Hello My Loves!
This is the first time I think I have spoken about this on my blog… please bare with me it’s a bit of a tough one. So if you follow my socials you may know our eldest monkey has a few additional needs, this can often mean day trips can be a challenge with different environments not always being the right setting for him.
As you can imagine Ethan (and us as a family) often miss out on things and we get a hell of a lot of parent guilt. Anyone with a child with additional needs will know just what I am talking about! Its like a battel between what we want to be doing vs what we know is actually the right thing to do. Sadly, some family and friends don’t understand this and there’s a lot of pressures to attend things and do things out of ours and the boys comfort.
Finding activities that are Autism friendly can be a huge challenge, there often not well advertised and if they are known are arranged for once in a blue moon or fully booked way into the summer.
The Belgrade Theatre have recently started doing relaxed performances of some of there family friendly shows like the Panto, im a huge fan of the theare there is nothing better then watching live perfomances its something I want the boys to be able to experaince and hopefully they will share my love for it too.
Now you know I went to see the panto before Christmas and loved it… see blog post here! I took a friend’s child, came out after we both enjoyed it and had proper mum guilt!
We were kindly invited along to the relaxed proformance and of course I was super excited to be taking the boys. We asked lukes aunty donna to come with us as an extra pair of hands for me and the two boys.
On the week leading up to the profomance we recived an email from the Belgrade with a full break down of the play and everything to expect during the play. This was amazing as I sat down with the boys and told them what we would be seeing, what the building looked like, how its was going to work so they were prepared before we went including showing them all the charecters the different scene and the dragon.
On the day both boys were very excited, we got a taxi into town there first ever taxi ride and on arriving were greeted buy so many friendly happy members of staff wearing sparkly hats. They were giving the children sensory fiddle toys that glowed and flashed in the dark and knitted fiddle sleeves. Such a lovely touch to help keep children engaged and distracted.
There were no allocated seats which helped a lot, you sat where you wanted, we had a small row to the side to ourselves which ment the boys could wriggle and move around freely we also had booster seats for the children to sit on and they could see the stage clearly.
Now, before we went, I thought Ethan would be great for a little while then get bored and not want to watch / sit still and I thought Liam would love the music singing and dancing plus being in a exciting place.
Before the show began Ian (he plays the dame) came out onto the stage and explained what we were to expect in his normal voice, and then explained to everyone how this was his stage voice, talking about the different characters and effects they will be showing. He showed how the lighting would change, from high to medium so we could still see, there was a subtitle screen on stage and then showed the different scene changes! He mentioned the word Dragon…
The whole audience was fine no one flinched all expect Liam of course It would be one of my monkeys to not be happy.
Liam burst into tears shouted “ahh the dragons going to eat me” and legged it out the theatre. They leave the doors open so people can come and go freely which is a lovely touch you don’t feel like your overly disturbing.
So here’s me running after him having to leave Ethan with his Aunty Donna and I now have a child who is refusing to step back inside the show that hasn’t even began yet!!
The staff where amazing and brought him over the book to show him when the dragon will be coming and that hes not scary etc.
Liam is the worlds most stubborn child once he has his head on something that’s it so he didn’t want to go back inside!
Again the staff were so good they played with him, provided colouring. Had a soft cushion area he could sit and watch the show on the tv screen. They spoke to him and would reassure the show is fine to encourage him to try again, he ran back in turned right around and ran back out. That was it for him he was done.
Ethan did great but then of course because Liam wasn’t watching after about 15 mins Ethan decided he had enough too and ran out. By this point out of everyone in the whole theatre it was just my two refusing to watch and take part.
They started to get hyped up, a little naughty so I got their coats on and we left.
EPIC MUM FAIL.
I cried when we got home, something I don’t often do in front of the children, I had hit breaking point. I felt embarrassed and utterly shit.
It was one of those I’ve tried my best moments and there just not having any of it / appreciate it what it is there doing.
For the next few days they were asking to go back to watch the show but obviously it was too late.
I think we both learned a lesson that day, I will never know how they cope in these environments and situations until I try. Everyone has good and bad days, the boys just had a bad day and not having their dad there didn’t help the obviously took full advantage that mums weaker on her own! The lesson I think they have learnt… if mum says this is our one chance to see the show believe her, and maybe listen!
I’m hoping next years relaxed performance of the panto I will be sat her writing about how amazing the boys did because we are super lucky to have the Belgrade put on facility’s like this!
Huge thank you to the Belgrade for being inclusive and for your brilliant patient staff who on that day made me feel like no matter what the children were doing that it was fine as long as they were happy. I would highly recommend the relxed pofromance even if you have younger children with no additional needs that you worried may be fidgety and not want to sit down it’s a great way to introduce them to the theater.
This isn’t my normal type of post I’ve been nervous to post about it majorly trying to bring my wall down, its very real and raw for me… do you like hearing about this sort of thing? I would love your feedback.