Things are pretty grim here right now.
None of the girls are sleeping too well at the moment and that does not make for a happy day. There’s a lot of anxiety related goings on.
After crying on Mr FO5’s shoulder again this morning we decided that we’d have a go at holding one of those ‘family meetings’.
So we sat down in a circle with the girls and talked about what a meeting was and why we were going to have one.
The all looked very excited at the prospect of something new but none of them wanted to go first.
So Mr FO5 went first and he talked about the way things have been lately and how its been making him feel, I went next and I talked about how hard I was finding it to understand what they want/need when they don’t actually tell me, things like being hungry, having a headache, being worried about something, not liking something, having shoes that hurt their feet, the list goes on.
Baby girl went next, she talked about the new ‘social skills group’ that she’s been attending at school and how she was feeling anxious about what they were going to be doing in this weeks session. They’d been told they were doing something different apparently ‘and I’m confused about it Mommy’ she said.
Big girl and middle girl were reluctant to share anything still so baby girl grabbed the opportunity to share something else. ‘well, its my car seat, its not very comfortable really and it makes my bottom ache’ she said, whilst holding back the urge to laugh, a lot, I suggested we got some little cushions to see if they helped.
Seeing how easy it was and realising that mommy and daddy might actually do something to help, middle girl told us about something she’d been worried about. There is a boy in her class, he’s an angry boy, he’s been asking to play with middle girl and her friend and they’ve been reluctant it seems, the boy has reacted by shouting and getting angry and threatening to have his dad beat them up. Middle girl has been worried about this. We had a talk and I assured her that no one was going to beat her up and that I would speak with her teacher about the threats the boy has been making. We also talked about the boy and how he might be feeling. Middle girl is angry, she suppresses her anger for now, but its there, bubbling away under the surface. I suggested that maybe this little boy didn’t have anyone to play with and was feeling sad, but like her, perhaps he didn’t know how to show his ‘sad’ so instead got angry. She seemed to understand.
Big girl was still reluctant to share anything but we encouraged her. After lots (20 minutes) of umming and ahhing and a few trips to the bathroom for each of them we were about to give up when finally she opened up ‘I dont like it on the playground’ she said, we asked her to try and explain why ‘Its just that sometimes I don’t have anyone to play with’, she said. Friendships have always been difficult for big girl, she’s autistic so social situations can be very confusing for her. We talked about the children that she thinks she’d like to play with, which are also the children her teacher has suggested she play with, she goes on to tell me that whilst she does play with them at break times, often they’re not on the playground at lunch times because they’re on ‘dinner duty’. I didn’t have a solution to offer her because I don’t really understand the lunch time situation fully but I did promise her that I’d speak with her teacher and see if we could find a solution, she seemed happy with that. I’m also going to ring the Autism Outreach Team and see if they can offer any advice, I hate to think of my big girl feeling lonely at school.
We returned the conversation to the issues that Mr FO5 and I had raised and asked them if they had any idea’s about what we could do about those. Baby girl reeled off a huge list of all the wonderful things they could do to make everything better, and her sisters dutifully nodded their heads in agreement. We ended the meeting there with some pinky promises to try our best and said we’d have another meeting next week to talk about the changes we’ve made and how things are going.
So that was our first meeting, the pleasantries between the girls lasted around an hour before the bickering continued.