Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Good day, but bad news

Firstly, the good day. Here's how I have written it for the Teachers TV blog:


Day 4 - Outing

Today we went with fourteen other families to "Godstone Farm" ( It was a great day, despite the cold wind!

The children enjoyed playing in the huge outdoor play area, touring the animals, and spending some time in the indoor play area (we managed to convince the kids that they were cold, though actually it was us adults that were turning blue!).

It was such a nice atmosphere, and there were several classic "home ed" moments.

A new home educator had turned up, a Dad, and he commented on how well the children all seemed to get on, without any of the "usual" bickering, arguing or bullying that he expected from a bunch of kids.

We all agreed that one of the differences HE makes is that if there *are* problems, you are there on hand as a parent. With a school, they tell you "we'll handle it" but you don't know that they will, nor that they will handle how *you* want it handled.

We had a prime example. In the course of playing in the indoor area, one of my sons was crawling through a very small section, when someone sat on his feet to trap him. Just done in the spirit of a game, but of course for him, especially with the Aspergers, it was awful. He got incredibly distressed, and I had to go and make sure he was released.

He took an age to calm down, but I suggested he went and spoke to the mum of the girl, which he did. She then spoke quietly with her daughter.

In the meantime, I explained to him that, just as when he had earlier grabbed someone by the throat and hurt him - but said he "hadn't meant to", so this girl had - yes intentionally - sat on his feet, but she hadn't meant to distress him. It was just the game.
However, the girl came over and very genuinely, very contritely, apologised to him. He said "that's ok", and then offered her a polo. When she said thanks, he said "well, that's what best friends are for".

The new dad was quite amazed, both at how well and how maturely they both handled it, but also how quickly they then moved on.

To us, it was HE in action!

Again, watching the kids run off ahead of us to see the animals, often out of sight of us, was another moment. If it had been a school group, the kids would have had to have been kept on a tight reign, walking together. Totally understandable.

But for us, the kids were relaxed, with their friends, older ones looking after younger ones, plenty of parents on hand, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Getting home, I caught up on my emails. On one of the many email groups that I subscribed to a mum shared how her son, always home educated, and who had chosen not to take exams, had gone to college and taken an arts course then an NVQ in media production. Gaining a distinction in both, he is now at university studying film production. Today she found out that he is to be awarded student of the year from his college. The mum wrote "I'd like to say that I encouraged him to achieve all this butthe truth is it was all down to his own initiative and ambition. I believe thoroughly in autonomous education and I never pushed him to work.. his interest in study was purely down to his own enthusiasm. It really does work!"

I love to hear feedback like that! Not only is it great to share in other people's success, it also acts as an encouragement and a reassurance for us, with that part of the journey still ahead of us.

Home education can be very hard work at times, but it is always rewarding to see your child grow.


So, what was the bad news? Well, Roarke spoke with the health visitor today and she seemed to (finally) come to conclusion that it wasn't still "colic" for Jonathan, but could be lactose intolerance.

Having then sat and read up on it tonight, over and over again I've come across internet sites, chats, blogs, where people describe exactly the same situation I've had with Jonathan - and more than lactose, it has turned out to be GLUTEN that was the culprit.

Bother, dash and blast!

I really, really, REALLY don't want to go gluten free! However, I'm going to have to for at least a week or so to see if it makes a difference. I'm not ignoring the lactose issue, its just that I only have cheese at lunchtimes, don't drink milk (maybe one coffee every two to three days) so I don't see how the huge reaction he is having is down to lactose. But I do eat a lot of gluten.

Ok, so to go gf for the rest of the breastfeeding wouldn't be so bad in itself (as I don't have any firm commitment to it beyond 6 months as previously my milk dries up once the baby is weaned). But what I am really fearful of is that this could mean Jonathan is already a coeliac. I don't know that I can really face that as an idea.

Yet, in the back of my mind, is the thought that if this is so, then once again Dad's death has saved someone else; it is only because of him that my brother got tested and seems to have caught the disease in time before it was too late (though it seems that some of his gut damage won't ever heal, according to the consultant). And certainly I wouldn't have thought of gluten being the cause for Jonathan's problems, without that.

Painful thoughts tonight.


Wobblymoo said...

Oh Ann, I hope he isn't coeiliac but at least if that proves to be the case you are a heightened awareness of it. Glad you had a good day though

Josh said...

you said it was to cold to stay
outside. humf.just as i was about to go to the sheep

thenewstead6 said...

oops. Rumbled!

Emma said...

Hi Ann,
I know your feelings on this subject as Finlay is also lactose intolerant. I'm keeping everything crossed that it won't lead to coeliac disease as I'd hate for him to have to miss out on certain food and feel as narked about it as I do when I watch other people eat.(I think it's far worse for a child too)
However my daughter was lactose and wheat intolerant until she was just over a year old, but it wasn't coeliac disease and she was tested at 12 months for it. So it's not all doom and gloom and I hope that Jonathan will just be temporarily lactose intolerant too.
Thinking of you on your GF diet. It sucks at times doesn't it?!

lactose intolerance symptoms said...

If you feal you are lactose intolerant you should quit milk products or at least use only probiotics