About 4 years ago, when we moved to our new house, the 4 girls went from all sleeping in one room to all having separate rooms. We expected problems, transition time, etcetera but we were wrong. 3 split instantly to enjoying their solitude. Unfortunately we were right about number 4.
All my kids are different, one major point of difference between Tash and her sisters is their preference for company. Tasha’s sisters all enjoy their own company and need their times of solitude. Tash is a social butterfly who fades when alone.
When we first moved we were still dealing with the emotional upheaval of leaving the home we had lived in 20 years and moving somewhere completely new. Autism 101 change is difficult and we had one angry cat now living in our Sensa-tent; a black tent that reduces sensory input to provide a safe refuge for up to 2 (or 3 if 2 are smallish) autistic people, or one violent cat.
The older 3 found solitude made it easier, but Tash needed constant reassurance that she was not alone.
Now I appear to have given some of you a false impression; I am not the nurturing Earth mother type. I don’t like kids, I like babies, but not kids; and my own are no exception. I like to spend the minimum time permissible under law with my own offspring. I believe the following shows why:
So it wasn’t long before I was desperate to get rid of my new constant companion. Quite apart from being… well one of my children, Tash was a restless sleeper who needed to watch loud, annoying TV to fall asleep. What could I do? I needed her father to do stuff and fetch things and I needed him relatively awake. So I made the ultimate sacrifice…
The first few times as my beloved spaniel was dragged away from me cried piteously, so I reassured him; ‘Good boy, Charlie is a good boy’ and I decided to try and add a new command word ‘Teddy bear time”.
I have always told the rest of the family that Charlie is smart, they tend to laugh. Did I tell you that as a greeting Charlie puts his muzzle next to a person’s mouth for a while then makes a sneezing sound, he taught himself a ‘people kiss’, and when Faye was leaving once he made the sneezy sound and moved his front paws; that’s right my little genius was blowing kisses.
3 times was all it took for Charlie to understand the new command ‘Teddy bear time’; it meant that he was to go with the littlest one and spend 1-3 hours snuggling under the covers until she fell asleep and then he could come out and sleep with his Mummy.
I have wanted a dog to sleep in my bed since I was a small child; my mean mother comes from harsh farming stock, I was in my twenties before she saw the light and realised dogs belong in people beds, so I was not going to give that up. As a child the nearest I got to a dog in my bed was an Alsatian/German Shepherd she set on me each morning to wake me up. As I got older and had more to do in the morning she would have to warn me before she let him in, so I could dive back in bed so he could ‘wake me up’.
Although the real reason was Charlie can’t sleep while being cuddled and we knew if he missed one of his favourite things; sleeping in our bed, he might resent or try to avoid ‘Teddy bear time’.
Tash’s need for ‘Teddy bear time’ diminished but she still does it on and off because it’s lovely. But last night she told Charlie he wasn’t getting ‘Teddy bear time’ and he knew why. I missed my chance so couldn’t follow it up until today.
According to Natasha:
After falling asleep she woke to find Charlie standing on her chest, his face close to hers, growling in her face.
She told him to “Shut up and go back to sleep!’
Then he stated bopping the bed repeatedly with his front paws. She got up and turned on the lights and he patted the bed even more furiously. He made her go under the bed to check it was safe.
The first time she only went under & up on the same side but he was not satisfied until she crawled under coming up on the other side.
“You’re safe there is nothing under there’ she told him.
He stole her pillow, snuggled down into the blankets and went to sleep before she could even get back in bed.
This is the dog that is meant to protect my daughter; not the other way around.