mother of a Jude.
So…with the first year gone, how does it all make me feel??
- I feel I’ve lost control of my son
Day to day, I don’t have any immediate say in what Jude does. I know this is something I realised before he went to this school but it doesn’t get any easier. I call every single day to speak to Jude when he’s back at the house but sometimes, Jude being Jude, he doesn’t want to talk. Most of the time he does but you know what children are like. I always speak to his support staff and they are fantastic with updating me on what he’s been up to, how transitions to and from school have been and if Jude did anything exciting after school. I still feel out of control which I guess I largely am. They obviously ask my permission for certain things but other situations, such as food, clothing, what Jude can watch on tv, is very much down to them. Don’t get me wrong, I completely trust the support staff. They’re wonderful. It’s just odd handing over control.
- I feel like I’m a bit of a burden at times.
Following on from the above – the poor Support staff are wildly busy each day and they know for a fact that some time between 5pm and 6pm, I’m going to call. It must be annoying but I’m grateful that they pander to my needs. I guess that’s part of their remit really.
- I feel proud that Jude has an expanded circle of trust
I’ve talked before (click here) about the web of people around Jude and how it’s hard to let new members into our web because of trust and understanding. Well, Jude’s school is awesome and it’s really cool that he has a new layer of people he knows he can rely on and who he considers to be his friends.
- Jude is learning to be independent
Ok, he won’t be taking on a mortgage any time soon BUT they managed to achieve things at school that I’ve never done at home. Jude has learnt how to do his own washing!!! I’m not sure this happens consistently but nevertheless, he knows how to do it. He’s learning how to buy things in a shop. Money is a key topic with Jude – how to use it, what coins can buy what, etc. And several times a week he enjoys trips to the local shop to buy a few bits with his pocket money. He’s also learning that his opinion and wants really matter. At his school house, they ask what he’d like to do, respect his answer as no when it’s no and help him to organise outings with his house-mates if he fancies an impromptu picnic. These independent living skills are one of the main reasons I wanted him to go to this school so big high fives to everyone there!
- Jude has become more able to cope
His school has been fantastic at teaching him coping mechanisms for situations he struggles with. For example, his school fete a few weeks ago. He didn’t like the business and how different his school looked so he slunk away and sat in reception, chatting to everyone to came his way. His meltdowns are fewer and gentler in their duration. He can bring himself out of one so much easier these days. He has so many calming influences around him at school, it’s helped him so much. I’m really proud of him in this area as his meltdowns were something that terrified me.
- His career path and talent has become apparent
We have realised that Jude needs to be a doorman when he’s older. His ability to remember literally everyone’s name in the whole, entire school is remarkable. He knows where everyone is meant to be and even told off one of his support staff for being late last month haha
I’ll leave it at that but naturally (you know what I’m like), I have a billion other thoughts on this subject…
Super happy with year one though 🙂