Autism. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Four days of one weekend. And each one was completely different.
Friday was a massive school excursion to Wollongong. I knew it would be stressful for him with lots of travel, waiting, sitting and listening and then the manic excitement of the Science Centre, so I kept him home with me.
We had a great day with lots of thinking and partnership activities. We went shopping for new shoes and a few other items. We did some photocopying at school for his teacher's aide. He pressed the buttons and I organised the pages. Then we sorted out the pages into order together. We went to the post office, and he helped me write the return address on the envelope. We even cleaned up his room together.
It was a really wonderful guide-apprentice type day.
Saturday was hectic. We went to watch his sister's netball game for the first time, where he ate too many lollies (shared by a little brother of a team mate). Then we drove nearly two hours to Sydney where we stopped in on two sets of grandparents and a friend. He ate ice-cream, biscuits and McDonalds. Not a happy combination.
On Sunday, he wasn't coping. He was hyper, bossy and over-chatty. We had things on until 1pm and after that he was so talkative that I was going crazy and ended up putting Norah Jones on the ipod, turned up LOUD so that he was tuned out and I could relax. Much of his conversation was about how he wasn't happy at school.
"I don't like looking and listening," he said. "I want to go to a different school."
On Monday I hoped things would return to normal. He went to school, but didn't have a great day. He cried in the classroom, and when I came over to do RDI, he was clearly uptight and upset.
"I want to go home at 1.15," he kept saying. "I want to change schools. I'm not supposed to be here. I'm interested in home things, not school things."
I ditched the game I'd brought with me when it was clear he was too upset to cope and instead we played pirates and crocodiles in the play equipment.
When I sent him back to class, he saw that everyone was making Easter Hats. He's never been keen on craft, and quite honestly, I don't think he sees the point of making a funny hat for a parade. He started to cry, so I read stories with him in the corner until lunch.
I had a chat to his teacher and we both think he's tired. We both think that forcing him to go when he's clearly unhappy is counter productive and could bring about a big downward spiral which would be very hard to overcome.
So from now until the end of the term (only another two weeks) I'm going to send him sporadically, even for half days and they'll focus on trying to make things happier for him. I'll give the things like cross country and easter hat parade a total miss and focus at home on having happy guide-apprentice type days where we do things together and slow down our thinking and problem solving skills.