Opinion with Matthew Munson: Giant bananas, Halloween and routine

Matthew, Bryan and the new house guest

It’s easy to forget how useful routine can be sometimes. The last two weeks at Casa de Munson have been rather busy, with every day after school taking us to different venues and activities. It was broken by a trip last weekend further along the south coast to visit Bryan’s brother and sister – full of humour, hot tubs, and a determined play on the beach despite the wind.

This Saturday morning was the first time in a fortnight where we didn’t have to get up at a particular time, and my word it showed. We clearly needed the rest, and I’m keeping the weekend calm as a result – and reintroducing our normal routine next week to help us stay relaxed (I need it as much as he does).

Bryan’s become something of a fan of the arcades in Broadstairs; I offered him a choice of activity today, and he immediately went for the arcades without a second thought. The last time we went, a few weeks ago, he got incredible amounts of tickets – both from his hard work and from the kindness of other people who just gave us tickets they didn’t need or want. He could either save his tickets or get something from the options; the allure was too great and he went for a massive banana, who has a name, accent, and a place in his bedroom. Guess who got the privilege of carrying the banana all the way home? It certainly wasn’t Bryan.

We are already looking ahead to Halloween as well, which is in a couple of weeks. It certainly won’t look the same as last year, but I’m determined to make it fun. My mum and I are both doing Halloween Hunts, and visits to Dover Castle (with a friend of his from school) and Quex are both in order. I’m going to take him out on Halloween itself, because I think he’ll enjoy the experience; I can’t imagine as many houses will be involved in Trick or Treating this year, but a scheme where people put pumpkins in windows and parents giving a sweet every time they see one will still keep some of the magic alive. I hope so; the last few months haven’t been fun for anyone, but it’s the children I feel most sorry for. Bryan hasn’t experienced very many events like this, so I want to give him as many fun experiences as possible during his childhood and teenage years as well as him learning how to be a kind, intelligent, and funny young man.

Different occasions aren’t for everyone; I know people who don’t like or celebrate Halloween, and that’s an entirely valid choice. I grew up around it, so I’m fairly relaxed with Trick or Treating (done well and respectfully), and I want to teach Bryan how to view it in the same way. I’ve so far managed to avoid too many discussions about Christmas, but that won’t last forever; thank heavens, Bryan prefers to watch videos on Youtube and play occasional games on his tablet – both places where targeted ads don’t seem to reach him. It won’t miss him for very much longer, however, so I will enjoy it while it does.

School starts again tomorrow, for the last week before half-term. I don’t know what the next few months will require us to endure, at home and at school, so I want Bryan to savour every moment with his education and his friends. It’s a place he feels safe at, and is with a teacher he likes, and has friends he has bonded incredibly well with, so I’m thankful for those simple pleasures – everything else will come into place at some point. I’ll figure it out at some point … probably when the politicians do.


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