1 Jun 2006

A trip to the farm

Gordon has gone to a conference and will be away until Wednesday, yikes! The past few days he stayed off work to get organised and to spend some time with us before leaving. It's been frenzied as I managed to finish the DLA form, (with big thanks to D. for her input) and we bought loads of food to ensure I don't run out over the next few days; Duncan and supermarkets is not a good combination!

I managed to visit the library by myself last night and now have loads of great books to keep me entertained in the long, bright evenings. I got a big book on Greek and Roman mythology; having read lots of references on Kristina's blog 'Autismland', I wanted to know more. You see, blogging is educational!

Duncan continues to care deeply about his image. I came home the other night to see him dressed as Zeebad. He was wearing a brown shirt, clinched at the waist with a brown belt. The outfit was accessorised with a brown toy arrow bag slung over one shoulder and a small brown handbag over the other shoulder. The best thing though was the 'hair'. He had stuck a long, thin bit of black plastic, encased at the top by a small gold ring, onto his hair with sticky tape! The character he was emulating is bald, apart from a black plait on the top of his head, bound by a gold ring.

Thankfully, he changed to more standard attire when we all went to visit the open farm. Duncan was very, very excited. He was much more interested in the big, old farm dog than any of the other animals. He wasn't sure how to react to all this excitement and emotion spilling out of him so he ran and ran in a circuit. He would approach the dog, saying (as it was lying in the sun) 'Dog! Wake up dog!' Then he was a bit freaked out if the dog moved towards him. He was shouting,'I'm frightened! Dead!' followed by 'I want, pat the dog'. I lead him to the very good-natured animal, who was completely unperturbed by this shrieking boy, and showed Duncan how to stroke him. We spent most of the time at the farm making approaches, then retreating swiftly, from this dog. I was happy to hear Duncan run off to find Lady at one stage and tell her, 'Lady, dog! Come see dog. Pat dog!' She obliged, of course, and he was so happy to share this great experience with her.

Thomas and Lady loved all the animals. Lady is so fond of animals and even when Thomas was playing on the slide and climbing frame, she was always sitting stroking a kid (the goat kind) or lamb or some rabbits or chatting to the donkeys. They both had a chance to bottle feed a lamb and hold a baby rabbit too.

Duncan kicked up a fuss when it was time to leave which almost always happens when we go out. I'm not sure how to best help him to make the transition at these times.

Today he woke up and came to my room, jumped into my bed and asked 'I want a dog, buy a dog'. Oh dear! Perhaps, he'd like a guinea pig instead!


Anonymous said...

Guinea pigs are the best pets, in my opinion! If you need to know anything about them, feel free to ask! :)

Sharon McDaid said...

Oh thanks for offering Jannalou!
I wouldn't be able to commit to looking after a dog right now, but I would like to have a family pet. I would have to supervise Duncan's handling of any small pet very carefully though. He is gentle, but he gets very excited. I don't want to put an animal in danger, or frighten it. Perhaps if we had a pair of sibling guinea pigs, bought when they were young enough to adapt to our higher than average noise levels, that would be OK. I would imagine we could keep them in an outdoor hutch in the summer and in my daughter's room in winter. What do you recommend?

Anonymous said...

The farm trip sounds great----Charlie is in a stage of intense fear and fascination with animals. He smiled at them, at a distance.

He often has had difficulty leaving a place (pool, amusement park) where he was having a good time. Perhaps you might talk in advance with Duncan about what you will do, while emphasizing the next to the last and the last things (leaving)? We have also used a picture schedule to help Charlie with this.

Very glad you've been reading Autismland!

Anonymous said...

Guinea-pigs are ok. In our time we have been blessed with guinea-pigs, rabbits, chickens, gerbils, cats, dogs and fish. I must say that the best pet we have had so far are the gerbils. We have 3. If you can get 2 or 3 baby gerbils and handle them a lot so they get used to you then they are the best pets. They are so much fun to watch, tunneling, digging, but they are also very friendly. Luke plays with ours and they have never bit him. Unlike hamsters and mice they dont smell and rarely need cleaning. We still have a guinea-pig and rabbit. They get left outside and forgotten about and once a week its a huge chore to clean out their cage which gets absolutely stinking. Of course its up to you. But I didnt want gerbils and Im so suprised at just what great pets they are!
Great blog!

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi Hazel
I'm glad you like the blog!
We're probably going to go ahead and get 2 guinea pigs. I called the Assisi animal sanctuary and they have 12 needing homes. They come to your home to vet you before you can but them too. So we'll have to get all the kit ready 1st.
The children can't wait.