Many years ago I grew a beard to make myself look older for my first parents evening. I say beard but I really mean stubble. Yesterday Joe was pretending to shave me. It all started innocently until Joe asked me “why is there no beard there?”. It took me a moment to realise he was referring to a ‘patch’ in my beard. I haven’t ever really thought about my beard but when a ten year old boy points out inadequacies and finds it funny I can envisage it might be the start of a longer joke. 
Last night Joe and I went for a curry along with family. Joe was sat at the other end of the table which meant Joe constantly signed to me. Makaton signing is a communication aid and Joe uses it a lot. I know a bit of Makaton due to my job. Joe has some favourite signs with me which includes ‘phone’ and ‘C’ for Coca-Cola. Last night I had to put up with Joe catching my attention and signing ‘Donkey’, ‘Pig’ and ‘Cow’ at me. Just what I like when tucking into dinner.
At the end of the meal we were given slices of orange and hot flannels. Joe had moved seats and was sat next to me. Joe’s first priority was the oranges. Joe prefers eating orange peel than the inside and no amount of encouragement will see him change his preference. When Joe was satisfied with his orange peel consumption he started on the hot flannels. These were now cold. Joe wasn’t remotely interested in wiping his hands. He much preferred to put the towel all over my face and through my hair. He particularly enjoyed cleaning my glasses while they were on my face. Joe’s cherub-like face lit up as he pretended to wash me as I was ‘..dirty and need a shower.’ 
All opportunities for communication are vital for Joe as he develops his speech. His imagination is wonderful and not being able to express this must be so frustrating. 
So thanks for the laughs Joe. Even if my lasting memories of my Saturday are being a patchy-bearded, donkey who needs a shower. 


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