I succumbed to the pressure. Having been away, and seen once more how well The Boy interacts with animals, I decided the time had come to get our own again. I'd still love a dog, and I know that would be his favourite thing in the world, but the timing isn't right at the moment. So I thought we'd settle on the next best thing. We'd get a pair of guinea pigs.
So, on Monday's INSET Day we went off to the pet shop to pick them. Two trips - one to buy the world's biggest cage, and then another to collect the guinea pigs themselves. I told The Boy he could choose them. He was beside himself with excitement.
It was one of those days where everything went right for him. As we walked into the pet shop the parrot that has always ignored his pleas to speak squawked back a great big "HELLO!" when The Boy greeted him. The Boy grinned from ear to ear and strolled on by to the rodent section with a swagger Doctor Dolittle would have been proud of. Today was a good day.
There were six guinea pigs to choose from. The Boy knelt down to speak to them, gentle whispers as he held out his hand. The encounter coming far more easily to him than any playground interaction. Four of the guinea pigs were very friendly and came up to his hand. The other two were terrified, and ran for the cover of their house, shivering in fear. And maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it was as if The Boy saw something of himself in those two. Because they were the two he picked. A pair of girls.
In the car on the way home he sat with the cardboard box on his lap, gently reassuring his new friends after every speed bump. I said he'd have to think of names for them. "I already know their names in my head", he said.
"What are they called?", I asked, half dreading the response.
"Sky and Fluffy."
"They're brilliant names! Where did you get them from?"
"I was watching a Minecraft video on YouTube and he kept saying those words over and over and they just got stuck in my head".
Welcome to your new home Sky and Fluffy. We hope you'll be very happy here. And you should both be very grateful that we bought you on Monday. Because if The Boy had been watching the video on YouTube I caught him watching this morning, you'd both have been called something far more inappropriate...
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.