Back to School, back to books

Joshua returns to school today after being off for over two weeks. I do not know if he understands or not, or if he chooses to disbelieve me or if he knows exactly what is going on. when I reminded him that it was back in the ‘bus’ to school last night while he was having a bath, he shook his head vigorously either in denial or disbelief. Today pre-Christmas normality resumes : the taxi will come around 8.20, he will take a packed lunch, he will have a full day at school, creating havoc, and Yorkshire Grandma is coming back from her daughter’s house, where she has stayed over Christmas, to greet him at the end of the school day. He will have no more lie ins until 9.30 and then a morning in his den in his pyjamas, so this week might come as a shock to his system.

It is  a big week too as not only does he need to find the energy to return to school, but he also has his respite weekend at the end of the week. So he will go from spending 24/7 with his parents, to being away from us from Friday morning, until Monday evening. Possibly he cannot wait  for that, it is certainly not normal for a 17 year old to spend so much time at home with their parents over Christmas I am sure, but I have loved having all of that time together and I will miss him.

This year is not only Joshua’s 18th birthday, but of course, that of his peers – the babies that we spent the first years of our lives socialising with. I met and became friends with five mothers at ante natal class and the first of our group to deliver a baby, came on Boxing day, so she is 18 already. Another girl was 18 last weekend and she had a family meal and then went drinking with her friends. We have had an invitation to the third ‘baby’s’ 18th birthday party at the end of this month and we will be delighted to go and celebrate with her family. Again I am told that she will be going into our local city after the family celebration with her friends, so it will not be a late party. The two boys will be 18 exactly a fortnight before Joshua, next month, during the half term holidays and I have not heard yet how they will celebrate.

We have not yet decided how we will celebrate this anniversary with Joshua, but we too will probably plan a family party as well as something with friends. The fifth of March falls on a Tuesday this year and so he will be at school on his actual birthday, so I will send in party food so that sixth form can make a fuss of him, before we do something in the evening together. I would love to know how Joshua would like to celebrate, so that we could reflect that in our planned celebrations, but I suspect that as long as it involves food  – preferably Donald’s sadly -and people that he loves, he will be satisfied. It is more of a momentous ‘coming of age’ to us than to him and Joshua will not be desperate to go to the pub with us, to enjoy his first legal beer, as many of his peers do. He has tried his Dad’s beer before and has never been impressed, so he may be sticking with his beloved orange juice.

So let’s  get back to the normality of school days for another couple of months, before we begin to party again. I know how quickly Joshua’s birthday slides in after Christmas and New Year, and by then we will be into Spring and this is how the year slides away from under our feet.

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Back to School, back to books……

I see from parents’ Facebook posts, that this long summer holiday has been diffcult for some families to handle and so this will be a week of mixed emotions for them :

There are those whose autistic children have not been able to understand the change and have asked for school for everyday of the holidays. I know that some parents have had to drive to the school, to prove that it was really closed! There are those who have not been able to express their confusion, but have simply responded to the change by displaying challenging behaviour at home and when out in public.

There are those who will struggle to get back into school routine this week, who have got out of the way of an early bed and early rising routine – this used to be us! I could never imagine by September how I ever got Joshua up and dressed by 8am! However this summer, Joshua has maintained his 9pm-7/8am sleep pattern during the holidays, which will suit well, so no adjustment should be needed.

There will be last minute school shoe shopping, which most Mums seem to do but I have never really understood, as it has only been six weeks, so why would their feet expand in that time? Joshua has worn big, clumpy NHS boots over his splints  for years now and so, shoe shopping has not been a necessity for us for a very long time. If I get time, I will polish them though.

I enjoy Joshua’s company, so the main thing for me will be the adjustment to not having him around as much : I will see him for an hour maximum in the morning and that getting ready time is usually pretty full on! Then on work days, Yorkshire Grandma will meet him from school and I will see him for a couple of hours when I get home from work. As that after-work time also has to involve preparing and eating an evening meal – Yorkshire Grandma feeds Joshua almost as soon as he gets in from school – and the bathtime routine, that is also a busy time of day.

Joshua goes back to school on Wednesday this week, so he is having a day out with his Dad, Aunt and two younger cousins today ,to cram some last minute fun in. So he will only have a three day week to adjust in this week. In the old days, he was always extra-sleepy after a holiday, but I am not expecting that drowsiness at school this year. Judging by how lively he has been over the holidays, I think , and hope, he will continue to approach life at 100mph!