We had a full day travelling yesterday and Joshua dozed most of the journey. If he was not asleep, he was eating fruit or banging the headrest of my seat in front of him, to remind me that he was there. We have always been lucky with how well he travels on long drives, as he often seems content to watch the world go by and listen to music for the most part. He used to always travel in the front passenger seat until he developed two bad behaviours that got him relegated to the back : he tried the door handle while we were driving on a motorway and frightened us, so he now needs the security of child locks in the back. When he developed his door kicking game, he began to kick the front panel of the car if we stopped at traffic lights, queues or inadvertently passed by a Donalds! So now he travels in the back seat and I have been promoted to up front!
There was no need to kick yesterday as we stopped at two different Donalds en route. Both occasions were greeted with the same excitement, shouting out ‘thank you!’ and ‘Donalds’, but in both he only drank his orange juice hardly touched his food. If he is struggling with a sore throat, then scratchy fries and crispy chicken might not be the best food choices.
But the happiest that Joshua was all day was when we finally boarded the ferry and he knew where he was and what lay ahead. We sat in the lounge on a settee that looked out at the sea, but as it was dark, all he could see was his own reflection. Joshua is so vain that he was in heaven : he waved, revealed his bare tummy, stroked his hair back and generally admired himself for most of the short crossing. He tried to engage other passengers in his waving game but only a few responded, but he seemed undeterred as he was in such a good mood. He devoured a bag of Wotsits and more juice, as he admired himself in action and he was somewhat disappointed when we had to make our way back to the car deck, as he waved goodbye to himself.
We have a routine when we arrive for our winter stays at this holiday house, we turn the heaters on to warm it through and then my husband walks to the supermarket to buy provisions, while I make the beds up , with Joshua’s help. He insisted on sitting on each bed that I wanted to make, but we got there in the end. Joshua curled up in what he knows to be his bed once it was made and did not want to come downstairs again. So I changed him into his Pjs and gave him his bedtime medication and let him go to sleep. Hopefully a good night’s sleep will set him up to begin his holiday adventure this morning.
I swapped my Friday-off yesterday for a Monday, so that I could spend the penultimate day of the holidays with Joshua and so that I could be here to welcome the window installers on the first day of their installation too, so it worked out well. Being off, I also offered to have a friend’s son round to play as his parents were both due back at work. I managed to make some 9 am phone calls on Mum’s estate before Joshua awoke and anyone arrived, so that was timely and productive. It was pretty chaotic once the window installers arrived as the dogs barked at them as they moved around the house, Joshua kept standing in their way and the phone kept ringing.
So we took the dogs for a walk on the way to the swimming pool. It was fun walking along the old railway line with two boys and 4 excited dogs. We went to the pool that I had raved about at the start of the summer again, but it was much busier this time as everyone must have had the same idea. That meant that we had to wait for a family changing room both to get undressed and dressed again, and Joshua is not a very patient waiter. But it was worth it once we got into the pool, he grinned as we waded out into the water and splashed around happily. Our young friend had several goes on the slide, while we bobbed about in the water, trying to avoid other swimmers, then he took care of Joshua while I had a go on the slide too. I watched the pair of young men from the slide queue and smiled as I saw them interacting, so much so that Joshua did not miss me at all. We splashed about when the wave machine came on and then we decided that we were hungry, so we got out of the pool. It is quite hard work dressing both yourself and Joshua after a swim, keeping all of his dry clothes off the wet floor and keeping him from getting cold, but we managed.
We ended up in a fish and chip shop for our late lunch, where I did not expect sleepy Joshua to eat much but when his scampi arrived, he devoured it all. We were home again just before 3 pm when our companion was being collected by his Dad, and I was delighted to find that we had two new windows installed and the brightness in the snug was instantly noticeable. I made the workers another mug of tea for their efforts and they left an hour later, leaving Joshua and I to catch a siesta. So all in all, it was a good penultimate holiday day and today, Joshua will spend his final day with Yorkshire Grandma, as I return to work today and then the new term begins on Wednesday.
Many SEN parents struggle in the long summer holiday, having their children home 24/7, and social media is full of comments longing for the start of term and a return to normality. I however, do not feel that way : Joshua has been on great form this summer and has certainly enjoyed his time off and some freedom from the school routine. My only complaint is that I do not feel as though I have seen enough of him, only our family fortnight away and the long august bank holiday weekend, but I am really grateful to Yorkshire Grandma who has held the childcare -fort and taken him out everyday.
One of the things that I dislike about the school holidays is that I hardly see Joshua at all : he has taken to having a lie in until after 10, which I am sure is good for him, but it means that Yorkshire Grandma arrives at 8.30 to allow me to go to work and takes over, so I do not see him awake in the mornings at all. Then, because he has a late breakfast, it means that he has a late lunch so she does not bring him home again until after 7 pm as he eats his tea at her place. So he has been coming in, saying hello, then asking for a bath almost immediately. So bath time is the only time that I really see him properly, which seems very brief. I know that I am very lucky to have childcare that he enjoys, as he certainly loves to spend time with Yorkshire Grandma, but I also feel as though I am missing out.
I cannot however wait until the weekend, as we go away for our family fortnight and so then I will be with Joshua 24/7, so we will be able to catch up on lost time together. We are staying in a family property where I have holidayed most summers in my life, so it is a home from home for us all. Thankfully both my husband and Joshua love going there too, so it suits us very well for our holidays. Joshua knows the routine there, he goes straight to his bedroom as he knows where he belongs so there is no settling in time required and no need to waste time finding our bearings. The house was handed down through my Dad’s family and so when he died, Mum inherited his share and so now, my sister and I will inherit part ownership . As I spent all my childhood summers here, this house, garden and the surroundings will be full of memories of both of my parents. I have always felt closer to Dad there since he died and I am hoping to experience the same closeness with Mum.We are taking some more of her ashes with us to be scattered on a favourite walk, alongside Dad’s ashes, and I am hoping the same small blue butterflies make an appearance that we saw there, as that was very special.
More latterly, Mum has often joined us for a few days of our August fortnight, so she will be missed there too.She would come out on walks and for pub lunches with us, after doing her chores, as well as offering to babysit , allowing my husband and I to go out for meals or to the cinema in the evening or to take bike rides during the day. But it is her company that we will miss, more than her childcare, as she was always an excellent companion who was not in the least bit demanding.
So, one more day at work, then No More Working for a Week or Two…..