Family Christmas 2018 Part II

I was awake early on Christmas Day as usual, but went back to bed at 5 ish for some more sleep and that time , I slept in until 8.30. So when I came downstairs, my husband was already downstairs preparing the turkey for the oven.A bleary-eyed Joshua followed me downstairs soon afterwards, oblivious of the day and demanding some porridge, ahead of anything else. The turkey timings were such that we were aiming for Christmas lunch at 1.30 which seemed very civilised. Mum went to church on her own, while my husband and I dug up home-grown potatoes, leeks and carrots for our festive lunch and Joshua rejected the Christmas TV on offer, in favour of Madagascar for a change!

We began to open presents in the lounge, each having a pile of parcels on a different chair to tackle. Joshua reluctantly joined us, so long as the ipad came too. But he enjoyed playing fetch with the dogs , who each had a new squeaky toy to play with, so that kept him amused while I opened some parcels for him and shared the contents with him. Granny joined us when she got back, she began to open her parcels too, while the turkey cooked nicely. Before we knew it. it was midday and time to allow the turkey to rest and start the vegetables. It seemed to be a very calm process and the timings all came together just right. We had homemade and home grown leek and potato soup for starter and the ingredients could not have been fresher.

Joshua joined us for the soup course as he loves soup and we kept him busy with pulling crackers : he must have pulled about 8 crackers , both ends, during the starter course. He is not interested in the prize or joke and nobody is allowed to wear a paper hat – they are ripped off your head as soon as he sees them.But he loves the pull – he has a funny grinning, eyes closed pose – and the bang of a cracker and always has done. But once the crackers and soup were finished, Joshua wandered off, showing no interest in the main course of the meal , so he missed out on the charades that we shared from the crackers. However,he returned for some Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.

We cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher, then headed up the lane for a dog walk with Joshua in his wheelchair. It was grey but not wet or too cold, but after a quarter of a mile, he began to stamp on the footplate of his chair, insisting on turning around. I took him back home with Ruby and immediately the stamping and protesting ended,and were replaced by happy noises and jiggling in his chair, while the others walked further on. Joshua was delighted to get home again, where I put the kettle on. We watched Jungle Book on the television with a cup of tea, but Joshua withdrew to his den with his choice of viewing on, so I grabbed 40 winks, before he cuddled in and had a few small seizures. Perhaps he had felt those seizures approaching while on the walk?

We returned to the lounge, minus Joshua, to complete our present opening and play with our many presents .Before we knew it, it was time to prepare our evening meal of salad, cold meat ,¬†cheeses and mince pies, even though we thought earlier in the day that we would never eat again. After clearing away, it was bath time then Joshua got into his new Christmas pyjamas and came downstairs to show Granny how well they fitted him. Around 9.45, Joshua finally settled back in bed, allowing me and Mum to enjoy , and cry at, ‘Call the Midwife’ on catch up TV.

All in all it was a great day full of food, presents, laughter and happy times. Today we get to do it all again, as my sister and her family are joining us today for a repeat performance.

Tokens of thanks

I took Joshua into school for his last day of 2018, as I was hosting a parent coffee morning too. I made a coffee cake for 6th form staff as an unexpected thank you for them and it seemed to go down well. We debated teacher and class presents during the coffee morning as the Mums who attended had all done something different : some had bought biscuits for the class and others had bought chocolate for those that they share their transport with. At a special school we have more day to day contact with the driver and passenger assistants than with school staff and so they tended to be the ones who were rewarded with gifts.

I also thanked Joshua’s taxi driver and escort with home baking : I made some chocolate brownies and put them into a Santa shaped cookie jar. The man who has been our taxi driver since September is retiring sadly so that was a find farewell last night. He has been a perfect combination for us as he has talked to Joshua, not ignored him as some do,yet he has not chatted too much to us as parents. he has got out of the car to help with loading the wheelchair, whereas many say that is not part of their role. And most importantly, when Joshua started fitting in his taxi, he remained calm, followed protocol and he timed the seizures while driving him back to school, as agreed. So all of that was worthy of thanks with some home-baking. Who knows who we will be allocated in the new year, we will just wait and see who turns up! But there will be continuity with¬† the same passenger assistant who will be able to show the new driver the ropes.

I am not sure if Joshua realised why I was asking him to thank the taxi driver particularly yesterday, but he ran indoors quickly anyway, keen to get his helmet and boots off and to be able to relax after a busy day meeting Father Christmas. He brought a school present home and it has gone under the tree, rather than it being opened at school. I am not sure that Joshua knows that he now has over two weeks off school on Christmas holidays but he will start to realise soon when he goes to a family party on Sunday and when Granny arrives to stay. But we are starting the holidays off with a bang, as we are off to the theatre today to watch Shrek the Musical, which I am really looking forward to. This is his Christmas present from me and for the two good friends that we are going with, so let the festivities begin!