Today I am going to a local parent carer event, there will be lots of profesionals from all over the county.
If they know who I am, chances are I’ve been fierce mama bear to them or one of their colleagues. The one thing they don’t seem to realise is that I never wanted to be.
I never wanted to learn the law surrounding illegal exclusions, or know the SEN code of practice, or the law regarding social care assessments and having to relearn it all with a change in the SEN code of practice just as I thought I was getting the hang of the first one.
I never wanted to send angry emails, or have strained conversations through gritted teeth. I never wanted to debate the level of my child’s disability vs criteria that is never fully complete or accessible to parents.
I never wanted any of it, I was backed into a corner by having a ‘complex’ child who needed an advocate who understood their behaviour was communicating severe discomfort due to being a square peg who was being hammered relentlessly in to a round hole. Real wooden pegs don’t scream, children however don’t always know how to articulate their feelings especially if they don’t understand them themselves, so yes, they might just throw tables and chairs, they might try to escape, they might refuse to engage.
As a parent I didn’t expect to come up against such rigid and unhelpful systems, I didn’t expect to have to explain my child’s needs to the people who are meant to understand it.
Frustration and watching your child in such a bad way, it awakens the primal mother bear who becomes fierce and fights. When that fight comes from all angles is it really that far a reach to assume that the mother bear sees all professionals as hammer wielders intent on breaking more of their child, intent on finding ways to mould her just enough to get her through the round hole so they don’t have to find a square one that fits?
We finally got our square hole for Dinky, mama bear only comes out occasionally now, yet still, I don’t want to be mama bear. I want to just be mum to my wonderful square peg Dinky.