3 times a week I pick up a little girl from school and take her home to do her homework and any additional tutoring. The family moved to England from Poland when she was 4 so English is not spoken at home. She is now 8. She is an only child so the only English interaction she has at home is when I am there. She is a very intelligent child and is very good at telling porkies...I started working with her back in January. Her birthday was very soon after I had first met her. She had told me she was going to 9 years old and I had made a conscious effort to make sure I had got the right date, the right age etc. You know, I wanted to make a good impression with her. So I bought one of those 'Happy 9th Birthday' cards and a little present. Only when she opened the card in front of me and said thank you, I wondered what the smirk on her face was about. She stood it up on her desk just before her mum came in. "Mummy mummy, look what Zoe got me..." Mum then looked at the card I had got her, Oh Zoe, she's 8 today not 9! I thought you little shit!
Anyway, that wasn't the point of this blog. I wanted to tell you about the work I did with her today. She hasn't been sleeping well for 3 months now. It doesn't matter how tired she is or how much she has done during the day, every night she creeps into her Mum and Dad's room and asks to sleep with them, or they are awakened at early hours of the morning from her screaming. Last night was apparently the worst night she had had. 3 hours sleep they all ended up with. Every 20 minutes she was screaming. It doesn't help that the mother has given in for 3 months and let her sleep in their bed. So I decided to try and do something about it today. I sat her down in the play room and asked to draw a picture of what she felt like when she first wakes up in the night. It was a picture of a house with no windows or doors, just a roof and a bed that she was asleep on. There was a picture of a burgular running outside to get into the house and then another leaning over her bed. I asked her to write down 3 sentances of how she felt at this time. 1. I dreamed that burgulars were coming to get me. 2. I dreamed of someone getting Mummy, Wojtek (Her Step-father) and me. 3. I felt scared. I asked her why she thinks she feels like this and she couldn't tell me really apart from that she felt unsafe. I explained that she shouldn't feel unsafe as she lives in a neighbourhood watch area, she has doubled glazing on every window and door, the doors are locked at night and during the day when they are in the house, and every window is shut at night. She talked about the Police and how they do their job very well as she saw them arresting someone the other day. I then asked her if she knew that she had a Guardian Angel who watches over her at night. She said she had heard of this but wasn't sure if she believed it. I said if she didn't believe in her, then her angel might get upset and she didn't want to make her upset. She said she had lots of teddies as well that come alive at night so I said they would warn anyone off as well. After all of this I said could she draw a picture of how she feels now about the whole thing. The picture was of a house with windows and doors with the same bed and her asleep in the bed. There was the burgular running to the house but no burgular in the house. There was also an angel above all of this with wings and a halo and a speech bubble saying "I'm here". Without any prompting, she folded the previous picture up and put it in the bin.
I am picking her up from school tomorrow so I wonder how she will sleep tonight!