It was very wet all day yesterday so we had to adapt our plans and it turned out to be , so it seemed, one of Joshua’s favourite days of the holidays. Firstly we were not rushing him out in the morning, he was able to spend some time at home watching his music DVD and enjoying a leisurely bath. We decided to go to the nearest big town to see Lion King at the cinema, and my husband and I walked the dogs in the rain en route, but Joshua waited , in the dry, in the car, where we could see him. It seemed that everyone else on the island had had the same cinema idea as the traffic was crazy and we queued much of the way into the town. Rather than the Donalds lunch that we had planned, we diverted to Pizza Express, where I had some vouchers to use to pay for our lunch. Just as we parked the car, Joshua had seizures and suddenly looked very pale and with bloodshot eyes. We expected that to spoil his fun, but fortunately he did not require rescue medication and he made a good recovery, though it left him rather wobbly for a while.
He was able to walk the short distance to the restaurant in the rain and he seemed pleased to be there, even though he became sleepy. But when the food came, he perked up and enjoyed his share of dough balls and then all of his lasagne. We then walked down the hill to the cinema, which was heaving as everyone had clearly had the same idea. We had not pre-booked seats for Lion King and so it was full and they could only offer me single seats dotted around the theatre by the time our turn came. I did not think that Joshua could or should sit between strangers – although the possibility did amuse me – so we diverted to an alternative children’s film, Play Mobil,for me and Joshua while his Dad escaped to see an 18 film. In the warm, dark theatre, both Joshua and I nodded off during the advertisements and missed the start of the film. But once we woke refreshed, Joshua sat beautifully enjoying the cinema experience: I don’t think that he was following the plot -such as it was! – but he enjoyed the large, colourful screen and the comfortable front row seats. In fact he stayed sitting still right through the final credits.
We had a short wait for my husband’s longer film to end and when he appeared, Joshua gave him a big hug to show him how he had missed him. The heavy rain had turned into light drizzle as we walked back up the hill to take Joshua to Donalds for his tea, just to round his fun day off before we drove home again. While the dry, sunny days are easier to fill on holiday, Joshua seemed happy with his wet day entertainment and he still has Lion King to look forward to!
Last night we took Joshua to see the new Mary Poppins film at the local cinema. He was excited to be heading out in the dark as this was a rare night out, not seen since Christmas Eve when we went to the carol service I think. We walked either side of him from the car park, with our arms linked as we whisked him along. As I collected the pre-ordered tickets from the machine, my husband waited in the lift for me with Joshua. He was not good at waiting and he kicked the lift until I joined them and we could go upstairs to the screens. He rushed around the cafe bar area while my husband bought us some sweets and I began to wonder if we had made a mistake, how would we be able to keep this lively teenager still for over two hours.
The theatre was not full and so we sat in the most convenient seats , close to the front, rather than climbing the stairs and squeezing along a row unnecessarily. The large screen and the loud sound quality worked its magic and during the adverts he was mesmerised, while tucking into wine gums and popcorn. As the film started, he was excited and kept waving at the large faces on the screen in front if him. He watched most of the film I would say, only around the middle did he snuggle onto my shoulder for a nap, but he woke again and picked up where he left off. He never once tried to stand up and leave, in fact we even stayed and watched all the many credits at the end, and so I consider that cinema visit to be a success.
We three walked next door, arm in arm again, to a pizza bar where we shared a giant pizza and chips as it was 8pm by the time we leaved the cinema. Still Joshua was happy and waving. We got home around 9.15, which was a late night for him, and we all felt as though we had had a treat. Our previous cinema trips have been less as a whole family, perhaps the last time was when we saw Madagascar three times, on holiday in Canada. As usually I take Joshua with me, while my husband sees some action thriller on another screen. So this was a fun adventure and was certainly very nostalgic of the original Mary Poppins of our childhood, so we all three enjoyed it very much.
I expect that our next family cinema trip will be in July when a new non-animated version of The Lion King is being released. We saw a preview of it last night and Joshua sat up tall , glued to the screen when the familiar music and lines came out of the speakers and the CGI animals looked incredible. So we will definitely be back for that familiar delight in the Summer, as nothing about taking Joshua to the pictures last night put me off repeating the family experience.
We had a lazy day in the garden yesterday, reading in the sun, so we were ready to play out last night so we went to the cinema. I know that there are special autism-friendly screenings, but we are fortunate enough not to require them as the worst that Joshua can do is fall asleep generally in the warm, dark comfy chairs! Joshua and I went to see ‘Finding Dory’, while my husband saw a different film that started at a similar time, and true to form we had eaten our popcorn before the advertisements had even finished.
When Joshua was younger, he used to get very excited about going to the movies, so much so that we saw ‘Madagascar’ three times on holiday in Canada when he was 6! I think it was the huge screen and the loud soundtrack that he enjoyed. But he played it much cooler nine years later last night, until we were in our seats near the front, where he began knocking his knees together – always a happy response – and he gazed intently at the huge screen in front of him. He sat still in his seat for 2.5 hours and only had a brief nap of ten minutes, when he rested his head on his knees, and he shouted out ‘Monkey!’ when he awoke, so I would consider that to be a great success. We stayed until the end of the credits, as he likes to do, to enjoy the music and added animation, and were treated to a bonus part of the film which everyone else in the theare missed.
We waited in the foyer for Joshua’s Dad, who had also enjoyed his film, and we went to an italian restaurant for a late evening meal, as it was now 9pm. Again Joshua behaved beautifully, enjoying his big night out, and he happily devoured his lasagne. We were too full to face the tiramisu , so declined a dessert and came home. He was still perky when he got back and I even wondered if he would settle in bed but we had no trouble at bedtime and he slept through until 5am this morning when he woke up calling out ‘Monkey!’ once again.
I suspect that it was a successful night out because we had not expected too much of Joshua during the day : he had enjoyed his usual midday lie in, and once dressed, he had not left the house all day but had enjoyed a homely, laid back day, so he was more than ready to be more entertained by the evening.