Matthew Munson: Weekend fun and planning for Halloween

During the summer holidays, many of mine and Bryan’s weekends were fairly relaxed; I wasn’t having to clock-watch quite as closely as I do during term-time, when there are more responsibilities to fulfil.

Now, of course, the clock has come back into full use again; Bryan has two dance classes, my work routine has gone back to normal, and we are making the most of our Sundays to chill out, relax, and just enjoy some time together.

On Saturday mornings, Bryan has a dance class, but we have a bit of time beforehand to do some bits and pieces at home. I try and keep it relaxed, however, as Bryan will be active for his lesson. This Saturday just gone, I popped out to the bin store for our block of flats, quietly contemplating the world as I enjoyed a moment of peace and quiet. As I walked back, I realised something; I’d thrown my keys into the bin store as well. To say I was miffed is an understatement; I might have muttered a word under my breath that I would usually discourage – strongly discourage – my son from saying.

I mentioned my frustration to one of my neighbours, and she immediately leapt into action with a step ladder. Bryan was on call immediately, despite it being twenty past seven in the morning – he came running out in a dressing gown and different-coloured shoes to hold a light over the bins so we could survey the scene. It wasn’t the most pleasant of situations, but we succeeded – alright, my neighbour succeeded – in getting my keys back, and all was well with the world. That particular early Saturday morning was not as quiet as it otherwise should be, but it goes to show that, no matter how organised your plans are, a simple mistake can lead to unintended consequences.

I’m writing this on Saturday, as I’m not entirely sure if I’ll have time to write it on Sunday. Bryan and I are signed up to the Colour Run in Cliftonville, but the weather isn’t looking particularly pleasant. I’m no diva – a bit of light, occasional rain never hurt anyone – but if it’s anything like the recent downpour we’ve had, I’m going nowhere near it. Bryan is convinced he would be happy to run in any weather, so we’ll see what he says in the morning if indeed it is raining hard. I hope it isn’t – I really want to do it – but you, reader, will know what the weather was like as you are living in the future compared to when I’m writing my column (11.20am on Saturday morning from the waiting room of Bryan’s dance studio). You find room to write wherever you can.

It’s nice to be back into a routine, however, and I love watching Bryan come alive as he learns more about who he is as a person. He loves dancing and music and learning; he goes to a dance studio twice a week, and he’s keen to start a third dance class as well – I’ve said that can wait until the new year, as he’s still establishing his routine at school, and I want to make sure he has enough time to fit everything in that he needs to do; an after-school club, his homework, time to relax, time with family. It’s important to find a balance in his life, and I want to help him with that; I’m certainly supportive of him doing some extra dancing, but I’m also keen to help him manage his time, his mental health, and his activities. I suspect he would dance every day if he could …

Bryan is trying to stretch the apron strings even further now; he wants to walk part of the way to his dance school by himself now on a Friday and Saturday (I’ve found a safe route for him to go), and I can see that he’s always looking for things to do that give him that bit of independence or responsibility. He hasn’t quite yet understood that becoming independent also means hanging out the washing, for example, but I’m teaching him about that, even if he is a little bit resistant from time to time.

Now that we’re into October, I need to start looking for a Halloween costume for Bryan; he wants to be a demon for his trick or treat adventures this year, so there’s the next challenge for me. I do like a challenge; good job, really.