Last Saturday, I took the boys to meet up with 2 of my brothers and their families, at the zoo. It's the first time Duncan has been in over a year; our last visit to the zoo together was very difficult. This time I planned more carefully. I made a little book showing exactly what we'd be doing, went to the shop on the way to ensure I had enough drinks and snacks, and brought some money for the inevitable ice-cream van. Duncan decided that he wanted to go in his Major buggy, which was a heck of a lot easier for me than having to carry him on my back on the hilly zoo paths. We ended up having a lovely time with friends and relations, and everyone benefited from my big bag of snacks.
There was a nice group around for dinner after the zoo visit (M&S curry; very nice) and my youngest brother stayed overnight with his girlfriend and daughter. We don't get to see them anything like often enough since we all live so far apart. My sister phoned when they were all here and was jealous to be missing out. That's the problem with living in London. Hopefully she'll move back eventually, (ah go on C!)
The Belfast Marathon took place on Monday. My SIL was running the whole damn thing, her first ever marathon! What a woman. I went out early with Lady and Thomas, hoping to see her and her sisters and cheer them on a bit. But I missed them, they'd either ran past before I arrived or when I'd left. Unfortunately, Thomas was too cold to stay for any longer. At least I recognised one of the runners. The other spectators were just standing around silently when we got there. I started clapping (to Lady's embarrassment) and thankfully a few people joined me, so I didn't feel like such a plonker. But for god's sake, those runners deserved a bit more than stony-faced observation as they stomped the windy streets of Belfast for 26.2 miles!
On Friday, the boys had their 2nd gymnastics lesson. It's a class for 5 year olds, and I had agreed with the manager that Duncan could try it out, and that I'd stay with him. Thomas loves the class. He has been wonderful too, really putting every effort into whatever they're doing, and following all instructions and requests. It shows that he didn't need to go to nursery or school for a few years to be able to line up and take turns and follow a class. His little face was shining with excitement and joy at one stage, when they were dong some stretching exercises and the teacher was asking them to pretend their fingers were spiders running along the floor in front of them. He was showing off a bit on the trampoline too, but not too much. That's my boy!
Duncan was frightened when we went there at first and sat beside me looking around. Then he started to explore and soon he was running around the whole room. He mostly ran around doing his own thing, jumping and climbing and leaping into the foam pit. But a few times, and much more so during the 2nd class, he joined the other children and copied them, especially when they were doing a little circuit of activities. The teacher has just recently moved from the region of London we used to live in, and taught a class of autistic children there, so she's very open minded and flexible about Duncan. She agrees that he's better off getting familiar with the place and equipment at first, and we encourage him to join in as much as possible, rather than try to compel him to do so.
Anyway, both boys are enjoying the class. Lady quite likes it too, since she stays with Duncan to help him and look after him (though I have my eagle eye on him at all times too, and have to do a wee bit or redirection now and then). Lady also has had permission to have a go on the trampoline when the class are finished with it!
Today, I'm busy helping Lady and Gordon prepare for their week long holiday in Toronto. Gordon's Mum is also going. This trip is our 80th birthday present to her! They will be meeting up with Gordon's cousin who lives there, and Lady is especially excited about meeting his daughter, who is exactly her age and whom she hasn't met before. We've been reading about all the various things to do and see in Toronto. It looks like a great city and they are all guaranteed to have a marvellous time. I'll miss them, but knowing they are all enjoying themselves so much, and that Lady and Gordon will have a good chance for some father-daughter time together, means I'm not going to be jealous.
Well not too much!