7 June 2014:
In the personal progress program (a church thing for young women really, between 12-18, but a friend of mine persuaded me to do the program as well, since she is, and she is 50+), E. and I was supposed to come up with a ten-hour project, in the category ‘choice and accountability’. It feels like I have spent almost two entire days out in the flower bed beside our house, next to the entrance door. It was in a state of disgrace, so the project came as a good excuse for making it look more decent. The problem always being, that if I go out and do garden work, hell breaks loose inside. But yesterday being National Day, and today being a Saturday, it meant one more grown up to keep the troops in order. But, “Gubby” who is used to always being with me, didn’t want to be so far away from me. If I am outside, he is outside… At first he was bored but then to his delight, he noticed that me pulling weeds and disturbing the peace of the flower bed, meant unearthing tons of snails. I don’t think I have ever seen so many snails in one place, in my entire life.
I can’t say, that I appreciate snails. As a matter of fact, I find them quite disgusting. But “Gubby” finds them VERY funny, interesting and exciting. He couldn’t get enough of them. As a matter of fact, now when I reminisce, my grandmother’s garden, south of here, also had a lot of snails. Or rather, the remains of them. Me and my friend used to collect the empty, abandoned “houses” because we thought they were pretty and liked the intricate pattern on the shell. My mum was not as thrilled though. So perhaps all children go through snail phases?
Yesterday, all his attention was to one snail. Someone asked him, “What is his name?” and he immediately had an answer. He did not even have to think. “Flagge”. I think I spent four hours in total out there yesterday, and he spent as many hours with that snail. He was carrying it around all over, so I hope the poor thing did not suffer from vertigo??! I guess “Gubby” wanted to broaden “Flagge’s” horizons? Not just get to see the boring flower bed? He kept him on the bicycle route just outside our house. I had to take a photo of him playing with the snail and I could not keep from laughing when I got there with the camera and “Gubby” told the snail “Say cheese!”.
I must say that this is a new experience for me. In the past, when I was buying stocks for my scrapbooking, all boy sticker sheets always had stickers that said “snips and snails” and had pictures of frogs etc. on them. I bought them, since there is not that much for boys, in the way of scrapbooking, but I did not really use them, because they did not fit for my first four boys. They have never been that interested in insects, animals and so forth. Except for in picture books and when we have gone to the zoo. But “Gubby”, he is an all together different person. Perhaps he will become a vet one day? He loves animals and I have the sneaky feeling that I will finally be able to use all those stickers.
Today, I was weeding closer to the door, where there were even more snails, and “Gubby” rescued two out of the flower bed. He thought it was the same one, he played with yesterday, but unfortunately, I saw a mean little boy drive over poor “Flagge” yesterday, just to be spiteful I suppose, because he saw how fun “Gubby” had with it. I have never seen the boy before, but he stood on his bicycle, watching “Gubby” for probably over half an hour. Weird.
Anyway, today “Gubby” stayed at the front stairs with his two snails. He immediately named them “Flagge” and “Skralle”. Wherever he got the names from, I have no idea. “Cookie” thought it was hilarious, but I actually thought them very good snail names. He sat and played with the poor snails all the hours I was out there working. Since he is Autistic, my mind once again, went to the testing of him. The special ed teacher who tested him, said he can’t do imaginary play. Well, why did she not bother come and see him in action, at home? It is one thing to play with a psychologist, who keeps to a manuscript and where you are not allowed to play with anything but the toys they put in front of you. I have described it all in another post, but there was no way to imagine a thing really. At home, he is relaxed, and he is himself. He does imaginary play, even though he, as an Autistic child, is not supposed to be able to do this. He gives the snails their own voices and it is a lot of fun, listening to him.
One thing I have learned weeding the flower beds, is that I think I have to read up on snails and all sorts of other gross things. My son has hundreds of questions and even though my general knowledge of things have never fallen short before, I feel it does now. I really don’t know anything about snails. The slime they left behind them, when they slithered across our stairs, is disgusting and he wanted to know what it was. He was totally fascinated and studied the process in detail. And the only thing I could come up with was, “I think they are pooping”.
Later addition: You are never too old to learn things! Next time “Gubby” points out the slime and asks what it is, I will NOT answer poop, but tell him that it helps the snail crawl. I guess they have little feet, believe it or not, and the feet produces the slime, to help crawl on and protect the soft tissue from getting hurt. But it also works as glue, so they can crawl vertically and not fall down. Wow! Just proves that noone knows everything, even if they think they do!!! ((Not that I ever thought I did! )