Shop

Every Wednesday Oscar’s school has Shop. Shop is their version of canteen. Each class comes in an orderly fashion and the kids can buy some lunch or a treat.

Yesterday was the first time I helped out and as the boys’ primary school doesn’t have a canteen I was pretty darn excited.

Along with four other mums we got the various offerings ready and then the kids came.

Oscar’s class and some of the girls in it who know we were positively apoplectic with excitement about me being there and well, it was just an awesome experience.

These kids. With all their challenges and deficits and impediments and whatever other speed hump their body and mind decided to throw at themselves. Up at the counter. Saying hello, saying who they were (so if they’d ordered something we knew to get it) and then working out the correct money to hand over. Mr B and each classroom’s aide were there helping them if need be.

I just felt like my heart was going to explode and turned to one of the other mums and said as much. Then made a comment about what a special place this school is.

And then proceeded to cause both of us to burst into tears.

So while M from 9M was trying to hand over the correct coinage for his sausage roll and strawberry milk I was facing the other way frantically fanning my face and wiping away tears.

Because I’m an absolute idiot for this place.

 

Onward!

A big day.

Somehow this:

turned into this:

I know! HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN. Well a hell of a lot of angst was involved, a fair amount of nights lying awake, a shitload of therapy, several snake0il dabblings and in the case of the parents a significant consumption of alcohol. That I know. But we’re here! We made it to the next BIG milestone.

High School.

Most of you are aware that Oscar is attending St Edmund’s School in Wahroonga. A special ed high school of the most special order. Go visit that website and tell me you’re not moved. Inspired. Blown away.

Yesterday was Day 1. Yesterday was also 4o+ degrees celcius. Oscar doesn’t do heat well so it was that more than anything else I was worried about.

More than the fact he’d been up at 11pm asking if it was time to get ready, then up at 3 and by my bedside showing me he was all dressed in his uniform and ready to go, and then, well, that was it. He was up at 3am.

He couldn’t eat and anyone who knows Oscar will know that speaks volumes about the kid’s nervous excitement.

His bus was due at 6.50am. Of course it arrived at about 7.25am.

Meet Mrs J. Mrs J has been hanging around with the special kids too long so talks to everyone as if they were special. A few times I felt like saying, ‘no, no, it’s my son with the brain injury not me’. Imagine one of those filibustering creatures who flap around in mass confusion while trying to create the pretence she knows exactly everything that’s going on. Seriously that Oscar even makes it to school let alone home from it is evidence greater forces are at work here than the law of physics.

And then, just like that, he was off!

I must say I did not shed a tear. I did not come undone. I was pretty relieved actually. AND MAN did I enjoy the silence that followed for the rest of the morning.

Then, at about 2pm, in the middle of Myer in Chatswood where we were hanging out in air-conditioning I turned to Chef with a quiver in my voice and queried if he thought Oscar would be OK.

Of course Chef looked at me like the bloody idiot I was being and reassured me that yes, Oscar was fine.

And here’s the thing, we had an awesome primary school experience but there was always an element in me of waiting for the phone call about some thing or another. About going on an excursion and would he be OK etc.

But here, at a high school specifically for kids just like Oscar? I have implicit trust and complete piece of mind. I mean, complete.

And I realised that in the almost 13 years he has been in this world, that was a first for me.

and just like that he was home.

A big day for all of us.

Onward!

End of an era

In two days time an era for this family will come to an end. A major chapter in Oscar’s life will finish as a whole new exciting one begins.

Starting school for a child with additional needs is a monumental undertaking. We started a good 18 months out from when it would finally happen. We desperately wanted him in a wonderful program offered by a specialist special needs primary school in a satellite class at a school literally a few blocks from our home. An anxious wait ended beautifully with two fabulous years in a program called Start Right. Indeed.

And yet, we had barely drawn breath and relaxed with that decision that the whole process had to start again with finding the best school for Oscar to then transition to. Unbelievably that school ended up being our local public primary school. He started there in Year 2, aged 8. (and look at how dinky and cute Felix was on his first day of school too!)

To say this school has gone above and beyond is an understatement. This school has treasured Oscar. They have seen him as ‘just’ another student in his year group all the while making the adjustments and allowances so many schools and anti-integration voices say are impossible. He has had the same opportunities and experiences as his peers plus more. He has been taught, loved and celebrated just as any child should be. They have regularly taken my breath away with their can-do attitude and soothed my worried heart through their zero-tolerance approach to bullying and their capacity to celebrate Oscar’s achievements as the Everest they sometimes are for our boy.

Tonight was Oscar’s Year 6 Farewell Dinner. This is a wonderful evening at the school, where the Year 5 and Year 6 students get all dressed up and have a good time.

I had been marvelling how unsentimental I’d been feeling about Oscar finishing primary school. I had put it down to the fact that Felix will still be there and Jasper is starting there next year. And then this happened:

Oscar’s Year 6 Farewell Dinner presentation from Kim at allconsuming on Vimeo.

I think it was the cheering that did it. Or maybe how he bounded up there. Who knows but once that happened I was a blubbering mess. Through the tears and snot and breaking voice I managed to get the teachers and Aides of Awesome who have taught Oscar at the school:

Our life? Full of wonderful people.

High School for Oscar confirmed

OH DUDES.

Today started with me black and bad, angry and resentful, full of inexplicable bile and agro.

Then chef made me laugh and it improved greatly.

Then I made apple cinnamon fritters and it got even better, even if my headache did not.

And then, AND THEN

THE LETTER ARRIVED.

THE LETTER being THE LETTER from St Edmund’s School offering Oscar a place for high school.

DUDES – words will not express what this means.

This is the difference between Oscar soaring and Oscar ‘being OK’.
The difference between Oscar learning and Oscar being minded.
The difference between Oscar being a part of something and Oscar just being there.

and a hundred other differences.

It is huge.

ONWARD!!!!

PS – In coming weeks (read months by the time I get myself organised) I will be setting up a donate button in my sidebar for anyone feeling compelled to help us pay for the tuition. It is not a State school and while the fees are remarkably reasonable for the education Oscar will get, it is still a few thousand dollars we don’t have.