Casuarina Beach

Photo a day for autism acceptance in April.

Our last day in Darwin. I had to take the boys down to Casaurina Beach. We could see a couple of other people far off in the distance, other than that it was just us.

The two little boys hightailed it towards the water. It was an epic run of about 100 meters, quite a long way when your legs are so short! I was caught between them and L who was not so keen on the water. Still, he made his way towards the gently lapping shore (shoes on!).

At another beach, I may have been more concerned about the boys getting to the water before me, but I knew that the water would not go deeper than their knees for at least another 100 meters. They had a wonderful time jumping the tiny waves, rolling around in the sandy mud and getting themselves truly covered in muck.

Meanwhile L stayed with us, but there was no way he was taking his shoes off or going into the water. Still, he was happy and as the minutes passed, he relaxed more and more.

After a little morning snack & drink we headed over to my brother & sister in law’s house which was close by. We continued the water fun in their shady & cool fresh water pool. Here, L was happier to sit on the side of the pool surrounded by numerous buckets and containers. He spent a happy hour pouring water from one container to the other . All sensory needs met.

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A Taste of Summer in Winter

We set off in the pouring rain, heading north to our beachside destination. Three little boys in their pj’s and a mum trying to keep her stress levels down and energy up for a three hour, post rush hour drive through the night.

When we woke up bright and early the next day it was still raining but the excitement levels were high. We were staying with our friends and the kids all get on pretty well so they were very happy to see each other. There were short gaps when the rain stopped long enough for us to dash out for quick walks. We also dropped into the new local library where they had some great toys and a play area. The kids were occupied enough to keep them out of too much trouble. L’s screaming and circle running rev’ed the other kids up a bit but it was manageable.

N’s favourite book – cup cakes – YUM

Day two and the clouds were still there, but breaking up. We were hopeful. My friends and I usually tag team in the morning so that at least SOMEbody can get a lie in. So after an early breakfast I got the kids all organised and we set off on our morning walk, down to the playground which sits on the sandy cliff behind the beach. The running, walking and playing was followed by a little hot chocolate morning ritual at the cafe – something we did each morning to the delight of all kids.

My friend caught up with us at the cafe and we decided to risk taking the kids down to the beach. We didn’t have any supplies with us but oh well, let’s live a little dangerously…off we headed, down to the beach.

Oh the joy on getting down to the beach! The kids were leaping and bounding about like little puppies. They explored the rocks that had been exposed by all the rough seas. They got dirty, they got wet and as the sun started peeking through the clothes slowly came off. Soon they were all running around in the warm morning sun, bursting with the vim and vigour that a little outdoor freedom and a big horizon will give you.

It was so lovely to be able to see them so happy and free. In town you are always trying to keep them close (especially L who is a ‘runner’), but here, you could sit back and let them run, let them jump, let them feel some independence.

We weren’t the only ones who ventured out into the fresh, warming morning. The people who walked past us were all delighted by the happiness and exuberant whoops as these beautiful kids burnt off a ton of energy.

We were there for a couple of hours. I used every last tissue, wipe, nappy and clothing I didn’t know I had hidden away under the pram. We got back to the house just in time to feed some hungry little beasties followed by some post lunch snoozing. Ahhh! holiday bliss.

Late that afternoon we headed back to the playground. It was full of big boys, playing like boys do – lots of screaming, wrestling, commando moves, code words etc. Enter my boys. L had worked out a little circuit for himself that involved climbing up a ladder to the top deck of a play ship, then down the slide and around again. The smallest of the 10 or so boys who were there was playing up on the top deck as well and thought he’d make friends with my boy. He was probably about 6. This will be interesting, I thought.

Sure enough, as he realised that L was not responding to him in a predictable way, he started yelling at him ‘I can’t understand what you’re saying’. L, totally unfazed just kept moving through his circuit. The boy watched, and so did I. It could go either way at this point. Then he plonked himself down at the top of the slide so that L could not complete his circuit. L was being really good – making a bit of noise, but no hands, no pushing, just trying to get around this obstacle.

My friend made her way over to the bottom of the slide, just to be more of a presence. The boy was just starting to raise his hand up to L to push him away when her 8yo daughter suddenly appeared on the scene. She knew something was going on…’I’m onto it Mum!’ Within a few seconds she’d sorted it. The kid went down the slide, followed by L. It was resolved.

I love her for that moment. Beautifully handled.

The next day dawned and it was cool and clear as a bell. We had an absolutely beautiful day at the beach. The kids were in heaven. Their appetites for food and sleep went through the roof.

We had one last day there on Sunday (another corker) then headed home after dinner and baths.

What wonderful experiences for my kids.

One more week and we are back to school. Term 3. My grandmother taught in infant school for most of her career and she always said that Term 3 was when first year kids really settled down and started to learn. I’m hoping those words of wisdom are true for us.

Rainbow Beach

Dear Sarah,

Today I couldn’t help but think of you. We are on holiday and really having the best time.

This morning we hit the beach before 9. 5 kids, 3 adults all lathered in sunscreen with a whole pile of swimming/surfing gear. My big boys are just loving the waves which are quite rough and challenging but absolutely exhilarating. N is fearless and would happily walk off towards Fiji without worrying about another breath. L is more wary, but in a very healthy, normal way (amazing!). He hangs on as as the waves approach, he lifts one leg in the air as if to kick it away or to jump over it, squealing with delight, every sense open and activated.

 

Anyway, it’s just the kind of holiday you would love. We’re staying with friends at their family beach house. Simple, classic and totally relaxing. Good company for me and the kids. Cooking, wine, discussions about everything and nothing, deep blissful sleep, exhausted, happy kids.

 

We had an impromptu birthday party for L who is about to turn 5. Scavenger hunt in the back yard, a dancing competition – there were some pretty funky moves going on believe me, then a chocolate swirl (packet) cake.  Just too much fun all round.

You would love it here Sarah. Miss you.

lots of love from me