When Mojo wakes up in the morning she cries, little sobs to start with gaining strength the longer it takes us to reach her. It’s quite heartbreaking sometimes. I commented to my husband that I hate how it takes her so long to wake up properly in the morning. He laughed. ‘She wakes up EXACTLY like you’ he said. ‘You might have the adult social filters to not sob openly but I feel it radiating from you when you stir first thing. If you could sob until you wake up fully you would!’ He’s so right. It has weirdly made me better able to deal with Mojo’s morning meltdowns, once I realised it wasn’t necessarily some sinister complex thing but instead just an inherited resistance to getting the day started I knew how to deal with it (it’s okay to put espresso in a feeding tube, right??)
Morning sobbing aside things are pretty rosy at the minute. This weekend was Special Children’s Day at London Zoo. We first discovered Special Children’s Day when a group trip was offered to us through the Enhanced Children’s Centre we are supported by. That was four years ago and we have been every year since. It just seems to fall at the perfect time of year when the weather is turning warmer so Mojo’s long suffering respiratory system is finally getting a bit of well earned rest from winter bugs and we’re ready to play out.
It is a great day out at the Zoo with additional support and entertainment in place for children with additional needs. Some of the entertainment is more of a hit than others. The giant costumed animals at the entrance for example, are best avoided in our case as they induce Mojo’s full scale scared face!
Mojo’s little sister is mobile and engaged in the concept of a Zoo day for the first time this year and it was a joy to watch them sharing the experience with enthusiastic oooh ooohs and rooooaaarrs. The pair of them mimicking the giraffes sticking their tongues out to eat was too adorable.
The thing about doing something annually is that I really notice the developments that Mojo has made since the previous visit. This time it was simple things like the choosing of which animal facepaint she wanted. Last year she needed guidance and heavy suggestion and this year she was totally clear that she wanted to be a zebra because she was wearing a stripey tshirt, like a zebra!
The additional facilities provided to help families like us do make the day much more enjoyable even despite the rare occasions when my mind was blown by the staggering ignorance of adults ducking under a barrier during a display to stand full in front of a child in a wheelchair!! Also disasterously the boiling hot weather lead to a total ice-cream sell out across the park, with the exception of Rum & Raisin (turns out it needs to be hotter than the surface of the sun before anyone is tempted to eat Rum & Raisin, who knew!)
These minor frustrations quickly faded from my mind when we took our seats for the Singing Hands performance. Arguably the absolute highlight of Mojo’s entire year the Singing Hands team bring a totally joyous, engaging, inclusive, entertaining and educational show to a packed marquee twice a day during Special Children’s Weekend. If you have never experienced Singing Hands stop what you are doing this instant and look them up on YouTube. Using Makaton which is Mojo’s favoured communication method the ladies from Singing Hands bring a huge range of children’s favourites to life with singing, signing and visual props as well as Makaton symbols
The sheer delight that watching them live, having watched the DVDs on repeat all year, brings to Mojo, is unsurpassed. I might have cried the first time I watched her watching them. Always happy to chat to their adoring fans the team all have an amazing memory for faces and an ability to make every child feel special when they come to say hello. I love them, can you tell?
I love our Zoo trips, I love that they are an annual fixture that we have consistently been able to attend. I love that feeling of confidence that comes with knowing that so many other parents you pass are in that (Peppa Pig style) secret club of people who ‘get it’. There’s no explaining to do and barely a sideways glance when you’re tube feeding at the picnic table.
I also (mostly) love that it’s such an excitingly exhausting day that they both sleep through the night!!
We’re already looking forward to next year!
There follows some shameless self-promotion…
I am completely thrilled to have been shortlisted for the MAD Blog Award for Best Preschool Blog 2016. If you enjoy reading about Mojo’s adventures and would like to vote for The Sun Will Come Up I would be very very chuffed if you took 5 seconds to follow this lovely link and voted Click here for voting form THANK YOU