After a long day of travelling to get to our holiday destination, we always have a lazy first day to recover from so many hours in the car and we try to avoid getting in the car again on day 1. I started my day earlier than everyone else, with a beautiful beach walk at 6am, having the beach to ourselves, the dogs ran and ran and seemed to be smiling. When I got back from my refreshing walk, I locked the dogs away and walked to the supermarket for some fresh bread and fruit & yogurt for breakfast, walking back along the promenade, where I stopped to have a chat with my parents’ plaque.
Joshua did not emerge from his bedroom until after 10am and he immediately ate his Weetabix followed by some toast. Some days he is hungrier than others and it was clearly an eating day. We pottered about the house, with no real sense of urgency – that is what is so lovely about a holiday, we commit ourselves to very few deadlines so we can bumble along however the mood takes us, playing most things by ear.
Around 1pm, we decided to walk into the town together, so I got the wheelchair ready as it would be too far for Joshua to walk it. He was excited to be going out but kept repeating “car” as I was getting his splints and boots on, and I kept assuring him that we were walking! When we walked past the car on the drive, he was furious and made a fuss to get into the car. Again, I calmly told him that we were walking but he refused to sit in the wheelchair. Instead, I walked him up the hill to the High Street, and my husband followed with the empty wheelchair. Once we were out of the gate, Joshua was all smiles again and having hiked up the short hill, he relented and sat in the chair to be pushed. So, one battle won, 1:0 to me.
We walked down the High Street window shopping, until my husband started coughing and needed to buy a bottle of water. We were to wait for him outside and again , Joshua created a fuss that he wanted to be out of the wheelchair and waiting on a wooden bench instead. I relented here and helped him to get out and again, having won his way, he was all smiles again, watching the passers-by and traffic. One all! When my husband returned with his drink, Joshua would not get back into his chair, he insisted on pushing it and I told him that we were heading for a café on the beach. 2:1 to Joshua, he got his way and pushed the wheelchair, walking by my side.
Whenever we passed an establishment that looked vaguely like a café, he pulled to go inside and was stubborn on his feet so we had a couple of tussles as I wrestled him away from the doorways. I explained that we were going to the café on the beach and this was not it. 2:2 we had both won equal battles now and he happily walked further to the target destination. I got him out of his wheelchair and sat him at the table next to me, where he grumpily made requests for ‘juice’ and ‘crisps’. He was rewarded with a bottle of apple juice – 3:2 – but I refused to buy him crisps, as we had ordered him a portion of his favourite scampi & chips as it was now lunchtime – 3:3 we were even again. His face lit up when the food arrived and it was really delicious and he ate it all, with some help from his parents.
Joshua was happy to be wheeled back to the house, where with a full stomach and after that walking, he was ready to snuggle up for a nap on the settee and we stayed home for the rest of the day, pottering about unpacking clothes, doing some chores and watching some intermittent Lioness football – neither Joshua nor I are football fans but I did get swept up in the drama of this game and of course, the brilliant end result. We only really have battles when we are out and about, as at home he is more able to make his own choices as to where he goes and sits and what he chooses to do. Mainly when we are out and about , does he have to comply more mostly for his own safety, for our convenience and we make the choices on his itinerary. So we ended the day having won three small battles each, which is a good day. Although it can be frustrating, and sometimes exhausting when Joshua fights his own corner for what he wants, I have to remind myself how much better it is now that he has a voice and an opinion, rather than being passive and indifferent to whatever we choose for him to do.
There will be more battles ahead this holiday, but I will be ready for them and he will always be rewarded with some home-time where he can call more of his own shots.