It is getting colder now and Archie and I have taken to getting half changed into our wetsuits at home before setting off for the beach. I do realise that one day my car is going to break down, or I am going to get stopped by the police wearing my wetsuit but at least I’ll be warmer getting changed for surfing. Archie likes it because he can get on with the business of stalking handbrakes as soon as we arrive at Bigbury.
Archie’s now well and truly going through puberty. His voice has broken although unfortunately he hasn’t taken to sleeping in until midday. I live in hope.
He also gets teenage moods and will sometimes hit out during these. This is all fairly new for us. We’ve become, over the years used to Archie hitting himself or the walls when cross but he’s never really lashed out at other people. It also took me a while to realise that these episodes don’t appear (usually) to be directly linked to an external cause. It seems to be more common that they occur when Archie has a thought or memory that makes him emotional. It’s therefore often incredibly hard to see these coming. However, I’m getting better at recognising the warning signs and am encouraging him to use his talker to tell us what is upsetting him before he lashes out. We’ve also used the talker to discuss what happened after the event and he will usually say (unprompted) that he is sorry. He seems able to talk about these events even a few days after they have occurred and shows real signs of reflection on his behaviour.
Unfortunately it is going to take a while longer before Archie is fully in control and it is fair to say that keeping a lid on his emotions is hard for him but we do see progress. Today on the way to Bigbury we had a moment where I saw that he’d thought about something that was upsetting him. I told him to use his words. And he did Chewbacca walking beach tomorrow. Never mind how impressed I was to hear a 4 four word sentence it was also an explanation. It’s not one that I would have guessed at, but I suspect he was suddenly anxious because usually we walk Chewbacca at the beach on Saturday mornings. Today we were surfing so had no dog with us which must have felt wrong in some way to him. Once he’d expressed his concerns, and I reassured him that yes we can walk the dog at the beach tomorrow he relaxed again. The rest of the day was pretty chilled. He had a great surf and inspected a lot of handbrakes.