We just got back yesterday after spending three nights at Inverloch. Just the kids and I as Paul had to work. A friend Catriona from horseriding and the HAGS (Happy Autism Group Support) has a house down there. Her and her husband have one son Jose who is 13. She also invited our friend Amanda and her 3 kids, Lachlan, Guy and Will. All together it was three mums and seven kids, three of whom has autism. What a mix! Oh and don’t forget Minka the Wonderdog.
We headed down on Monday and all met at K.F.C. on the way for lunch. We arrived at the house at about 1pm. The house slept 10 which was perfect. The kids settled in pretty quickly while we unpacked the car. Catriona had brought along four lightsabres (not sure if that’s how you spell it – from Starwars) so the boys headed outside to playfight while Beth sorted out how to use the tely. After unpacking we went for a walk to the beach. At this time of year dogs are allowed on the beach all the time. Minka loves the beach going mental when she goes in the water. Beth seems to have matured so much since we last headed off to the beach, she didn’t wander at all and sat by a rockpool for a lot of the time just checking out whatever was there. On the negative side she did keep drinking the sea water and tasting the seaweed.
On the Tuesday we went for a drive down to the town where the kids played in the playground and the mums drank coffee. Now that’s more like it! Once again I was very proud of Beth, she didn’t wander at all and listened to me if I had to call her back. I was impressed with how other mums were with her. In the past we’ve got some strange looks when Beth has been acting at her most autistic with people staring blatantly, often ending with me in tears. If I had to call out to Beth to hop off of a piece of equipment the other mums at the park would smile and say it’s ok and a couple of times engage in conversation with her. I don’t know if we were just lucky or if it’s becoming more accepted now, either way it was lovely to see. I felt so much more relaxed. We then headed down to the beach again for a little play and rolling down some small cliffs.
In the afternoon we ventured to the surf beach. Cat was very brave and went in with all the kids as the surf was pretty rough. Beth wanted to stay in for much longer than anybody else and cracked it a little bit when it was time to get out. She rolled around in the sand including on her face and hair, as payback I think for not getting her own way. She sat above us at the beach and we could hear her through the wind calling out things like “ok Beth, it’s time to go back in the surf now” in her high pitched voice that she gets when she’s not happy. To her credit though she didn’t go back in and listened to us.
On the Wednesday we did the same playground/coffee/beach thing as we had done the day before. We then went for a walk to the jetty, then back to the park for fish and chips and a little play. Beth chatted to a couple who had their dogs there. We then headed off home with Catriona and a hoard of the kids walking Minka back. It’s amazing how much you enjoy walking when you’re at the beach, it’s a whole different mindset.
We headed back home yesterday (Thursday). It had been such a good break. It was amazing how good the kids had been. They all got along so well. I think Beth had a bit of a crush on Jose. They all enjoyed watching ABC kids shows and Jose would do the voices of the shows he knew. Beth kept laughing at him which made him do it all the more. This in turn pissed the other kids off who couldn’t hear the real voices but that only spurred Jose on more which only made Beth laugh more! When it was time to leave she blew a kiss to Jose. He’s in year 7 this year and going well. He’s such a nice kid, so good with the younger ones. He played with Bill for ages and was terrific with Bridie. When it was time to leave Bridie wouldn’t go to the toilet. I heard him saying “you’d better go Bridie, otherwise your mum wont stop the car for you cos she told you to go here!” He was like that most of the time, not tough with the kids, just helping me out. He loved having Minka down there too, they had 2 dogs who mysteriously disappeared last year. They’re moving soon so will get another dog then.
Our kids have always gotten along with Amanda’s kids too. Beth and Lachlan don’t have much to do with each other even though they’re the same age. They are going to the same high school together next year so I wonder if that will make a difference? Bill and Guy are the same age, and Bridie and Will are the same age too so they’re all a good match. It was surprising how they all got along so well considering that we were all in a fairly small house together. All us mums were so pleased that Cat has suggested we do it again next holidays. I should have recovered from my exhaustion by then!