Life on The Frontline – Week 20

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A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

We’ve been on half term this week, which has been at odds with most of the country, which is just about to start their holiday. However, for us it was very well timed, as the hard slog of school had beaten us all. We needed to rest and indulge in activities that make us feel good.

So we booked Tall on a rock climbing and abseiling day, which he very happily went off to with his BFF and Small and I set about the activity he, well we both, love. It’s become a bit of a holiday ritual now and Dad rolls his eyes and worries for his bank balance as we set off shopping.

The whole day has a ritual to it, we know what we like to do and the order we like to do it in. We have a favourite parking spot, at this big out of town shopping centre, its right by the entrance to Selfridges. We always go into Selfridges first to use the facilities; we don’t want our shopping interrupted by the need to spend a penny.

Then we head towards Build a Bear and the Disney shop, two of Small’s very favourite shops. On this occasion he had managed to accrue a little sum of money, pocket money and a little from his bank, so he was excited to be able to spend. Although he doesn’t spend straight away, he looks and mentally takes notes of what he likes, “we can always come back later” he says.

Decision making can be a big problem for Small, even deciding on what to eat for breakfast has caused much anxiety in the past. To avoid hasty choices and later regrets, he now takes time over his decision making and enjoys browsing everywhere before buying. I must say, much to my husband’s past dismay, he is a boy after my own heart. I too hate to feel I’ve missed something and often end up returning to the first shop visited, after hours of exhausting all other prospects.

We then head to Waterstones, where I always treat him to a book. This is a tactical purchase on my behalf; later if I need to frequent changing rooms Small will have something to do.

From here on it depends what else we are shopping for but we inevitably end up pottering down the long avenues of the shopping centre, popping in and out of shops.

The only other ritual we have is lunch. This time our favourite eating spot is not too busy, no queue and we secure a booth, that’s the charm of half term without the rest of the world. If you’ve not been to Yo Sushi, it’s one of those fun eateries where the dishes go by on a conveyer belt and you choose what you want. It’s great with children, because it’s so instant, however they do need to like the type of food, mostly Japanese, I think.

We nibble, with chop sticks, on a spicy chicken salad which Small loves and he orders a Katsu curry as well. I just dip into this and that, which I select as they pass, offering Small a taste if he fancies. We also mull over possible purchases and plan the rest of our day.

So an hour or so later and after another trip to the conveniences of Selfridges, we head back to the car. We bundle our shopping bags into the car and set off home.

Small is delighted with his purchases of a Marry Poppins doll and some outfits for his bear. In the car he marvels at what excellent choices he’s made and I have to agree with him.

Yes you made some great choices today and you know the best thing about it, is you made them on your own”

“I did didn’t I, I think I’ve done really well”

This time we spend together has become very special to me and I realised on this trip just why. When Small and I wander around the shops together, he is at ease and happy, he chatters freely and is very much himself. I’m aware of the danger of material objects being the thing that fill an emotional hole for Small, but it seems more than the things he buys. He enjoys the whole ritual of the day; it’s the delight of doing something we both enjoy.

When we get home Tall is full of the wonderful adventure he has been on, abseiling from a very high bridge and climbing sheer rock faces. It’s fun sharing stories from our day and Tall is thrilled with the book I bought for him too. Later both boys head to bed without a thought , a new book to read and tiredness in their eyes, after an active day for both.

 

In Other News

Tall has baked a cake this weekend, on his own, from scratch. He loves to cook and I’m happy to encourage him, especially if it’s cake he’s making.

I went out to a gig with a friend on Friday. It was very impromptu, she texted me and asked if I fancied it. My instinct was to say no, but something inside me said “stop saying no to everything”. So I organised everyone and off I went and had a great time.

We had Smalls revise EHC back, after we asked for more content to fully explain Small’s complex needs. I’m delighted that we’ve managed to secure an additional four hours of support. It doesn’t sound much but I had been led to believe it would be like getting blood from a stone, so I’m pleased.

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