Sunday, 30 January 2011

Getting older - A's milestones AKA I'm not ready to be a Grandmother!!!!

When your little ones are small you count the various milestones and changes throughout their various stages. Sometimes we forget that when they get older, the milestones continue. For us the milestones in A's life have always been a little obscured due to his ASD. We were worried about what would happen we he reached puberty but had forgotten about that little phase called pre-puberty. He's all hormonal and gangly and has developed the most annoying sigh in history. Usually aimed at me, he lifts his shoulders and lets out this long exaggeration breath when asked to wash his hand, tidy his room and in general had adopted the demeanour of Kevin the Teenager despite being 11.

This year has an will be a big one for us as it's the last year of primary school and the first half of S1. Bigger kids go through phases where not an awful lot changes and so this stage seems to be an accelerated process. Last year in P6 he had a fantastic teacher but one who wasn't overly keen on masses of homework. This year however, his teacher is hardcore and is charged with the task of getting these kids ready to finish primary school and mature enough to handle the start of a new phase in their lives, high school. There has been a few things that have made me gasp this year already and I am sitting here at the kitchen table preparing another one.

He has already had his first visit to high school. This is all part of the year long transition process of, I suppose, weaning them off of primary school. The visit made me nervous as it was coupled with an event that asked local employers to come into the school to demonstrate to the kids that already they need to think about life after high school. My first thoughts were something along the lines of "whoa!" and "slow down!". They're there for two minutes and then they have a bunch of strangers lecturing them about careers! Gulp! It went as I thought it would go. All the information about their prospective careers went right over their heads.

This year has really put the pressure on him to catch up to his peers which has made for a stressful time at school. He copes better some days than others and is enjoying his breakdancing as an outlet for his frustrations. At some point on Friday night he saw fit to inform me that he was starting a new project at school and I would need to go and buy the stuff that he needed this weekend to have ready for Monday. My reaction to this was quickly overshadowed by my astonishment at what the project actually involved: a flour baby!

Yes, you read that correctly. A flour baby. For the next two weeks, A (aged 11) must care for and look after a flour baby. This involves arranging babysitting, taking it to school, not leaving it on the bus, keeping it dry and keeping a journal for the duration. The flour baby will be weighed three times a week to ensure it is still alive and well. While I suspect that the nuances of this task will be completely lost on A it will be interesting to see how this pans out. I was sorely tempted to print out a template face so replacements could be bought for when the baby is left on the bus, dropped in the canal, dropped at break time. He has also been warned that he will not be attending any after school activities unless he has arranged a baby sitter beforehand. It was at this point in our discussion of the rules that he first referred to me as Granny when he presumed that as it's Granny I would automatically babysit the thing given five minutes notice. Think on buddy! Welcome to parenthood. I will try not to get carried away with the task. Oh Daddy wondered if I was joking when I threatened to burst into A's room at 3:15 AM with a recording of B screaming to simulate real parenting.

I joke about the task but really it concerns me. All of a sudden, the kids in A's year seem to be propelled into some sort of faux adulthood. This experiment is meant to demonstrate the responsibility involved in looking after a baby The only time I have ever seen or heard of this type of exercise was on some TV show that tried to convince teenage delinquents that it really isn't clever impregnating/or being impregnated at such a young age. The show's participants were under the illusion that upon leaving school at 16 there are no other options than getting pregnant and getting a Cooncil Hoose! Now if we lived in an area where the rates of teenage pregnancy were high, then I could see the point and given that we live in an area where if you have a child before you're 35 is frowned upon, I think this exercise is ridiculous. If it were to happen during their high school years, then I would see the point. Yet everyone I have spoken to has no problem with this...

Do you think he's far too young? Have you done this experiment?


  1. I've been sat here tittering away at your post. "Think on buddy! Welcome to parenthood." had me laughing out loud.

    In all seriousness though, I can understand your concerns given the area you live in and especially A's age.

  2. @SAHM: I think it's a pointless exercise and am secretly appalled when parents think this sort of thing is cute! It's like that bloody primary school prom I posted about. Is it right to have wanting children as part of your aspirations at this age? Thanks for commenting. xx

  3. Interesting post. I'm glad I don't have to worry about the school transition just yet. Although my little one starts nursery soon which will be a big change for us.

  4. So what happens if the flour baby is a work of papier mache art at the end? That would make it interesting..... will they call in the faux Flour Protection ppl from Social Services, will there be a faux Flourcare course for those lacking in Flourcare skills... I've had my Parenting leaflet from the council, I know how to do it now ;)

  5. @Jenny: Its very scary! All of a sudden there is enormous pressure for them to grow up. Thanks for commenting. xxx

  6. @Nikkii: The thing sat in his bag all week, suffered a few falls and was neglected completely. I should've signed him up for Netmums better parenting course, that would've solved everything apparently... xxx


Thanks for taking the time to comment!