Snails, Slugs and Worms

On schooldays a voice alarm with a female voice announces that is it “time to go to school”. My elder son is not always necessarily ready at 7:37 am, so it sounds again at 7:42 am and 7:47 am unless I cancelled. The biggest part of the battle is getting out of the flat and into the lift.

Once we leaving the building, we walk down the garden path along the pavement to the end of the street. Then we cross the road, and walk through the housing estate and cross another street to arrive at the school. It is a walk of around 5-6 minutes, or 30 seconds quicker by taking a shortcut across the grass if it is not wet.

The importance of a short walk for routine

Back in September, it was harder to get my son to want to go to school. Inventiveness led me to start playing a game with him to liven up the walk. The distraction was a fun one, to get him to focus on spotting snails, slugs and worms around us. A few months on, and the walk to school has become a daily competition of spotting snails, slugs and worms. Unless, of course, we bump into a classmate on the way, and then the talk turns to dinosaurs or Minecraft.

Our daily walk also allows my son to stim (in his case shaking his arms vigorously). The short walk between home and school is valuable father and son time. It sets my son up for the day and is an essential part of routine. For me it also acts as my virtual commute if working from home.

An Upset

Yesterday was a momentous day. Worms broke the dominance of snails and slugs. Snails usually win, although some days the slugs are the earlier risers. Not the case yesterday. The worms won convincingly. Why? Simple – heavy continuing rain had brought the worms out from the ground and they were escaping the threat of drowning. As we went through the Anlage (housing estate) there was a rich surge of worms on display. The birds in the trees had not yet picked them off.

So it was with a frisson of excitement that worms won, and took the gold medal. We don’t keep count about how many times snails, slugs and worms have respectively triumphed. We both knew that worms hadn’t won in ages (if ever!) And so my elder son went into school happy about this change in the snail/slug/worm world order.