It’s the last day of a long weekend and we are due to take our daughter back to her other home in a few hours. It’s sunny and warm outside but at the moment she is lying on the sofa watching films and playing with her kaleidoscope, a recent acquisition. She’s just finished Matilda and now it’s on to Rio 2, another “must see”. Comedy, bold characters and the odd musical interlude are what she likes best. We’ve seen many of her films at the cinema and she goes back to the dvds time and again, carefully choosing what she wants to see, waiting for particular moments that tickle her.

We’ve had a lovely three days hanging out together doing some of her favourite things. Now it’s time for her to rest and hopefully avoid an episode of the ill health that can put her out of action for several days at a time. It appears there is a price to pay for too much physical exertion and we try to pace her activities as best we can. She loved her trike ride along the seafront in the sun and sat up high in the saddle, smiling and occasionally ringing her bell. She’s really getting into the pedalling now and enjoys the exercise. How can we deny her that?

One of the highlights of the weekend was a trip to a local restaurant where we are by now quite well known and very well looked after. The staff know to seat us where it’s easily accessible, and once our daughter is settled and we have made our selection, we are usually served quickly.

Waiting has always been hard for us in eateries, especially when other diners are tucking in around us, their plates piled high with enticing and colourful food. Our daughter has extremely long arms it seems and is quick as lightning at grabbing what she wants. Even if it’s not on her own plate. We are all-seeing and have eyes in the back of our heads. Our reflexes are still pretty good and it’s rare now that we have to say sorry for a stolen piece of cake, sausage or spilled drink.

This restaurant is used to children of all ages. Crayons and picture books are no longer offered to our daughter. The ubiquitous tablet has now taken over as her table top entertainment. She loves it. As long as we keep the volume right down, time passes happily with interactive stories or the little videos we make of her until our pizzas arrive. We always choose the light ones with plenty of salad. They are delicious. And as healthy as pizzas get.

Our girl has always loved eating and from early on had wide tastes. I remember her when younger choosing stilton cheese over cheddar, salad over chips. She’s always loved bread of any kind, whether roll, wrap or slice of toast. She’s still not a big eater of chips but will fight you for an egg and cress sandwich.

Later, as we drive back to her other home, our daughter is a little subdued. As we enter the house her key worker comes out to greet her and gets a big hug. There’s pizza for tea, she says. I thought we’d have a treat. Our girl smiles.

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