Excuse me, but

Last night I had a dream that the Red Wiggle, Anthony, told me off for the way Bright Eyes was behaving at a school sports day.

"Excuse me, but he's autistic. I can't make him be quiet," I said to him, and then woke up.

Now that Bright Eyes is 5, I am starting to get a few more comments about his behaviour. People don't necessarily expect say, a three year old, to look at them, or answer, or even say anything remotely coherent. Once a child gets to the age of 5, however, there are more expectations on him.

Today we were at the pool. We have been there before with fewer people around. Bright Eyes swims very happily and confidently with his floaties on and loves being in the big pool.

Today was a lovely warm Sunday afternoon, and the pool was full. I was sitting by the side watching both boys when I saw o0ne of the lifeguards come by and try to tell Bright Eyes something. I could see that he was getting no response, so I went up to see what the problem was.

"He can't be in the big pool with floaties," he said. "If he loses one, he'll be in big trouble and I can't watch him all the time."

I started to get anxious. I knew that a happy trip to the pool could possibly turn into a major episode if I had to make him move.

"It's ok with me," I said. "He goes in there a lot and I'm watching him closely."

"Well, he'll have to go in the small pool. He just can't go in the big pool," he said again.

"I'm going to have trouble with that," I said. "He's got autism and if I tell him he has to move out when he's already been in there, he's going to cause a big big fuss."

"Oh, hmm, well, I guess if you stay here and watch him it will be ok," he said eventually. So I stayed less than four feet away from him for the rest of the time.

When the lifeguard came back, he tried to talk to him again to explain, but Bright Eyes figured out that he didn't like what he was saying, so he said to me, "Make him go away," and pointed at him. "I don't like it."

The lifeguard laughed a little bit and Bright Eyes said, "It's not funny. He can't laugh!"

After a few more unsuccessful attempts to connect with him, the lifeguard gave up and said to me, "You've got your hands full."