Dulacca is a tiny little town about 5 hours west-ish of Brisbane. This was our next destination after the first few days on the Gold Coast. The purpose of this visit was to attend my Father in Law's wedding, where my husband was to be the best man. Little Man was much better at accepting the new environment this time, though he still chose to circuit one room for most of the evening. We stayed with family this time, so the bedroom set-up was very different to the one at the Gold Coast!
All the children were in one room together - which suited me and them beautifully! They think it is fun and love being in together. Little Man loves it too, and I love that he loves the company of his sisters. His bed was a mattress on the floor - he had no issues sleeping in it at all! All we had to do was put his 'blanky' there, and tell him this was his bed. He would put himself to bed at random times, and spent alot of time there, just being in his own space.
Little Man behaved reasonably well at the wedding. We had him "trapped" in a pew with us, and he would walk up and down along the kneeling plank (is that what it is called?? We don't have those in our church!) and periodically try to escape out into the aisle. Great-Great-Uncle Lenny was there to catch him before he could though. Those two were sweet to watch. Little Man really liked Uncle Lenny. He would lean on him and just loved to hang around him. I loved to see it, but felt really bad because my boy actually had pooped in his pull-up just as we got into the church, so I couldn't change it right then - and it reeked!! Uncle Lenny and my husband's grandmother who was beside us both said they didn't mind, but I think they were just very polite, hah!
My FIL has a dog, Radar, who seemed to take a curious affection to my boy. When Erik first saw the dog, he freaked anytime Radar came near him. But gradually over the next couple of days, he became accustomed to the dog, and ventured outside anyway. It didn't take long before he was perfectly cool with Radar following him around, and being a blue heeler, the dog would even try 'rounding' up my son to make sure he stayed in the right place. It was very funny to watch. Little Man would walk his circuit around the back yard there with the dog gently nipping his heels every so often. Erik would frown and look at the dog as if to ask 'what are you doing?', but then just continue on his merry way.
Maybe it's the way they interacted with him, or maybe it's some kind of other sense that Radar had, but he certainly treated Little Man differently to the girls. He was so much more gentle with him. It occurred to me that now might be an idea time to get our son a pet of his own. A good dog like Radar to interact with and have as a friend. The benefits of animals and pets are well documented, and it is common for people on the spectrum to have a special relationship with their pets. With my son though, we never really saw him take to animals very much..... until now. Unfortunately, we also know full well that we don't have the time to care for or train a dog properly right now, so it would really not be a good idea to get one just yet. But it is definitely something we are aiming for.
In true country style, my FIL also keeps a couple of horses. On the day we were leaving Dulacca, we went off to feed them for my FIL, as he and his new wife had left for their honeymoon. We put Little Man on a horse for the first time.
....Not that boys are better than girls, but when Little Man was born, something my husband really looked forward to was having a little mate to share his life with and pass on his interests to. Erik is our only son. Finding out that he was autistic was a blow in many ways. But we have learned that it doesn't mean the dream is necessarily wiped away. It might just be a little different in reality, that's all. So we put our boy on a horse for his first 'ride'. I don't think he minded one bit, although he did seem to feel a little unsteady. But hey, who doesn't with their first time on a horse! He also studiously avoided touching the horse! - Just his aversion to textures coming through.
Yes, that is my hand there holding him steady, haha. I just couldn't let him go! Not yet, anyway. But I'm sure the time will come.
The stay at Dulacca was mostly without incident, though there was one thing that had my son and I spend a night in the local (next town!) hospital. But more about that in another post.