was sad c2 was sad and that she had nobody to play with :( c2 had no reason for today's episode, except to say 'you know it's hard for me to go back to school after holidays!'. C1 came out sometime during all of the drama and I nearly laughed at the ridiculousness of my situation but it turns out she was ok and just trying to help.
It really is a juggling act with so many little kids (who aren't so little anymore but are needy as ever!). I count on them all being good and compliant and relaxed so as not to upset anyone because there can be an avalanche of emotion if just one isn't feeling stable. If c2 was feeling just a bit stronger this morning, he could have turned c3 around and gone into school to play handball with her. They look after each other, when they are themselves feeling ok. After an hour or so of alone time in their bedrooms (and a bit of cathartic screaming and stamping from c2) I gave them their homework to do and negotiated a time to return to school (recess). They both went fine then, and both said their days were good when I asked them after school.
But I always ask myself what could I have done differently...and usually come up with nothing. I wonder why other parents do not have to deal with this level of school refusal - I understand that if it was only c3 I could have taken her in to settle her a bit but when I had c2 refusing to move an inch from the car door that couldn't happen so she pretty much came along for c2's refusal routine. Why does he even have a refusal routine?! Isn't that ridiculous itself, that this keeps happening and yet we can't fix it...we can only ride out the storm.
What was really bothering me today though was that I know these kids could be happier in a different learning environment. My heart tells me so. Why are they perfectly happy to complete schoolwork at home but not at school? Why can they socialise beautifully with other kids, that they know and that they don't know, in any setting but an instructional one? (Not that they don't socialise there, just that having those friendships at school isn't enough for them to want to go). How can they learn when they aren't comfortable where they are? But I don't want to stop working, and I don't want to homeschool them, and I want them to have a normal school life, and I want c4 to start school there just as we've planned and I don't want to give up on the fact they should just bloody well do what I say because I'm the parent and that's why! ;) I do wonder just how much we can all take though.