ESP

Joshua, it seems to me, has a special sensor : he seems to know if you need him to get up early for instance, as we have an appointment, then those are the days that he will choose to sleep really soundly and to need a long lie in. On the other hand, if we have a lazier day at home planned, then you can bet that he is wide awake and raring to go before 8am. It is a special gift that he demonstrates, time after time, yet it still amazes me.

This week I had taken Joshua out to a cafe for lunch and we had enjoyed a brief walk too. Ordinarily, after this excitement, when he got home, Joshua would nap on the settee while listening to his music or watching a music DVD. He settled down to do just that and was clearly feeling sleepy. However, the Sky engineer arrived to repair a fault that we had and though dozing, Joshua sensed that there was some activity afoot, and he came to investigate. We have had so few visitors to the house in the last 2 years, that he was not going to let this opportunity pass him by. He immediately appeared in the snug where he could watch the repair while interrupting the engineer with regular thumbs ups. As he moved around the house, checking wifi signals, he had Joshua in tow, like a shadow. The more I suggested that he return to his den, out of the way, the more determined Joshua was to supervise the visit. He knows when his presence is not needed and this drives him on.

Since lockdown we have a weekly supermarket home delivery, so Joshua has missed out on one of his favourite activities of the weekend supermarket visit with him pushing the trolley around, and generally creating chaos. Instead, the delivery driver empties their crates onto the garden benches in our yard and we then sanitize everything, before bringing it indoors and storing it away. We tend to book a slot between 4pm and 5pm, so Joshua is starting to think about his evening meal. Over the last two years we have developed a routine whereby my husband wipes all the shopping and I put it all away. From wherever he has been in the house, Joshua appears at the kitchen window watching the activity outside and then he will position himself at the back door, right in the way, so that I have to walk around him. He knows that this is what happens now and he wants to be involved. If it goes on too long for him, he will make requests for his tea by shouting out ‘mash!’, just in case I should forget to feed him, now that the cupboards and fridge are full to the brim.

I tend to start preparing Joshua’s evening meal around 5pm and we eat after he has finished his tea. Often he will go upstairs and lie on his bed, to digest after he has eaten, while he watches a Bruce DVD. That suits us well as then it is possible to get on and prepare our meal without any interruptions. But whether he hears the clanging of the saucepans and plates or this same ESP, but 9 times out of 10, as soon as we sit down to eat our meal, Joshua chooses then to come downstairs, sit right next to one of us, and start to make requests, ranging from wanting a bath to an apple, anything just to bring the focus off our plates and back to him.

Although his contrary nature can be frustrating at times, I am delighted that Joshua is aware of his environment and of what is going on around him and he knows how to get attention. When he first got his brain damage diagnosis, we did not know if he would ever be more than a passive observer of life. Yet day after day, he proves that he is far from passive, that he wants to get involved and make his presence felt.

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