Thursday, 2 May 2013


Mini has been complaining of tummy ache. For some months, this mysterious unidentifiable tummy pain has surfaced on a Sunday afternoon, been briefly mentioned again Monday morning, but is always gone again by the time I pick Mini up from school on Monday.

A couple of weeks ago though it appeared at school. All day. Various teachers were told and anyone else who would listen, but lunch was eaten as normal, and Mini appeared fine, running around at play times as usual. The teachers didn't have any cause for concern.
Sunday afternoon tummy ache I can understand, but for it to continue over a few days at school too seemed a bit wrong. I felt I'd better get it checked with the doctor to be sure.

I started off with a 'well, he has this Sunday pain, which we're sure is school related, but he's recently started experiencing it at school too'. I'm pretty sure the doctor decided within those 2 seconds that we were wasting his time and he wasn't going to find a physical problem. But he humoured me (or Mini, not quite sure who) by suggesting a physical examination. Up Mini jumped, onto the bed and of course the doctor found nothing physically wrong. No lumps or bumps to be felt, no wincing from Mini as the doctor pressed down on his belly.
Rather unhelpfully he stated 'It's emotional. You'll have to do something about that. Most children do it at some point'.

And we were sent on our way. Feeling flustered by two young children looking at trying out the doctors equipment, standing on the scales, jumping on the scales, attempting to unroll the blue paper that lays across the bed and shaking hands  and dancing with the model skeleton, I rushed them out of the room and didn't think to ask how I should approach it and who with, given the delicate situation we already have with school.

So we've carried on as we were, with Mini complaining of tummy ache every now and then, and no longer just on Sundays, and still at school too.
There is no doubt that Mini has anxieties relating to school and what goes on there. There is no denying his struggles with routine changes, teacher changes...well, change in general. But after talking to Dave-the-therapist about this emotional tummy ache, he reminded me that if it is because Mini doesn't want to be at school, it means he wants to be with me instead. Attachment-wise, this is HUGE! He wants me, he wants to be with me. I suspect there is an element of not wanting to miss out on the fun things I do with Dollop, but ultimately this is brilliant.

Feeling happier than I have been for weeks by this realisation, I approached Mini the other day when he complained of his tummy pain. And as Dave suggested, I attempted to get in Mini's inner world and empathise...
'I'm sorry your tummy hurts again. You know, sometimes I get this empty feeling in my tummy when you go to school. It's because I miss you when you're there. But I'm so pleased that we have time together when you come home each day'.
Expecting either an angry dispute or a silent agreement, I was shocked to get "But I have to go to school mummy, it's important that I learn you know?!'.

I think that means he accepted what I was saying. More progress.


  1. Well this is definite progress. Fantastic! My middle daughter has recently been through a phase of tummy aches around going to school. We did the same obligatory trip as you, after her being off school for 3 days :( I too believe it's an emotional thing, she has always suffered with separation anxiety. I think the emotions get knotted up and that's how it manifests itself. Such a shame. Just wish we could get in their heads sometimes. I did smile a little at you expecting a defensive, angry retort as that is exactly how my daughter would react too. I feel for you. It's hard work. However, he surprised you and that's great news :)

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I'm pleased that we have some progress, even though the tummy aches are still there.
      My husband is the same and suffers with his stomach when he's nervous and worrying. Just one of those things for some people I think...

      Hope your daughter's tummy troubles have passed for now x

  2. Ahh, brilliant what Dave said! And I think this post has given me a little lightbulb moment too :-)

    1. Dave is amazing. We're going to be lost without him :-( But it's given me something to hold onto through all of this school 'stuff'. Glad it's helped xx