Wow, this inclusion lark is tough. Week 2 of the holidays and here comes the day I’ve chewed nails over. A lovely day in Greenwich Park with friends and their children. A day for children to run free, kick balls, climb trees and general happy family-ness whilst parents sit down and talk about how grown up the children all are and where did the last year go etc. etc. And believe me, these really are lovely friends and lovely children..but they don’t have a child with a disability.
Chloe (Josh’s sister) is having a really excellent time. She’s really happy and joining in. And I want to be so happy that one of my children is so happy. But I can’t because my other one can’t join in. And that breaks my heart.
When Chloe was tiny an elderly neighbour said to me ‘You’re only ever as happy as your unhappiest child.’ Yes, I thought but I didn’t really think much more than that. Now I get it.
So obviously all the kids are hooning around playing football. Parent dilemma commences. I don’t want Chloe to be responsible for Josh. If she comes for Josh that’s fab. But she doesn’t. And I can’t blame her. Chloe spends an admirable amount of time doubling back on herself to retrieve Josh when he’s left standing alone wondering where everyone’s gone. Parent dilemma…………do I go and play football with them and Josh? Let’s be blunt: it’s not the best look for Josh, your 44 year old Mum attempting to hoon around in her sandals wedging Josh in-between her and the ball and then us both missing.
Anyway, Josh made up his own mind. He didn’t want me ruining his style. And he roared off on his own steam. ‘Oh happy moments, he’s trying to join in with the other children.’ And this really is a big thing let me tell you.
‘Mind the tree Josh!’ I hear a parent call out. No one saw the dog turd though. Everywhere – shoes, hands, yes, even the face as Josh’s 2nd strongest functional sense is smell. Excellent. This trip to the park is a dream. A really, really bad one.
‘Mum, something awful has happened!’ came the wail from my lovely son. We spend 30 mins in the public toilets (with no soap) trying to mend this unnecessary situation.
Anyway, when we surface, it’s off for the picnic via the climbing trees. That’s ok. I climb them with Josh. I back off and do bush peeking to make sure he’s ok. Chloe comes back for him and takes him to the tree where the other children have all moved to. Thank you Chloe, I love you. Kids race towards picnic blanket for food. Chloe attempts to race with Josh towards picnic blanket. He accidentally trips her up in front of everyone because, in his words, ‘she’s going too fast.’
Chloe thinks he’s done it on purpose and lamps him. Excellent. This day is one to remember.
Eating commences, gomp gomp chomp chomp kids ram vast amounts of food down their necks and hoon off for …………football. Hurrrahhhh. Except Josh.
Josh takes as long as feasibly possible to eat because he knows at the end of lunch time he has to try and join in with playtime again, this is what happens at school.
When Josh finally finishes lunch I lead him to the other children, rapidly picking my own brain (usually unfruitful) on how to include Josh in the football. Ahhh I see sister Chloe in goal. I ask Chloe if perhaps Josh can stand in goal with her. ‘No way, not enough room’ is the reply.
Ok, chin up desperately trying to stop Josh from feeling sad……
But, ladies and gents – believe it or not this story does have a happy ending. Just when all the cards seemed very down I remembered my lethal weapon. The Stomp Rocket!
For those of you who haven’t yet met the Stomp Rocket it’s 100% plastic. A pump attached to a tube attached to a bracket which you place a plastic rocket on. You jump on it and apparently it fires up into the air 400 feet!!
Well, let me tell you; whether or not that rocket really did reach 400 feet I don’t know, but Josh and my spirits did reach 400 feet. Because as soon as we sent the first rocket into space the game of football disbanded and Josh had a queue of children behind him wanting to have a go.
Josh got massive sensory feedback from stomping on the pump and listening to how long the rocket took to hit the ground and listening to the other children’s comments on each rocket’s launch. I got massive pleasure in watching all the other children hooning around after Josh’s rocket launches.
Yes, happy times and we Stomp Rocketed for a whole hour and Josh felt part of a game with children wanting to do what he was doing and having a really great time.
Yes, happy outing. That one is definitely going in the memory bottle.
Not that I want to do a sales pitch or anything but to anyone who has a child who struggles with ball games but can stamp their foot then invest in a Stomp Rocket £10ish on Amazon. Well worth it.
Happy summer all!
P.S Buy rocket refills as well.