What a great week we have just had. We went away for a week on holidays with the kids to a caravan park. I definitely had some stress and concern about how we would all cope, especially how Jono would do... or is that how we would do with Jono? Anyways, I spent the day before we left packing and cleaning and organizing pets and food so that they would survive while we were gone (many thanks mum who came and fed them for us), and on the day it still took around 3 hours of 'final' packing before we were ready to leave. When we finally got going it ended up being quite a short trip to get there, only 2 hours. I'm fairly sure we went for a swim pretty much straight away and ended up swimming every day.
The first real joy - Jono can swim! All by himself, he can co-ordinate his arms and legs together enough in a dog paddle-type thing to propel himself across the pool, even in deep water. I was free to have a swim by myself without a child holding on to me and without me being on 'guard' in case floaties fell off or someone got caught in a circumstance they weren't sure of. Wooooo!!!
We had the kids all in the one room on a 3 bunk bed. Jono claimed the middle bunk and managed to sleep in it for 3 nights, then started drawing in bed and ended up on the floor with his drawings, his pillow and doona for 2 nights, then back in the bunk. Last holidays we were on years ago we changed the kids beds each night, but this time we didn't bother and Jono wanted the middle bunk the whole time when we offered to change, which was fine as far as we were concerned.
He loves ocean swimming too, I had to be right near him when we went to the bay for a swim as there was a decent undercurrent. It was so great to see how much he enjoyed himself in it no fear, runs out to a wave, gets smashed by it and falls apart giggling, then heads out to the next wave.
On another day we went to a shopping centre (that was packed to the rafters with people) and it had a lot of outdoor fun things for kids to do, little rides, digging machines, a playground, a 'train' which we rode on but Jono was quite uncomfortable about, so Daddy stayed with him, and grandma, myself and the other two took off. When we got back Daddy had him jumping on a car track, and the other two got on with him. The cars on this track where ones that you sat 'on' the roof, and put your legs into the front seat area for the pedals, and the steering wheel was up at roof level with you. We were 'really' unsure how Jono would go, if he would even understand that you needed to put your foot down to make it go, let alone be able to steer. Luckily the track was circular, so it was easy to navigate, and also luckily the cars all had bumpers on them, coz Jono caused a traffic jam at one stage (giggling as the cars crashed into his) but he did really really well! He could steer, he figured out the pedals, and the assistant only had to help him once. Rob spent about an hour after wards saying he was hoping Jono would understand and was thrilled by how well he did.
And once last thing on understanding, Jono now understands money. He understands you need to use money to buy things and this just gives us such hope and joy for his future. The caravan park we stayed in had all the road as shared zones for cars, walkers and bikes. We took down with us a few scooters to be able to zip around, and all the kids enjoyed using these. They got the know their way around the park pretty quick and were comfortable with the surrounds - including Jono. One morning we were fixing up the training wheels on Sarah's Christmas present while her and Daniel were in the Kids Club (Jono didn't want to go in, so he stayed with us), we got quite involved with what we were doing and didn't quite notice where he was for a minute or two. After realizing he wasn't in the cabin I said to Rob I'd better go look for him and headed out the door.
I walked along the road our cabin was on and headed towards the front office and found Jono, on a scooter trying to ride it one handed, with something tucked into his shirt that he was holding with his other hand. I opened up his shirt and there was a can of drink. He had... all by himself... decided he was thirsty, found some money, gotten some transport, headed to the drink machine at the front office, put the money in, chose his drink, and headed back to us.
It's been a very Merry Christmas time this year... some perhaps more merry than others with the sugar laden drinks their parents let them have because they can use money :P