Anyone who knows Pudding, knows that he is obsessed by ball.

It was one of his earliest words and as soon as he could walk he would stagger up to anyone in the park and demand to play with their ball. Once his balance improved enough to stay upright without falling over every two seconds, he quickly outstripped Twiglet with his football skills.

Pudding sitting in a bucket swing holding a ball.He still frequently impresses strangers with his kicks which are both hard and accurate. As for me, I’ve always enjoyed looking on with pride and knowing that there is at least one thing that he’s better at than his peers. (Yes, I know, I know, I’m meant to accept and celebrate him whether he’s good or not. And I do, but allow me just a little bit of Mummy boasting?)

When he was little we used to joke that he would be a professional football player. A while later once we realised that he had some problems we changed to saying that he still would just as long as he could learn the rules.

Now? Well ok, I always knew that it wouldn’t happen, but it’s hard facing realities. When he was at the school sessions last month he gravitated to the football area. I watched smiling, knowing that this would be the place he could shine. And I saw the other children quickly changing direction with the ball, tackling and aiming for the goal. Yes, Pudding can still do impressive kicks, but he simply doesn’t have the agility or understanding to play a game well with others. His balance has improved a lot over the last year but he still falls frequently if he tries to run in anything other than a straight line. He knows that someone stands in goal but not what to do there: when it is his turn and a ball comes towards him he often just flinches. This is just one more thing that MPS has been taking from him.

Maybe he’ll catch up again and can learn to truly interact. In the meantime, we still love playing endless hours of ball in the garden. Or the park. Or anywhere someone leaves their ball unattended.

And hey, with his size and build, and his tendency to pick up the ball and run with it, maybe rugby is the more natural choice after all…?



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