Today I woke up thinking - 'What can we do today?'. A strange feeling as I can't remember a week when I had such kid-like optimism. Most weekends have been a long list of things we can't do, and spending the first hour of the day planning how to do basic family things while taking into account all the difficulties and challenges involved.
Yesterday was another ground breaking day - we took Alex to the pub for the first time!
(I am aware how many explanation marks I am using in this blog, one of my husband's pet hates in punctuation, but the fact is the excitement I feel, means I want to end every sentence with one, and a smiley face :)!)
As you may have guessed by now, it would never have entered my thought process to have taken him before, but right now I am feeling so brave with our new companion to help us. We just went to a local we could walk to, which has a great play area, and was all festive with a live blues band and geared up for the Jubilee weekend celebrations. Of course, had I realised that, I would never have suggested it, as it was so busy, no seats, and worst of all - a bouncy castle. My fear. Don't get me wrong, Alex loves bouncy castles, but problems aren't when your kid doesn't like something, its when they like something to the point of an obsession you can't control. But today we were lucky, there was no ogre standing by charging a pound for every ten minutes use, it was a free for all, and Alex got his money's worth!
So we ordered drinks, and I stood with Lucie while Dave did his best to keep up with Alex playing. (We, as muppet parents, always forget something. Today it was Alex's drinking cup, he can only drink from a lidded cup, but I was even more pleased when we got him a glass of water, and he coped really well with a straw. An emerging skill which can be hit and miss, but today, a hit).
Apart from this being a first, the real reason I am sharing this story is to let you know how differently I felt. Alex was still being 'very autistic', running around relentlessly, and high maintenance, but for once I was not stressed and managed to enjoy a lovely afternoon. The reason it felt different to me, was no one seemed to be looking at Alex, but they were all looking at the impeccably behaved Lucie, ooing and aahing. The jacket she wears attracts great attention, but so far all positive. I was so proud to stand there with this beautiful canine. There were several other dogs around, but ours was the star for me. And I even had the naughty pleasure of watching other people's uncontrollable kids - ha ha, I love wicked judgement. And when it came to leaving and attaching Alex to Lucie, rather than us meekly leaving after a stressful outing, I felt relaxed, and proud to have been out in our community.
And right now Dave is out having snuck off with Lucie, and I am looking forward to suggesting to him that we take Alex to a cafe today to try sitting down at a table - why not?! Tom is with his grandparents for a couple of days, so I am grabbing every opportunity while we have the first time with Alex alone, and can make such great progress.