There was the big scary bonfire that belched out red bits and choky smoke like a baby Welsh dragon. The warm still afternoons spent raking up grass and being Laura with a sunbonnet batting my shoulders. I had a lovely old-fashioned country childhood, a million miles away from the 21st century Dublin version that my kids are getting. And I want them to look back with a smile. Just as I do. I've written before about making memories, by organising special outings that they won't forget. But I can't manage that every day. And my son with Asperger's wants a life that is predictable. Surprises are not welcome in this house, sadly.
So what to do? Especially with the summer holidays starting tomorrow...
Well, there are the daily routines that have to be got through, and then there the empty hours that will be filled with console-playing and video-watching if I do not organise something else. So I'm trying to create family traditions, just like the ones that I remember from my Welsh childhood. But they have to be based something. Anything will do. And for this one I've used my son's love of hot dogs. Not mine, you understand. He keeps telling me that I am the best 'baker', but is not enthralled with my healthy home cooking.
It all began thanks to the annual appearance of the hot dog stands in nearby streets during the summer months. You see we live near a major sports ground, and right now there are matches every Sunday, and some Saturdays too. Parking and driving around the area become difficult. So we don't. We walk instead.
This means that both my younger children get a bit of fresh (ish) air and aspie boy gets some exercise, especially when he takes turns pushing his sister's wheelchair. The hot dog hunt takes us in the same general direction each time, but you never know where exactly where they will be. And usually there are several, which means that aspie boy has to overcome his anxiety and choose from which stand he wants to buy his hot dog. On a very good day he might even order and pay for it himself. So it's all good. Including the hot dog itself.
And what does Smiley get out of it? Well she just gets caught up in all the excitement and activity :D