Housing, the play therapist and Dink’s escape attempt!

Things in the hostel are quite a bit better since the woman downstairs moved out! No more late night calls, no more worrying if she is going to make yet another complaint about dinky’s noise and no more going downstairs to find all of her rather large family’s clothes in the machines all day.
I went on this morning to look at what is available this week to bid on. 4 properties! Unfortunately none in the right area, on the plus side though, we were top of the list at 12pm for 3 of them and second for the other! Maybe, just maybe the next time one comes up in the area of dinky’s school then it will be ours! I might have to take the mind advocate with me to see the housing officer (I wouldn’t normally but the housing officer is a pain, and some back up wouldn’t go amiss!), that way I can plead my case for trying to get consideration for the right area if we are very near the top of the list, if something comes up.
It’s that or leave it down to integrated services who have said they are going to try and help with the housing situation! Yay!

The play therapist called today. She asked how WE were getting on. I used capitals because she asks about how I’m doing too which is nice, especially seeing as she doesn’t have to. Dinky is her priority. I told her about the library on Saturday. Fun! Oh well. I also let her know about the CAF and what integrated services said to the deputy. She seemed happy for us. Although when I asked her if it would solve dinky’s problems she said she wasn’t sure. So we will just have to wait and see on that one.

I have been looking over dinky’s learning journal with the childminder today. I think I might have to spend some time working out what was normal age development and what wasn’t. If that fails I might ask the childminder what she thought dinky’s strengths and weaknesses are seeing as she is a trained early years professional (she has quite a few certificates), and she has known dinky since she was 1 year old.

I went to the school to get dinky and the class supervisor (covering for the teacher who was on a course), asked if she could have a word. So I waited. Who walks in? The deputy head. Apparently during lunch dinky said that she wanted to escape and then tried to climb the fence. The deputy had to get involved and talk her down, then had to calm her, and explain that she couldn’t do things like that at school! To be honest I was pretty shocked about the whole thing! The deputy said they were going to have to be more vigilant at the moment! I felt for her because she looked like she was a little stressed and was running out of ideas of how to stop dinky doing it. When she asked dinky why she was doing it she said it was because she wanted me. I know I’m her mum, and I’m the closest person to her in her life but I’m not megamum! I honestly thought she would like a break from me and spend time with other children. I’m at a loss as to what to say!
I might text the play therapist in the morning and let her know what happened at school as she is seeing dinky in the afternoon. Maybe she can get some sense out of her?

I don’t know. I’m getting rather confused by everything dinky orientated right now. I’m trying to work out for sure if dinky has issues other than the housing situation. I’m starting to actually believe there is.

Oh and dinky has a contact book! Shame there is literally only space for about two sentences. I must admit I’m a little disappointed in the teacher. I know she made the effort to actually create the book in the first place but she hasn’t exactly given herself much space to let me know what goes on.. Then again maybe she just doesn’t want to…. However much I really like the deputy and the head, I’m really not impressed with the class teacher!

CAF Form, integrated services, and dinky’s teacher

I’ve never actually spoken to the head but she is lovely. Formidable, but lovely.
We started the form which was done without the questions. Each section was done purely on strengths and needs. It was hard to hear the school’s view of dinky. The look on the deputy’s face when behaviour and independence was brought up, as a parent, was devastating. The deputy has seen dinky first hand. I don’t think I have heard the word challenging so much in my life!
Dinky is slightly behind in her reading, and is behind in PSE in particular managing feelings and behaviour , and listening and attention, which are below age related expectations.
We went through dinky’s strengths and weaknesses in every section. The deputy was diplomatic but needed to accurately describe what happened at school. When it comes to what happens when she is home, I let them know. I had to tell them everything. It was in Dinky’s best interests.
The head teacher was very kind when it came to my own insecurities as a parent, my mental health and the wider family question. It was very hard to discuss some of those things, but again, it is for dinky.
When it was all done I left feeling like I’d completed an exam, and failed.
The worst part was as I left all I could hear was “MUMMY!” It took some time, but eventually they managed to get dinky to a point where I could leave.
I did some shopping in the local shop and as soon as I got home I put some soup in the microwave when my phone rang, I didn’t get to it in time but it was a missed call from the school. I phoned back and it was the deputy. She said integrated services had phoned and wanted to know the circumstances of our homelessness. Apparently she was very optimistic that she could at least help with the housing situation a little faster! I couldn’t believe it! The CAF form had only been completed 20mins before hand! She also told me that integrated services have called a CAF planning meeting (professionals only), for the 12th of February! That is 2 weeks away! I couldn’t believe it! In 2 weeks I might have some support plan for dinky!

My head is spinning!

I tried to relax a little before going back to get dinky from school.
When I went to get her the teacher called me in. We sat down and she told me that they were going to take dinky off the normal reward system at school. At present the kids all start on the fluffy cloud. If they are good they move to the sunshine, if they are really good they move to the rainbow. The flip side is, if they do something naughty their name gets written on the grey cloud, and for persistent bad behaviour (like dinky’s) the name goes on the whiteboard. It is possible to have their picture on the rainbow but their name on the whiteboard. They don’t agree with taking the previous achievement away, however this works both ways as the child will not get their name removed from the board. Every day this week dinky has been on the whiteboard.
So new strategy! Dinky is to have 5 mins in one minute disks. If she is good she gets more minutes, if she is bad she gets minutes taken away. At the end of the day she can use her minutes to pick an activity to do.
I brought up the contact book, and the teacher said that’s fine, but it has to be manageable. So she will do a book and tell me he minutes dinky has. If she has done something bad that will go in the contact book. For instance… Today dinky had to write her name and the teacher had 5 other children to get started in the group. Dinky refused point blank to do it. It took a while but the teacher managed to get her to do her name but she crossed it out and began scribbling. So the teacher said she was going to tell the deputy and went off. In that time dinky wrote her name nicely.
So stuff like that will go in the book.
I asked about the chewing. Apparently dinky does it quite a bit. I told the teacher about the necklace and she said it was a good idea and would ask the deputy if dinky was allowed it in school.
We had a little chat and it seems dinky is getting on ‘better’ with the teacher, but still not doing as she is told. However I did say I had noticed dinky had been ‘more compliant’ when it came to group was in her reading diary and the teacher laughed. She said she loved reading dinky’s reading diary as it had the best comments! I don’t know if that is my version of what happens or some of the things I put down that dinky says about the books. To be honest I thought she was getting annoyed because I kept asking for more printed sheets for the diary. However this time she was prepared and put 3 sheets in!

I guess it has been a very dinky day, but I feel much better knowing things are getting sorted.

Dinky’s mini meltdown, the ultrasound and then massive meltdown!

This morning was pretty ordinary, until we got into the classroom.
Dinky put her bag and coat away ok, put her name on the bard and got her book.. All good! We sit down at the table and open the book to ‘oo’. Dinky also had to write the words foot and food to illustrate the two lengths of ‘oo’ sounds. The f’s were going a little wonky as she wouldn’t sit on her chair properly. I was helping her form them in the correct manner by saying the shape was perfect we just needed the letters the right way up. The classroom was getting busy and I could sense dinky was getting on edge. I tried to keep her calm and focused, then the teacher came over and in her teacher voice (projective voice/not quite shouting but louder than normal) said “Remember today’s sound is ‘oo'” she dropped down to dinkys level and still in the teacher voice asked her how she was doing. Dinky threw the pencil down and hid under the table. I managed to coax her out. We then went off to the library to finish her work. The LSA (learning support assistant) came over and helped calm dinky down a bit as she was still not quite calm. We managed to get dinky to write some more letters and then took it back to the classroom. This morning I left dinky with the new TA, she seemed ok with it, so I left.
I went to the pharmacy and managed to get some more nicotine replacement, and got my money back for the out of date lozenges they sold me yesterday. Went home and did the washing, then thought I would take a little nap. The woman downstairs had other ideas! To be honest I don’t know why she is still here! She got her keys to her brand spanking new house yesterday, surely she would move all her crap in her car that day and leave this ace never to return? Hell, the day I get my keys I will be well shot of this place! It just goes to show what a muppet she really is!
I did manage to get 1 hour of nap time. I went to have a shower but she was bathing her two sons so the shower wasn’t working… Was starting to get more pissed off with her by this point… Move out already! So I had to wait an hour for the shower as this place is so bloody old it has a water tank that needed to refill.
I got to the hospital with 5 minutes until my appointment, as per usual for hospital appointments he was running late. So I started reading my book, and then got called in. The woman in there told me to strip to the waist and lay on the couch while she fetched the specialist. He bounded in, all cheerful asked me to point out the lump and then he started scanning. I felt very tense and my mind kept wondering back to the past. I just felt sick. After a few hmmm’s and ahhh’s he looked at me and smiled. It’s a cyst, we could drain it but it should disappear by itself. He asked if it was painful, when I said it wasn’t, he said he’d leave it in that case and if it got painful just go back to the GP. He said I had quite lumpy breasts and my hormones must be a little haywire and my breasts have reacted. I thought this was one of the oddest things I had heard in my life! It was just the distraction I needed. He looked at me and asked if I was ok, before I got the chance to reply he said “you are ok, I’ll leave you to get dressed, when you are ready go get yourself a nice cup of tea and relax!” and he left. He was lovely, I think he must have picked up on how I was feeling. I got myself ready and walked out. Seeing as I don’t drink tea I just put my headphones in and stopped for a minute. I was feeling a little fragile and for some reason a tad emotional. I sent a message to a woman I have become friends with and let her know it was just a cyst and to thank her for her previous messages she had sent today. I told her I was a little fragile but ultimately relieved that I now know what it is.
Then it was off to get dinky. When I got on the bus my phone rang. It was the mind advocate. She asked how I was and if I’d heard anything back from CMHT. I told her I was ok and that I hadn’t heard anything. She said she would get onto tomorrow for me. That was nice of her.
It started snowing as I walked up to the childminders house. I had no trouble finding the place. I rang the bell and the minder answered. Dinky took one look at me and darted off upstairs. The minder went to get her but dinky was in full screaming meltdown. Once she had managed to get dinky down the stairs I managed to get her to tell me what was wrong even though she was still really distressed. Dinky whispered in my ear that she wanted to stay longer in between racking sobs. When I told her that she couldn’t stay any longer today she starting hitting me. She actually got in a few punches to my face and I was finding it hard to keep my cool. She was rapidly losing her special time for lashing out, she lost the last of it for spitting at me. Between the minder and myself we managed to get dinky’s wellies on, and I literally picked her up and walked her out of the house. The snow was coming down, I hadn’t managed to get her coat on her and the paths were covered in ice. She ran off down an icy slope, my heart was in my mouth. I ran after her and had to hold her for her own safety. I managed to get her calm enough to walk with me. Then I managed to get her coat on her. Then we made it to the bus stop. She was still a little stressed so I told her I loved her very much. Nothing could ever stop me loving her, even when she is upset and angry I still love her. Even when she shouts and hits me, I love her, and that I’m always here for her. We had a cuddle and finally she was back to calm.
Once we got on the bus she seemed much happier and told me that she had fun. She also told me that the older child had taken the younger child’s seat which made her cry, then the minder came to tell the older one off and it was too noisy, so she put her fingers in her ears until it all stopped and then took her hands down when she was given a toy to look at. I thought it was a little odd that it was one of the two things she told me about her day.
I asked her if she had fun with the play therapist and she told me they played with the house and the red squishy frog!
There was no way dinky would have walked the 15 minutes in the snow which was coming down pretty heavy by that point. So I called a cab and we got off the bus. When we got back dinky seemed pretty happy. She had some dinner and then went to bed. I think the 20 minute meltdown affected her. For the first time in a while she fell asleep half an hour after I put her to bed.

Now I’m just drained. It’s been a long afternoon.

So that’s it for today….One less thing to worry about!

My way of getting through….
Bring on tomorrow… It’s just another day!

Today just has not been my day!!!

Dinky woke me up at 5.45am. I had no idea if the school was open or not, I decided to get dinky ready in time just in case it was open. I found out at 7am it was. So we left for school. A little messing about in the snow, but nothing too bad from dinky and all was well.
We got to school, she changed her trousers and shoes in the SEN room, very minor messing about, no issues. Phonics was a bit of a nightmare, but it wasn’t a chaotic as normal as not many people came at 8.30. Dinky didn’t run off, but was vey easily distracted by everyone else. She made quite a bit of noise and the teacher came over and told her to be quiet as other children were working. It was at that point that I realised there was no TA and no staff member to greet dinky. I let the teacher I know I was leaving and that dinky was playing with her friend. I went to find one of the other mums but she was still doing phonics with her daughter so I went to check on dinky as the teacher had 29 other kids to look after. Through the window I could see dinky and 2 other kids messing about at the door the other end of the classroom. I kept watching and dinky could have gone anywhere and no one would have been any the wiser. The teacher saw me and came out, at that point the deputy head was with dinky. I said I was fine, I was waiting for another parent. I went back over to the other classroom and saw that both TA’s were in that class. I was a little confused because it was in the risk assessment I signed just last week that dinky is to be greeted by a member of staff.
When the other mum came out, we went down to the bus stop. I found out that the teacher hadn’t arrived so they put the two TA’s in that class. The journey to the bus stop was 60% the other mum moaning that the school was open, 20% her moaning about her daughter not eating breakfast because she was watching tv and 20% me trying to discuss dinky with no avail.
I went home, phoned the council (my dad wants to move up here, so wanted to find out if he was eligible for housing benefit as it is more expensive here than it is where he is), he is eligible for a 1 bedroom. I phoned the county council about travel to school when dinky turns 5, the person I needed to speak to was in a meeting. I logged onto the housing website and would have been second on the list at 10 am but it was the wrong area.
I got bored and decided to go to the library to find any books to deal with dinky. On the way there, I popped into the pharmacy as I had completely ran out of nicorette lozenges (which are fantastic!). I had gone on friday but apparently they only had one person able to ‘administer the cessation medication’ and she happened to be out at that point. She doesn’t work Saturdays and then I found today she doesn’t work Monday’s either. I was slightly annoyed that the only person who was qualified to run the cessation service was not a full time member of staff! Helpful…. Not! I tried to explain that I was quite frustrated that there was only one person able to run it, what if she was sick for two weeks, the service would presumably be cancelled? So much for ‘pledging our hearts to keep yours healthy’! So I ended up paying for the lozenges.
I got a book out called ‘how to calm a challenging child’. It’s not a bad book. Most of it is common sense. Unfortunately it isn’t all that common though! If you can get past the putting your own frustration and agenda to one side and think of things from the child’s perspective then it’s all good… Well, thanks captain obvious. I think most parents have problems with not snapping at children in certain circumstances for instance…
When they suddenly become incapable of putting on their own socks on the ONE day when you are running behind in the morning, and you cant do it yourself as you are busy trying to find your keys that you later find they have hidden in their toy box!
when you get an important phone call and they decide that it is precisely the moment when you get into a flow of conversation that they desperately need to talk to you, need to know who is on the phone, need food, need a drink or just need your undivided attention.
When you take them to the park and give them time warnings, yet when it is time to go, they scream like they are being murdered and run like they are being chased by the boogeyman!
I could go on, but wont! There are a few things I will try to incorporate in my discipline, how successful they will be, I have no idea.
I was going to get dinky and bumped into the childminder. She had found someone to have dinky tomorrow, dinky knows her, I however, do not. So I walked with her and waited to meet the other minder. She was late so I went to get dinky. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the teacher as I still had to meet the person picking dinky up. I ended up watching my friends son, and the childminders son while she looked for one of the other kids who had managed to get lost among the sea of children in the playground.
It was at that point I got a call from the county council regarding the travel to school. I explained that the hostel was the opposite end to town to dinky’s school and when she turns 5 it will cost me £75 a month to keep her in school. The response was less than helpful. Not only do we not qualify because dinky doesn’t go to the nearest school to where we live but they won’t offer assistance to those in temporary addresses. So I had dinky messing about in the snow, I had my friend’s autistic son trying to play in the snow but I had hold of his wrist reins, the childminder’s son was throwing snowballs at the teachers cars and I was scanning for the 4 year old that had gotten herself lost in the crowd, and the guy on the other end of the phone was being less than helpful, so as politely as I could I ended the call whilst conveying my disgust at the lack of help he was offering. Once I put the phone down I realised how much of a muppet he was! Being the schools transport something or other for the area, you would think he would have more sense than to phone at 3pm, which he should be aware is home time for the majority of primary schools in the area!
I met the childminder having dinky. She seemed really nice and dinky recognised her so I feel a little better about leaving her there.
We got the bus and I managed to keep dinky occupied by reading the two books in her book bag. She wasn’t too interested in both of them but still liked me reading. Walking home was a bit of a nightmare as she wouldn’t wear her hat or her gloves. the gloves was more of an issue as she felt the need to brush the snow with her hands and squeeze it between her fingers. Her hands were red raw but she didn’t complain about them.
We got home and I went for the lozenges I begrudgingly paid for and was fiddling with the box only to find the bloody things were out of date by 3 months!
I completely forgot to write the petition header on a work issue for my dad so did that while dinky had dinner.
Dinky decided she wasn’t going to go to sleep because she wasn’t tired. Then 1 hour later she asked me what my phone number was, she got really agitated and insistent that she had to have it that instant. I was quite concerned by how upset she was getting about it. So I wrote it down and we agreed I would put it in her book bag right there and then. She wanted her book bag next to her bed, again very insistent. She seemed much happier knowing it was there.
I spoke to my dad and told him what the council said and gave him his petition header. I told him about dinky and the morning. At that point I got quite annoyed because I realised that before the deputy head came out dinky could have gone anywhere so much for ‘Staff to be extra vigilant when the gates are unlocked between 8:40am and 9:30am’. No one would have been any the wiser as the part ‘dinky will be greeted by a member of staff to ensure they know when she has arrived in the mornings.’ was not adhered to either. I’m guessing if I approached them about it they would say that the teacher knew she had arrived (despite the fact she had no idea that the deputy was taking to her in the corridoor outside the classroom.) and that the deputy had spoken to her so was vigilant. I’m guessing if dinky hadn’t have been messing about and quietly run off she could have been anywhere. Now I know how they lost her for 45 minutes in the first term!
Fair enough dinky shouldnt be behaving like that, but there is nothing I can do from home, I also can not reinforce the schools position if I had only been told once that she had gone missing yet was told a week ago that she had done it ‘on numerous occassions’!

Well at least I haven’t had a chance to really think about tomorrow!

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, well at least before 3.40pm, I don’t think tomorrows appointment could be included in any good day.

So until tomorrow!