8/1/17 This Weekend …

This weekend we have been #justaboutcoping with making gingerbread men, a visit to the cinema, and swimming, in our #worldWITHdowns , and I was happy to find that I can still lead a boy astray (even if only my husband).

I don’t want to invite a jinx to the party, but the first full weekend of 2017 went pretty well, for us at least.

We took Freddie to the cinema for the first time on Saturday. Previously I haven’t thought that his attention span would sustain him through a whole film, but over Christmas he has sat and paid attention to a couple of films on TV all the way through; so we booked tickets for a Mini Mornings showing at our local Vue cinema – with tickets at only £1.99 even for grown ups, we wouldn’t be too miffed if we had to leave before the end. We watched ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ in an almost empty auditorium. The few other patrons were all families with young children. Freddie was really good – he chattered a bit, but I don’t think any one else could have heard him over the soundtrack, and he sat in his seat and watched through the whole thing.  I’m not sure how much he ‘got’ of what was going on, he didn’t laugh at the jokes, but he was certainly paying attention – repeating bits of the dialogue and ‘pretending’ to be the characters (‘I’m Max, I’m Duke’). But that’s good enough for me – it’s one more thing we can now do together as a family, and each get some positive enjoyment from.

The plan (Daddy’s plan), for after we’d dropped Freddie off at his Nan and Grandad’s following the film, was for him and me to go for a brisk and bracing guilt-trip walk in the countryside to combat our slovenly slide into middle-aged spread, caused by excessive laziness and wine consumption. I thought he must be coming down with something he caught in the pub on Friday.

The prospect of yomping through the mud in the woodland around an abandoned colliery, on a drizzly Saturday filled me with such utter delight that I felt I did not really deserve such a treat. No, really, I absolutely did not deserve it. I have recently discovered that I have a healthy height:weight:vanity ratio for a woman of my age and build. You think I have no excuse for not joining a gym and getting a washboard stomach? I have the prefect one – I’m baking gingerbread with one or more of my children. And eating it.

Anyway, on the way back to the car we went past the ‘new’ bar, the one with all the artisan beers, the one we said we’d like to go to together, and I decided we’d be going on a slightly different guilt-trip instead. What a shame, I said, that we wouldn’t get time to go to that bar today, while Freddie was at his grandparents, seeing as how I haven’t been there yet, but Daddy has, several times. It would still count as exercise if we walked back into town after dropping Freddie off, we could go via the ‘scenic ‘ route through the side streets round where he used to go to school, and look if any of the nice houses were for sale, and then drop into the bar for a coffee.

When we got to the bar the coffee miraculously turned into rhubarb Gin (because they’re so much better at gin than they are at coffee. And it’s  no use having a single because you’ve barely sat down before it’s gone).

After a while Daddy said he was peckish and I just happened to remember a that a place nearby does tapas – well, it’s an hour’s walk home and you can’t do that on an empty stomach, can you?

By the time we’d eaten that it was nearly time for Freddie to come home, so we caught the bus. Two stops before ours we saw that we were the only passengers still on it. I laughed and said that since we were sitting at the back we could have a little snog … so we did, just a kiss or two, until the bell rang for the bus to stop and we realised that we weren’t actually the only people on the bus. Oops!

On Sunday I remembered why it’s  been a while since we went swimming as a family, but not until after we’d got in the pool –  it was bloody freezing. When Freddie started shivering we thought we’d best get him out and warmed up quickly – his body doesn’t seem to regulate it’s own temperature too well at extremes . As I wrapped him in a towel he looked up at me, and through chattering teeth said: ‘I want to go back in the pool’.

We got home to find the gingerbread men we made on Friday evening had matured nicely by now, and were slightly chewy – perfect as far as I was concerned. I don’t want to break my veneers, and I especially don’t want the ignominy of breaking them on a biscuit I made myself (with a little help from Freddie). I also found a use for some of the free McDonalds ‘toys’ that are cluttering up the back of a drawer. From among the assortment of inexplicable plastic tat I extricated two miniature plush toys, one Max, one Duke, that we acquired many moons ago when ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ first came out. Freddie’s gone to bed tonight clutching one in each hand.

If this is the terrible, miserable, life with Down’s Syndrome the doctors warn expectant mothers about, then I’ll take it; and you can keep the change. #winningatlife

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