Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shiba: 3, autism: 0

It's gardening season again, and I now have two 4 x 4 foot flowerbeds on the balcony. My little autistic buddies, who have been visiting for months, are always careful with the plants, and with everything else in the house. One of them is naturally careful, the other is just motivated to be allowed back, because for some reason, coming to my house seems to entertain them immensely. So they follow directions to the letter and make sure to move anything fragile, like the guitar, out of their way before doing something crazy. That's rather amazing for any nine-year-old boy, let alone two, let alone two nine-year-old boys with a learning disability.

So what does this have to do with Her Majesty?

Well, when I first set up the flowerbeds, I let Her Majesty explore them, and waited for her to pick a spot where she'd like to lie. She picked, of course, one of the very best spots. The vast majority of the balcony is in part shade, with only a small portion in full sun. Her Majesty didn't quite pick the sunniest spot, but the one just on the shady side of the full sun / part shade boundary. How gracious of her. Because I really needed that full-sun spot for my roses. So then I seeded grass in the spot she chose, and put my flowers here and there in the space she left me.

Now that everything is growing, however, Her Majesty doesn't want her spot. She seems aggravated that the grass doesn't uproot easily anymore. The last two years she had a 3 x 3 lawn with only 3.5" of soil, so she could rip up great swathes of grass easily. Now the soil is 15" deep, so the grass is solidly rooted and un-diggable. Apparently, this is not at all what Her Majesty wants out of a lawn. So instead of lying on the lawn I planted for her, she's made herself a comfy dug-out spot that allows her to lie simultaneously on a) my carefully selected collection of pansies, b) the three very expensive double oriental lilies, and c) the $40 peony that was supposed to "activate my relationship luck."

After showing her several times where I'd like her to dig and lie down, I seem to have achieved an uneasy truce, wherein she's willing to lie mostly on the pansies, which are at least much cheaper than the lilies and peony, and not dig up the lilies. Subject to change at her convenience, of course.

There you go. Yet another reason you should try doing respite for an autistic child before you try serving a shiba.

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