These were the words of my 6-year-old son at 7:35am on a cold Wednesday morning. He has said “I love you” many times, but never once has he thanked me for loving him. Hearing these words made all my tears, frustration, determination and perseverance of the past few years meaningful. I’ll take you back to the beginning.
Since day one, my little boy has been loud and proud; the child that you would hear before you’d see. His overexcitement and enthusiasm made every day fun and the odd shopping trip quite stressful. But, that’s Joey and he reminds me of myself as a child.
He went to nursery when he was two and moved onto pre-school at four. In both places, he developed as a person. Seeing this dramatic change in him I was excited for him to go to school and see where the next stage would take him.
However, when he started Reception in September 2016, that was when the problems started. Every Mum fears the ‘walk of shame’ when your child is at the back of the line and the teacher is giving you the “can I have a word” look. You can feel the other parents judging you and I have been ‘that Mum’ a lot in the past two years.
He was not doing that well: he was not engaging in class, not wanting to work, wanting to play instead of settling down and reading, he was unable to socialise with his peers, hitting out, having dramatic emotional responses to something that happened to him and all in all not being a very “well-behaved” pupil.
I say “well-behaved” in quotations because I don’t know what a good example of a well-behaved pupil is. Aren’t they all different? Don’t they learn in different ways? I have always thought that each child looks physically different from the others and we celebrate that, so why don’t we celebrate that children are also different mentally?
He is now in his second year and it has been a very long and draining journey. I’ve been called into countless meetings with teachers, support plans have been put in place, and health professionals have been consulted. My lowest point was when one of the teachers suggested that I should take him to an educational psychologist for a diagnosis. I was utterly shocked. My instinct was to refuse. I do not want my child to be labelled. There is nothing wrong with him – he is just different.
A few weeks ago, I was called in after school and decided this really was the last straw. I had tried everything at this point. I took his toys away from him, I gave him the cold shoulder, I tried the nice approach reassuring him that “it’s all okay” and nothing has had an effect. I broke down in tears in my partner’s arms and unfortunately muttered the words “I give up”. I was at my lowest ebb and so was my little boy. I now know that it had to get to this point.
I watched a video about the gut-brain connection and things started to fall into place. I needed to make some changes.
I took all technology away from him, apart from the occasional movie and smooth radio in the background for relaxing. I moved him onto a gluten free diet and removed all sugary treats and puddings; snacks were now strictly fruit. I changed his drinks from flavoured water and apple juice to just water. As well as these diet changes, I introduced a strict morning routine of having 20ml GOO for YOU and an Omega 3/flaxseed gummy sweet, which he is more than happy to eat.
A few weeks later I could not believe this was the same child. He is completely different.
He picks up books to read and sits and works though his maths books. He writes out his numbers and asks for colouring pencils for drawing. He is engaging in conversations and listens to instructions from me – doing things the first time I ask! There are no battles, no extra effort needed to complete a task.
The quality of his work at school and home has improved. The school has noticed a big change in his handwriting and how he is interacting with his peers. A few days ago, after school he rushed to his bag and told me to close my eyes, he pulled out a sheet of work he had done at school about Internet safety and there was colour on it, words and drawings and my child had done this. I felt a wave of joy and pride. I only wish I had made these small changes before.
As a family, a weight has been lifted off us all. I believe that if I hadn’t changed his diet, or introduced Bio-Live GOO for YOU, we would still be experiencing the same struggles.
He is still the same loud and proud little boy but now he can focus when he needs to and his day to day life is a happier and healthy one.