I have just returned from a week away with Lily and Sybil at my parents (named Gran and Uncle John by Sybs). Lily often worries when we go anywhere because as a result of her autism Sybil isn't always comfortable in new surroundings and trying new things. Sybs likes things to remain the same on the whole.
Over the last six months or so Sybil has been showing a real improvement in her communication with others, her conversations are now two or three sentences long and she will often now explain how she is feeling or why she wants to do something. She is also not so worried about going into shops, cafes and the like. This was her fourth trip to my Mum and Dad's place and she likes going to visit them. There are three cats to play with for a start. She always has a good time.
This visit was notable for several reasons. Sybil tried loads of new things and although some of them might appear quite small and insignificant to Sybil and Lily they were big leaps.
- Sybil tried a chip. -We have taken her to Burger King/MacDonalds on several occassions when we have been out. Sybil likes to have Fish Fingers and either orange juice or milk. Last week we asked her if she would like a chip. She always says no when asked this but this time she ate one (well half, but you've got to start somewhere).
- Sybil played with other children. - I have two adorable nieces aged three and five and they love Sybs. Sybil, though doesn't really mix with other children preferring to do her own thing, even when other children are about. My youngest niece Evie is an entertainer. She is one of those children who loves getting stuck in and is always the first to make friends. On the other occasions they have met they have got on but have not really interacted with each other. However this time Evie's persistence and Maia's quiet wait and see what happens approach worked. Evie had all three of them sliding down the stairs in a row (lots of times), playing fuzzy felt and her a Sybil dug holes together on the beach. Sybil enjoyed this so much that the next day when she saw them she asked them if they could play the sliding game again. This was fantastic.
- Sybil went on loads of new stuff in the playground. - One the Friday, our last day we met my sister and the girls at a playground overlooking St Michael's Mount. Sybil went on a death slide type thing, I had to hold her on a push but she went on it twice and laughed a lot and also mastered a climbing frame contraption with netting and logs. She started off very slowly on all fours and by the end was striding across with confidence.
- Sybil had her first ice-cream. - Sybs has always said no when asked if she wanted an ice cream in the past. All week she kept saying to me "Can you have an ice cream Mark?" so Lily and me thought she might try a bit of one. On a trip over to St Michael's Mount my sister asked if she wanted one and she said yes. She ate about a third of a large chocolate ice cream and flake (well she ate all the flake, she loves chocolate).
- Sybil gave someone a kiss goodbye. - Lily was astonished at this because she has never done it before. She likes a cuddle but if you give her a kiss she does what most children do and shouts "Err Yuk!!" However when we went to see my Nan she gave her a hug when we left and gave her a peck on the cheek.
- Sybil went on a boat. - If you've ever been to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall you'll know that at low tide you can get to it by walking across a causeway to the island. This is what we did on Friday. However although we were only there for an hour or so by the time we came to come back the causeway was covered by the incoming tide and the only way back was by a small motorised ferry boat. Lily was worried enough and had to have a fag but although we didn't say anything to Sybs until we got to the steps leading to the boat she made it very clear that she didn't want to go. It was upsetting to hear her saying "please don't take me on a boat". The boatman was fantastic and told Sybil not to be scared and asked her if she wanted to drive, to which Sybil said "No thank you". However as the boat set off and rounded the harbour wall Sybil beamed and said "shall we row". She really enjoyed herself and as a result Lily did too. It was great to see her overcome a fear like that and I'm certain next time we go on a boat Sybs will be all for it.
As I said this may all seen trivial and not much to write home about and many children do new things all the time, however for Sybil these were big things her Mum is very proud of her. I know I am.
Labels: New Things.