Well things are starting to feel very Christmassy and although we’re going away for Christmas this year, we couldn’t resist a couple of festivities in the run up! 

We attending an ASD friendly early opening of the Discovery Museum in Newcastle this morning. The new exhibitions were about the Fenwick’s Christmas window so we decided to head up early to check out this year’s. Joel went to uni in Newcastle and pre-kids we spend a fair bit of time in the toon. However Toby finds Newcastle difficult as it’s very busy even at 9am in the morning! One of the challenges that we face is to find a balance between avoiding situations because it will be too difficult for Toby and doing things that take him out of his comfort zone because life can’t always revolve around him (even though he thinks it does!) We know visiting Fenwick’s window would be a challenge for Toby so we were prepared – he sat in his buggy, wore ear defenders and had some snacks on hand to help.

We walked through Elden Square shopping centre to get to Northumberland Street which is where Fenwick’s window is. Teddy loved all the Christmas lights and decorations and was pointing and chatting away. When we got to Fenwicks, Ted loved the window too – lots of music, lights and dancing elves! Toby on the other hand would not even look at it – he just kept looking the other way!

We then popped into a couple of shops before heading back toward the Discovery Museum. One of the thing we needed was a new pair of pyjamas for Toby. Toby can only wear onesies for bed as with separate tops and trousers he finds it too easy to get his nappy off – he still manages in a onesie too but it’s more difficult for him. I found some and let go of the pushchair to pick up his size, as soon as I let go, Toby twisted himself around and tried to climb out of the pushchair backwards over the handle bars resulting in the pushchair tipping completely over with him inside it – he did this again later too. Note to self – do not let go of the pushchair in a busy situation!

The ASD friendly session at the Discovery Museum was from 10 to 11am which was when the museum opened to the public. Toby wasn’t particularly interested in the exhibitions however the rest of us had a great time. One of the reasons that we attend these ASD events is for Ted’s benefit. He loves exploring and being out and about, however normal opening times can be too busy for Toby and when he gets overwhelmed it’s no fun for anybody! Joel and I enjoyed looking at the toys from Christmases gone by and Teddy just loved running around and engaging with all the different interactive exhibitions. Toby sat in his pushchair on his iPad occasionally glancing around to see what was going on.

We headed upstairs to the Toy Fair which was a room filled with lots of toys – games, trains, dolls houses etc. They also had a little wooden house with a slide which looked strangely like the one from the Spineless exhibition at the Hancock that we went to a few months ago. Toby spotted the house and with a bit of persuasion actually came out of his pushchair and sat inside and snuggled up with a blanket. He must have felt at home as he ended up taking his trousers and nappy off without us even noticing…thankfully we released before he had an accident! He obviously felt safe in the house as it was dark and enclosed and away from his noisy little brother who was having a great time!

At 11am it was time for the museum to open to the public and so we quickly visited the Play Tyne room before it got too busy  – this had not been open as part of the ASD event which is a same as some of the children may have enjoyed it. Toby wasn’t interested, but Teddy had a great time playing in the water and floating his boats down the River Tyne and getting soaking wet in the process.

All in all we had a great morning and it was lovely to be able to explore the museum in an environment that was less busy than usual in order for Toby to cope. I think that I only saw three other families in the museum the whole time that we were there which on one hand was nice for Toby but it’s a shame that other families hadn’t benefited from the event. Anyway off to bed now…another busy day of festive fun tomorrow as we’ve been given tickets to Whitworth Hall’s Enchanted Christmas – I better dig my Christmas jumper out!