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I think our neighbours are on the brink of calling the police!

(15 Posts)
Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:29:19

Oh dear, I am really not having a great week here so please bear with me.

Ds1 is off school for the hols, he is just 6. A few months ago he began doing this thing where every time I leave the room - like, to go and hang out the washing, or even use the loo or I might be trying to feed his brother to sleep in the bedroom, he will suddenly get up from watching tv or whatever, and shout 'Mummy! Mummeee! MUUUUMMMMEEEEEEEE!!!!' and run round the house, sobbing wildly, and working himself into a blind panic. He says it is because he thinks I have 'gone' and we had a little chat and a practise in which he ran first to the kitchen, made sure I wasn't there, then tried the bathroom and bedroom and FINALLY I said if he really can't find me, (which will never happen, because I've promised him I won't leave the premises, and have no reason to) he can go and knock on the neighbours' door, to say he can't find mummy. This was a last resort to reassure him that someone would always be around to help him.

However - last week he did this twice, without actually looking properly (he came into my bedroom, I was lying on the bed writing, with my feet sticking out at the side, ie perfectly visible, and he ran straight out again, out of the front door, absolutely shrieking, and by the time I had caught up with him he had rung the doorbell for upstairs blush - i'm sure the whole street heard, he sounded like he was injured or being attacked or something.

He then did the same again three days ago. They came downstairs the first time, I saw them, reassured them he was fine, but then
I saw the neighbours the day after the second incident, and it happened to be just down the road while ds1 was hiding round a corner in someone's drive, and I was struggling to get a screaming ds2 into his buggy - because we were right next to a busy road and he wanted to walk. I tried carrying him, he struggled to get down, I remained calm, and just basically had to force him into the seat, while he was 'doing the board' and making a terrible noise - it was a v narrow pavement and there were lorries and buses thundering past, there was no safe way to let him get down as he refused to hold my hand and was in a complete state. He is usually a great kid and no fuss but of course they walked past right at this point, and I looked up, and they blanked me blush

We all walked down the road, on opposite sides, with no communication. Finally at the bottom we crossed over ahead of them and ds ran down the subway (ds2 calmer by now and still in buggy) and I held back to talk to them - i said 'did ds1 ring your bell yesterday?' and she said 'no, it was the other day - but dp heard' or something. So it must have been the other neighbours' bell the previous day (they already think we are bonkers, I'm sure, so no better)
but while I was talking to them, ds1 had decided they would be cross with him for ringing their bell (I'd told him never to do it again, the other day, as they'd get annoyed) and was cowering, yes actually cowering by the wall, refusing to come any closer than 3 metres away. He looked like an abused child. She looked at him and said 'er - what's he doing now?' and I said 'I think he's scared you're going to be cross' and eventually they just walked off and we carried on into town.

I really think they think he is at risk, somehow. And I'm worried that he'll do it again, and someone will call the police or social services or something, and it'll just be a complete nightmare. He's not at risk, he's quite insecure at times and I am quite depressed - but he keeps having these panics and tbh I'm afraid of what people think.

Can anyone reassure me?

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:36:00

Btw - it started after I went on a day trip somewhere, leaving him with my mother, whom he is v close to, for about 7 hours.

I think it must have triggered some deeper insecurity maybe from a long time ago, or because we recently moved house or something?

And 'doing the board' means going completely rigid, iyswim.

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:41:21

You're all looking at me like hmm aren't you

<sobs>

Ok I'll ring the NSPCC myself...perhaps they'll come and take them away. smile

Katisha Mon 03-Aug-09 09:41:34

What a total nightmare.

I doubt they'll be calling SS or the police though. It's just that you feel embarrassed and are imagining worst case scenarios.

I wonder if it would be best to tell him to leave the neighbours doorbell alone for now because he is not checking the house properly. YOu don't want to end up in a crying wolf situation.

Katisha Mon 03-Aug-09 09:43:12

I think telling him about the neighbours doorbell has given him something he will use as a first resort and not a last, for some illogical 6 year old reasoning.

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:44:03

Thanks Katisha,

yes the problem is, it doesn't seem to be rational, so my trying to make a rational plan with him in case I was truly in trouble, or had buggered off without either of my children (unlikely) or had fallen down a big hole in the garden, didn't cut it - he still panicked, and that was the point, for him - it's him imagining the worst, as some kind of coping strtegy for his insecurity, I think. He's doing a 'what if' exercise, like when I used to run really fast up the stairs in case there were really ghosts trying to catch me, etc etc.

But it does seem extreme sad

JackBauer Mon 03-Aug-09 09:44:11

Do they have kids? I only ask so they would be more understanding of the 'board' (which I understood first time, we have all been there)
Would it be worth putting a note through the neighbours doors saying DS has been having nightmares he can't find you and getting a bit worked up, so if he rings/knocks and says you have gone to tell him you are in the house or something?
Gives them a reason for it and also if they hear him so might be a bit easier.

Although TBH I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at any of that, seriously. I am just thinking of ways for you to feel a bit more in control. It does sound horrible, and draining. Poor you.

Also, maybe he should go into each room and say 'Mummy are you in here?' so you know he is looking?

allaboutme Mon 03-Aug-09 09:46:18

What a nightmare situation.
How about having a chat with the neighbours or writing a note explaining about your idea with the doorbell etc and apologising for them being disturbed as it has backfired. This will reassure them that your DS is not being mis treated! and reassure you that your neighbours wont report you unfairly.
I'm not sure what to suggest about your DS. Perhaps ask your HV for advice?
Or make a game of it? Play hide and seek lots and do lots of laughing while playing? Do a sticker chart and a sticker for every time you leave the room and he calmly finds you rather than panicking (build up by just standing outside the door of the room he is in etc)

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:49:36

Thanks JB, those are good ideas - I'm really glad you lot understand and don't think I must be a shocking mother etc etc. He really catterwauls, it sounds terrible! That and the random screaming by ds2 (another thread) and I just hope they don't move out because of us.

The family I spoke to the other day, well it;s a bloke and his girlfriend, and he has a 7yo boy who stays every other weekend. So he knows a bit about kids. Upstairs (directly above us) don't have kids but I've apologised numerous times for the noise and the bloke says 'Oh I had two brothers so I know you have to shout sometimes' smile

still - wish we had stayed in our detached house, in many ways!!

Katisha Mon 03-Aug-09 09:52:04

Playing hide and seek sounds like a top plan!

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 09:53:54

Yes, I will write a note I think to the people on the first floor. The top floor I'm not tooooo fussed about now, as I have tried to explain and tbh nothing else is going to make them believe me. Plus they've only been here a little while and it doesn't affect me too much if they stay or not.

I need to keep on top of it with ds1, he didn't do it for weeks, until the hols - he seems to find school a very secure environment, and home less so, for some reason - maybe he picks up that I am worried or tired or something, and that makes him feel anxious.

I'll have to be vigilant and not go off even into the bedroom without making it very clear where I am going. It's hard work but it isn't his fault - there are times I'm emotionally a bit unavailable, maybe that's what it's about.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Hassled Mon 03-Aug-09 09:56:03

How is he at using the phone? Could you write down a friend's phone number and stick it on the phone and use that as a doorbell alternative reassurance thing? And obviously tell the friend that in 99.99% of cases you will be alive and well and somewhere in the house - all she has to do is talk your DS through looking around the house. It would have to be quite a long-suffering friend, admittedly, if he rings a lot!

Poor kid - I'm sure he'll settle down. House moves do affect children in odd ways - my DD was very clingy after a house move at the same sort of age.

juuule Mon 03-Aug-09 10:46:19

Have you tried keeping him near you all the time? Tell him where you are going. Ahout how long you will be. So that he will know where you are. Such as when you went upstairs to write, let him know where you are going, ask if he wants to come. Let him stay with you as much as he wants to so that he can be reassured that you're not leaving him. Eventally his confidence will return and it should lessen.

If he's getting in a panic when he can't see you, ensure that he either can see you or he knows where to find you and be alert to him coming looking for you so that you can respond as soon as possible.

Flgihtattendant Mon 03-Aug-09 11:26:09

Thankyou both for your thoughts - Hassled, I'm glad to know it isn't that uncommon. I might try him with Grandma's work number, or something. lucky Grandma smile

Juule - it's a flat, and all the rooms are on one level, so it's quite hard actually to disappear - unless I go into the cellar in which case the door will be open, and it usually involves lots of clunking about when I go down there.

We did make an arrangement that I'd tell him where I was going, or leave a note. Several times I've said 'Ds, I'm just going to check on the guinea pigs' while they've both been watching tV for instance, but he says he didn't hear me despite my being right besode him when I've said it - so I'll need to elicit a response from him to check its actually gone in.

Your idea of keeping him with me feels controversial to my frazzled self - and I guess that might be wherein the problem lies. Some of the time I am actually trying to escape from him! Whether I am conscious of it or not. I think he probably knows this on some level. There is literally no time when I am not with him, at the moment, unless I have an appointment with the dentist or something, when he will be with my mother usually.

I'm desperate for some down time I suppose, or maybe I just need to adjust to the holidays - I resent the fact he goes to school at all, which makes it v annoying when he ISN'T and I am suddenly not used to it, and have to readapt.

<very confused>

I will give it some serious thought. Thankyou.

bubblagirl Mon 03-Aug-09 11:47:02

my 4 yr old does this it doesnt matter if i tell him where im going lol he runs round mummy i lost you again i was laying on bed and he didnt see me and was crying for me its worse since no pre school i think he misses the structure of the day and also worrying about big school in sept

maybe walky talky could help you could pass it to him and speak all the way where ever your going im going to feed guinea pigs and he can speak to you the whole time without panicking

i have a ds that is glued to me so to take with me would drive me nuts i barely wee alone again now im falling over him all the time his just there so to escape for 5 mins is crucial try walky talky its grown up its contact at a distance you get your 5 mins peace kind of

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