Yet this was one of those weeks where you can take a small step back and think "Yes. It was all worthwhile" and admire the fruits of your (and their) labours.
Having finished his GCSEs J embarked on a week's Work Experience. We were rather dubious about how worthwhile this week would be, and pored over bus timetables for several hours in an attempt to find a journey option which didn't require considerable parental involvement with the usual quota of screaming siblings in the back. We joked that there should be a YouTube video on catching a bus, such was the complexity of locating the appropriate route and timetable, then navigating our way around the recent changes in our town which are not yet published. Much to our amusement, there were many such videos, none sadly for Ipswich!
An extremely useful video actually - I'm not knocking it!
Living in the town where he can cycle or walk pretty much anywhere J has never needed greater independence. He's happy to get the train further afield, we invariably drop him there or he jumps in a taxi. But he's never yet got the bus. Neither have we to be fair, and consequently we've underestimated the independence this form of transport might offer. The benefits of this exercise in initiative have given him the most tremendous confidence boost, all of a sudden his local world has opened up and I am as excited by this as he is.
But that wasn't all he's gained from this week. Participating with graduates several years older - even having some of his code used by the company has really inspired him. He's impressed the team he was allocated to and become really involved there in a such a short space of time. I'm so proud of him for never letting an opportunity pass him by, giving of his best and offering to go the extra mile. It's not easy going to work in a positive frame of mind when you've been jumped on (literally) by your twelve year old brother whose ADHD meds have yet to kick in!
And his younger brother would appear to have gained by osmosis at least a few pointers on exam technique and hard work from J. With probably far less work than was appropriate he's Ace-d his end of year Science exam and seems positive about the others. Given that only eighteen months ago he preferred to put a line through questions he couldn't be bothered to answer ("they KNOW I know the answer!") this is real progress. But far, FAR more important is the huge improvement in his social life. I'm loving the irony that right now, my twelve year old with ASD, ADHD and mobility issues has a better social life than the rest of us put together! Brilliant.
Parenting my four challenging, (well, three of them!) opinionated, (yes, four of them) wonderful, funny and totally brilliant kids has been a real challenge this year. Just when I thought sleep deprivation might at LAST be a thing of the past everyone upped the anti and turned up the proverbial volume. But from here, looking back, it's been a phenomenal school year. And seeing H handing out with his friends has exceeded all expectations. We take the simple things for granted all too often - don't.