I make it sound more dramatic than it was; these old university friends of mine and their three delightful children were no different to any family of five wired on a heady cocktail of Fanta and their youngest's body weight in chocolate. And Tom adored them. He followed the older ones round, he directed questions to them and understood what they said back. Tom laughed with Ellis and Rhianna and, as part of a joint project with the latter that will be worth a couple of credits in delinquent school, coated much of the shed in chalk. He chased and was pursued; he tickled and guffawed and generally had a ball.
And so did we.
The weekend was exceptional merely in its ordinariness, the sort of weekend families have together, and it couldn't have come at a better time for us. So, in the style of all the therapy sessions we subject Tom and ourselves to, here are our 'take home messages' from the weekend.
- The house of the Golden Arches is a perfectly acceptable, nay ideal, restaurant of choice for an Easter Sunday lunch with four under-10s.
- An hour-and-a-half long bedtime tantrum is par for the course and not, as nagging voices in the backs of minds will have it, in any way exacerbated by Tom's deafness. It's exacerbated by chocolate.
- Staying off the topic of work isn't always the best course of action on holiday weekends, particularly not when one of said friends is an Occupational Therapist who, in a few short minutes, came up with some excellent suggestions for helping Tom with his still-slightly-suspect balance. Tom was discharged with unseemly haste from the out-patient physiotherapy and while I don't doubt there are far more needy cases in their long, long waiting list, this experience sits in the 'not good' half of our NHS experiences pros and cons list.