No Peeping Little Bunny
By Andrew Short
In the city of Manchester England, Gillian, who was autistic, had sensory processing disorder. Her mother Jane went to an Occupational Therapist in Caringfield lane in the borough of Greater Manchester a few days before Gillian’s fifth birthday.
“In order to test your daughter’s sensory abilities” said the OT, Jessica Armytage, “I will need to run a lot of tests on her sensory abilities. Most of the tests will involve your daughter wearing a blindfold. I am booked up for a month, but you can start therapy at home now by exposing your daughter to different sensory experiences. And if you can get her used to and comfortable with the idea of being blindfolded, by introducing her to different blindfold games and activities, that would make testing smoother and produce better results”.
Jane replied that as far as she knew Gillian had never had her eyes covered before, and didn’t know how she would respond. So the OT suggested that she should first have her daughter feel cuddly toys (as this would not be threatening) and not use a blindfold that was too dark.
Jane thought long and hard on her drive home about how this could be done, and also thought about arrangements for Gillian’s birthday on the Friday. They had not planned a birthday party with her friends this year like they had in previous years, as her husband was on a business trip. She put the matter aside for now and started to cook dinner. As she unfolded a green tea towel she thought, “This would make a suitable blindfold!”
On Friday morning when Jane went to work in the local second hand shop, she saw the fresh pile of hand towels at the entrance. She noticed that a homeschooling teacher paid the shop keeper, and was folding up hand towels triangularly and was blindfolding her students for sensory training. “Ok children,” said the teacher, “time to get your eyes covered”. After blindfolds were tied securely, children were spun around until they no longer knew which where they faced.
Jane headed out the back to her duties of sorting through the bags of items which had just come in. She picked up one bag and a folded table cloth slipped onto the floor and a cuddly toy fell out. Just what she needed, for Gillian’s birthday. Gillian only had one cuddly toy and probably could do with some more, Jane, being only 26 herself, still enjoyed mothering stuffed animals as well as pets. when her husband went on trips, she still took her childhood teddy bear to bed. As she was bending over the stuffed sheep, that had fallen on the floor, she said “Did you have a bad fall? Don’t fret little lamb, Aunty Jane is here”.
“You’re a dear little fluffy lamb aren’t you darling? Come and give aunty Jane a cuddle.” Picking up the sheep and cuddling it she said, “Do you want to be held and cuddled?”, wrapping her arms around it. “You feel so soft and snuggly, who would want to abandon a sweet little cuddly lamb like you darling?”
“Women should never abandon poor defenceless stuffed animals, my teddy still needs cuddles in bed,” she said stroking the soft toy. She walked to the manager carrying her lamb, and said, “Can I buy this sweet little lamb for Gillian’s birthday? She needs to start sensory therapy at home soon and a few extra toys to explore by touch would be good.“
The manager stroked the lamb saying ,“You’re so soft!”. Talking to the sheep Jane said, “You have a new mummy now darling.” Cuddling the sheep in her arms as if it were a human infant. One of the students who was waiting in turn to have his eyes covered said to Jane, “Lady, cuddly toys can’t close their eyes, I always blindfold my teddy at bed time”.
By this time Jane was cuddling the lamb as she was at the checkout, she saw a pile of bandanas, Jane said ” Don’t worry little lamb, mummy is going to blindfold you, so you can get some sleep after your nasty fall”, Jane said as she folded a blue bandana into a triangle and folded it up and covered the cuddly toy’s eyes securing a firm knot. On one of the tables at the front was the baby blanket “are you cold little one, do you want to be wrapped in your fluffy blanket?” she said wrapping the lamb up, ensuring only the head was free “ there we are nice and warm darling, now snuggle up and rest”. She then said “are you nice and blind all wrapped up in your blanket, time to snuggle into your warm blanket and go to sleep ”. Jane found it a challenge cuddling her bundle in one arm while getting coins from her purse. Jane got herself some extra bandanas.
As Jane was walking outside with her bundle she saw the OT, who walked up and said hello. “Is that her cuddly toy, and blanket?” the OT asked. “Yes” said Jane, “She has not seen them yet, they are birthday presents. I was going to wrap the lamb in the blanket instead of wrapping paper”.
“I hope you will give her the lamb, after you cover her eyes”. Jessica said. ”Last year, I brought my little one a big teddy bear, too big to wrap, so I put it in her room and blindfolded her in the living room and led her upstairs and had her feel around her room. She found something soft and snuggled against him. what are you cuddling darling? I asked her, after throwing a blanket over her. I wrapped her up and I held her so that her arms were under the blanket and she couldn’t try to pull down her blindfold. We played blind interrogations, I made her describe it and tell me all she could about it before I removed her blindfold”.
“Oh, good idea” said Jane “Should I hide the lamb in her toy box, and have her feel around blindfolded?”
“Yes, bury it at the bottom,” replied Jessica, “But make sure, you remove any other cuddly toys first and try to trick her”.
“Great idea!” said Jane, “She is always jumping to conclusions without paying attention to details.”
“You hear that darling?” she said stroking the lamb, “Mummy is going to see if her daughter can guess who you are, by feeling you blindfolded. You look so peaceful, with your warm cuddly blanket don’t you, darling.”
She just noticed that the lamb was wearing a blindfold. She thought that blindfolding stuffed toys was a good way to introduce blindfolding to young children. “I picked up extra bandanas so I can do my hair,” Jane said.
“Spare cloths are important, always use clean cloths for blindfolds,” replied Jessica. The teacher held her finger to her mouth as she led one blindfolded student out of the shop. “Now, what does this feel like?”, she said guiding the student’s hand to feel the blanket Jane was holding. “It’s soft and fluffy isn’t it” the teacher said.
The student said he felt less scared after feeling something warm and comforting. The teacher said to Jane, “Thank you, this little one needs extra encouragement to explore different textures. He is going blind and needs extra reassurance.”
“There you go darling,” the teacher said to the student who was not her child but another child attending the same church, “fluffy textures are still comforting when you can’t see them”.
“Does your daughter like being wrapped in blankets to be held and cuddled?” asked Jessica. As she and Jane stepped aside as the homeschooling mum and her adult daughter led five blindfolded students into a car.
“Yes,” replied Jane.
“Then can I suggest blindfolding her and wrapping her up, and as you cuddle her, ask her to tell you all she can about the blanket, then remove the blindfold, letting her see the texture, said Jessica.
“And what other blindfold games are good?” said Jane.
“playing with toys, putting shapes in a shape sorter, trust walks, obstacle courses, taste tests etc, ADL tasks like doing up buttons,” said Jessica, “Just remember, blind means blind. You should be able to blindfold her so that you can hold the lamb in front of her face so she has no idea that it is there”.
“Do you get your ideas by trying them out on your own child”, Jane asked.
“Oh, I can have my little one blindfolded for an hour and she is quite happy,” Jessica replied. “ I just remember to take turns so you are blindfolded too”. Take her on a special birthday adventure. Blindfold her, and take her somewhere and assist her to explore the environment.”
Gillian was to be picked up by her neighbour that day and stayed with her while Jane was at work which finished at 4pm. Jane phoned the neighbour at 11:30 and said “I will pick up Gillian at 4:15 for her birthday surprise but please remember to call her “bunny” when addressing her”.
“Why?” said the neighbour.
“Because I want her to have bunnies on her mind so that when I give her her birthday present, which is a stuffed sheep,” replied Jane. “During a blindfold game she will confuse it for her cuddly bunny. she needs to pay more attention to what she is feeling.”
“Do you want her blindfolded before you pick her up?” the neighbour asked.
“Great, I will call 5 minutes before I pull up,” agreed Jane. “Will that give you enough time to securely blindfold my little bunny before I ring the doorbell?” Jane said, “I’m not sure Gillian’s knows what a blindfold is?”
“I will tie a scarf over my big doll’s eyes and explain to her what blindfolding is,” suggested Linda, the neighbour.
Jane thought Gillian might enjoy play by blindfolding other soft toys for pretend play, good thing she brought extra bandanas.
“I might buy a new pillow case for Gillian,” said Linda.
“Perfect”, said Jane,“But please remember to disorientate her too”.
During her lunch break she raced home to take the lamb home so Gillian would not see it before the game as in the afternoon. Linda had her hair done and wouldn’t have time to return home before picking up Gillian. She got out Gillian’s old cot and set it up in the spare room. She put the lamb and blanket on the floor and got her bandanas and went into Gillian’s room.
She picked up Gillian’s bunny and said, “Do you want blind cuddles with mummy? This will help you sleep better”, folding up a bandana, “you can’t see now darling”.
When Jane reached her room, she folded the last bandana and blindfolded her teddy. She carried them into the spare room, and said, “time for blind cuddles with mummy before sleep time”, as she was wrapping the blanket around them. “Your fluffy blanket is snuggly” she said stroking them. She cuddled the blanket for a while. About 10 minutes later she said, “Time I put you to bed”. Putting the bundle lovingly in the cot, “Now go to sleep, in the dark, with your nice new blindfold on”.
At 1pm Linda was shopping in a big department store and found small pillowcases on sale which would make good birthday present and blindfold for Gillian. The sales person asked “Is this for your daughter?”
“No, this is for my 5 year old neighbour as a birthday present”, replied Linda.
“Perfect choice”, said the sales person as they walked to the checkout.
“Thank you” Linda said, and went on, “Also, do you think this pillowcase would make a good blindfold? I need it for a birthday surprise.”
“I normally use safety pins when blindfolding my children,” the sales person replied, “so I can use thick cloths with snuggly padding. This pillowcase should work.”.
That afternoon Jane was at the hairdresser, as it was usual for her on the first Friday of every even month. The hairdresser remembered that it was Gillian’s birthday. “What are you doing this year?” she asked.
“Well,” said Jane, “My little bunny is going on a big adventure tomorrow.“
“What will she see on her big adventure?” asked the hairdresser.
“She must have her eyes wide open so she can see a nice dark blindfold.” replied Jane.
“Her first blind adventure!” exclaimed the hairdresser, “Make sure you stop every now and then to let her feel the environment”.
“This afternoon we need to play blindfold games at home for practice,” Jane said excitedly. “I bought her a new cuddly lamb for her birthday and want to see if she can tell that it isn’t her bunny when she feels it while blindfolded. Our neighbour Linda will already have her blindfolded when I collect her this afternoon.”
“Better do your hair differently and ask her to feel you,” suggested the hairdresser.
“Perfect!” Jane said.
At 4:00pm Linda went to the linen cupboard to fetch the blue pillow case.
“Little bunny come here” she said as Gillian ran to the living room.
Just as she did she saw Linda get out the pillow case.
“Happy birthday!” exclaimed Linda. “This is your birthday present.”
“Can I have a look?” asked Gillian.
Gillian immediately saw that Linda’s doll had a scarf over her eyes.
“Now what is different?” Linda asked her.
“Your dolly’s eyes are covered.”Gillian replied.
“it’s called a blindfold,” Linda said. “Sometimes you play games where you can not see.”
Linda then went to her sister Karen’s room, rolled up an old t-shirt.
“Can I blindfold you and guide you to the living room?” Linda asked Karen. “I want little Gillian to know how a blindfold works before she wears one”.
Karen agreed holding the cloth while Linda tied a knot.
“We have not have blindfold fun together in years!” Karen said excitedly.
“This is what it is like having your eyes covered.” Linda said guiding Karen to sit down next to Gillian.
“Do you want to see what’s it’s like being blind?” Karen asked as her makeshift blindfold hung around her neck.
“Yes please!” said Gillian.
Linda picked up the pillow case and folded the cloth length ways. She held it against her own eyes just to ensure it was dark.
“I need to cover your eyes for a special birthday surprise mummy is taking you on,” Gillian said in excitement.
“A birthday surprise! I love my new birthday present”. Gillian said as she held the pillow case over her eyes. Suddenly she let go and the pillow case fell on to the floor. “You better roll it up more so that my nose and mouth aren’t covered.”
Linda held the pillowcase at two corners diagonally to form a triangle to ensure that the cloth was long enough to go over the head, she then put it on her knee to roll it up.
“Now hold this over your eyes” Linda instructed Gillian as she sat on the chair holding the pillow case over her eyes so that she could not see through under the nose. Gillian was blind as Linda inserted a safety pin ensuring the cloth was secure.
“What can you see little bunny ?” Linda asked.
“I am in darkness.” Gillian replied.
Linda made sure Gillian couldn’t see by asking Gillian to touch her necklace, which she removed after blindfolding her. Gillian reached to feel the necklace, confirming that she had not seen Linda remove it. As Gillian sat there blindfolded Linda noticed closely what was on the pillowcase.
“How cute! There are teddies and bunnies on your blindfold, Gillian,” she said. “Now stand up and I will spin you around a few times to disorientate you. You must not know where you are, and must rely on your other senses not your memory to figure out where you are.”
Gillian expected to be turned around, but instead was picked up as Linda spun around counting to ten quickly and then slowly spinning back the other way, trying to ensure Gillian lost count of the times she was spun and had no idea where she was facing. Linda sat her on the floor ensuring she did not know where she was facing and let the blindness sink in. Then the phone rang.
Linda picked it up and answered.
”Hello, Jane!” she said. “There’s one blind and disorientated bunny waiting for you in the living room.”
“Perfect!” said Jane. “Let’s see if she can identify me. I had my hair done differently specially for this.”
Linda told Jane to enter through the side door and sit down next to Gillian, who was still blindfolded.
“Hello!” Jane said to Gillian, trying to disguise her voice.
“One blind bunny with a snuggly blindfold cuddling her eyes.” Linda said as she watched Jane and Gillian on the couch.
Jane looked at the bunnies and teddies on the cloth Linda had used to make Gillian’s blindfold.
“Perfect” Jane thought, “when she feels her lamb she might think it is a teddy bear even if she notices a different shape.
“No peeping little bunny. Look at the teddies and bunnies on your blindfold.” Jane said still disguising her voice.
Linda took Gillian by the hand without warning.
“Come and feel your guest,” she said, guiding her hands on to her mother’s hair.
Gillian felt the hair and face and said, “Mummy, have you been to the hairdresser?”
She pulled down her blindfold.
Jane removed the pillowcase that hung around Gillian’s neck.
“We are going to be playing blindfold games together over the next few weeks to work on the senses,” she said to Gillian. “Let’s play blind bunny’s birthday surprise.”
Gillian nodded her head in excitement.
“Mummy needs to blindfold you so you have to use your other senses as you can’t see where mummy is taking you,” Jane said to her. “To ensure you get the most fun, you must not peek.”
Jane held the cloth around Gillian’s head and looked around for something to secure it with.
“I will insert a safety pin so she can’t peek,” Linda said.
“What a snuggly blindfold you have my darling,” Jane said as was folded he pillowcase on her knee.
“Teddies love cuddly bunnies!” Linda said as she watched Jane tie a secure knot.
“Mummy” said Gillian, “I am blind and ready for my birthday surprise!”
“Good, no peeking darling,” said Jane turning her around three times. “Now walk to the front door.”
When Gillian started walking towards the kitchen instead of the front door, Karen held her hand to bring her back to her mother.
“Good let’s begin” Jane said taking her blindfolded daughter by the hand and spinning her around.
“How many bunnies are cuddling teddies?” Jane asked her daughter As she was spinning her daughter around again she asked in order to have her daughter not keep track of which way she was facing.
“Where are you taking me?” asked Gillian.
“If I wanted you to know that you wouldn’t be blindfolded! Remember no peeping little bunny,” Jane said guiding Gillian outside to the footpath. “Where are you?”
Gillian was guided by her mother to the front door. Gillian found the door handle as Jane unlocked the door.
“Am I home”? Gillian asked, she could feel the sun shining through her blindfold but the shadows gave her no clues.
“Yes,” said Jane. She guided Gillian to the lounge room and removed her blindfold. “Now sit here while I get a birthday game ready.
Jane went to Gillian’s room, picked up the blanket and cuddled it.
“Did you have a nice blind cuddle in bed?” She asked as she unwrapped the blanket and removed the blindfolds. She buried the lamb in Gillian’s toy box hoping to trick her daughter. She hid the blanket in her room with her teddy.
”Do you need more sleep?” she said blindfolding her teddy again.
10 minutes later Jane grabbed the birthday pillowcase and folded it on her knee and started wrapping it around Gillian’s eyes.
“Time to put your birthday blindfold back on,” she said gently. “What can you see darling?”
“Teddies cuddling bunnies”, Gillian said.
Gillian was not in darkness. she saw the blue colour of her blindfold and the pictures on the pillowcase. Jane spun her around two and a half times.
“Which way are you facing?” Jane asked.
When Gillian gave the wrong answer Jane was pleased. She left her to let the blindness sink in. She raced back to the landing where she left the bunny to ensure Gillian would not see it beforehand. Shortly after, she returned carrying Gillian’s bunny.
“Now darling,” she said coming in to the room. “ What is in mummy’s hand?”
“I don’t know,” replied Gillian.
“Why not?” Jane said, “Should I hold it closer? Is that better can you see it now?” J
“I can’t see!” said Gillian.
“Why not?” asked Jane.
“My blindfold is on,” replied Gillian.
“Since you are blindfolded,” said Jane, “how are you going to identify the mystery object mummy is holding?”
“you can take off my blindfold,” Gillian suggested.
“I want you to try to guess without being able to see,” Jane replied.
“Can I feel it mummy?”, Gillian said.
“Tell mummy how this feels”, Jane said giving Gillian her bunny. “Is it hard or soft?”
“This feels soft” said Gillian.
“Is it smooth?” asked Jane.
“No, this is fluffy,” Gillian replied, feeling the bunny with her hands.
How big is the object?” Jane asked.
“From my shoulder to my belly button,” Gillian said, holding to bunny against her.
“Can you tell mummy what you do with it?” Jane asked.
By this time Gillian found the ears and figured it out.
“I cuddle my bunny in bed!” she said.
“Good work!” Jane said untying the blindfold. “Now we are going to play find your fluffy bunny. Feel your bunny for five minutes so you know what he feels like, before I take him away”
After a few minutes Jane took the bunny away from Gillian.
“Time is ticking!” She said, folding the pillowcase again and blindfolding her daughter. “Time to be blind again. You need to come to your room and feel your toy box and identify your toys without being able to see them. Pull out each toy one by one and identify it by feel. Take mummy’s hand and come with me to your room”.
Jane led her up the stairs and into her room.
“Now feel your toy box,” she said guiding Gillian over to the box of toys in the corner of the room.“Where’s your bunny darling?”
Gillian pulled out a top feeling the round middle and the small round handle at the end.
“I think it is my top,” she said.
“Very good,” said Jane. “What is this?” she said handing her daughter a building block to feel.
“This feels rough and hard and solid,” said Gillian holding the block in her hands.
“Can you feel the shape?” said her mother.
Gillian used her hands to feel around and thought for a moment before answering.
“Is it a rectangle?” she asked her mother. “Some sides feel longer than the others.”
“Well done!” her mother said, handing her the next object, which was a shape sorter.
Gillian felt around and found the holes.
“Is this my shape sorter?” she asked.
“Yes” said her mother who handed her a square and said, “Now darling, put this shape in the correct hole.”
Gillian correctly identified the shape but took a while to find the right hole.
The game went on until there was only one toy left that Gillian had that she had not identified.
“Only my fluffy bunny is left” she said.
“Good,” Jane thought to herself, wrapping the lamb in a sheet so it wouldn’t feel fluffy. She had not told Gillian that her birthday present was hidden or that it was another cuddly toy.
“Put your hands in and find mummy something soft and fluffy to cuddle.” Jane said.
Gillian knew she was being tricked as she felt the sheet, it was wrapped around the lamb,.
“Should I unwrap the sheet?” she asked her mother.
“I am not telling, I blindfolded you so you would have to figure it out,” said Jane.
Gillian felt for a fold, and unwrapped it, and found a fluffy, object.
“It’s my cuddly bunny” she said excitedlym reaching behind her head to remove her blindfold.
“Just wait a minute”, her mother said holding her hands over the blindfold, she had forgotten the safety pin. “No peeking, darling. Now, what do bunnies have?”
“Tails and long ears,” Gillian replied.
“Now feel around for your bunny’s fluffy ball tail and his long ears,” Jane instructed.
Gillian felt around the lamb for a while thinking it was her bunny.
“His tail should be here,” she said, feeling the lamb’s bottom, “But why can I feel four feet?”
After a while she gave up finding the long ears.
“I think this must be my bunny but I can’t find the right shape,” Gillian said.
Jane hid the sheet before removing Gillian’s blindfold.
“Happy birthday!” Jane cried, holding up the lamb soft toy as the blindfold fell.
“Oh mummy, you tricked me! but I love my new cuddly toy!” Jane replied happily, cuddling the lamb to her face.
“The blindfold fun has only just started. You need to pay more attention to your senses darling. One day you have to feel around blindfolded for your bunny in a box of cuddly toys you have not seen,”
“Linda has a room full of cuddly toys she keeps promising to show me, ”Gillian said.
“Looks like you won’t be looking at them now,” Jane replied with a smile. “Let’s go find your bunny in the living room.”
“Mummy,” Gillian said “are you going to blindfold me again?”
“Good idea!” Jane said, folding up the pillow case.
When Gillian told her mother that she could not see, Jane carried her in to the middle of the living room.
“Where did mummy’s bunny leave her cuddly toy?” she asked while spinning her around to make Gillian could not remember which direction she faced. “Now feel around for your bunny.”
Gillian crawled around and found the sofa. Gillian felt the sofa until a fluffy object touched her finger.
“Mummy, I found my bunny!” she cried.
“Well done,” Jane said. “Now come and give mummy a cuddle.”
Gillian turned her head towards her mother’s voice, crawled to the arm chair and climbed on to her mother’s knee. She snuggled blind into her mother,
“Good job! Do your eyes like their new cuddly blanket?” her mother asked, undoing the safety pin and removing her blindfold.
“Darling” Jane said “I have another game to play.”
“Is it another blindfold game?” Gillian asked excitedly.
“Yes,” said her mother. “Mummy needs to take you to the kitchen and blindfold you so you can’t see what I am bringing into the room.”
Jane carried Gillian into the kitchen, and blindfolded her. This time with a dark coloured tea towel, as it was longer and darker and easier to fold.
“Can you see?” Jane said.
“I can’t see any shadows, or any pictures on my blindfold, just darkness,” Gillian replied.
“You’re mummy’s blind bunny aren’t you?” Jane smiled.
Jane went in her room and grabbed the fluffy blanket. When she reached Gillian’s room she picked up the lamb and smiled at it.
“Are you sad and lonely? Time for a cuddle!” she cooed.
Jane returned to the living room and spread out the blanket putting the lamb on a chair. Without warning, Gillian was picked up and carried to the living room. She was taken my surprise, as she had no idea her mother was creeping up on her.
“What is mummy doing?” Jane asked, removing Gillian’s shoes and socks and rolling up Gillian’s pants. She tossed Gillian’s lamb on the blanket.
“Let’s play a game called “Is it your bunny or your lamb?” Jane continued. “I will give you a cuddly toy to feel and identify.”
She passed Gillian her lamb. After feeling it for a few moments Gillian looked confused.
“I do not know,” she said.
Jane asked her to feel for a tail and feel the number of feet. She guided Gillian’s hands to feel each foot. Gillian counted four and Jane then guided Gillian’s hands to the head.
“No ears. Is this my lamb?” Gillian asked. Jane did not comment.
“Now” said Jane, “crawl around and tell mummy what you feel.”
Gillian found a blanket but could not identify it. She could only tell that the texture was different from the carpet. Jane gave Gillian her lamb and rolled her up.
“Is this a blanket mummy?” Gillian asked.
“Come and give mummy a cuddle, little blind bunny,” Jane said picking her up. She stroked Gillian while they discussed the texture of the blanket. Gillian said it was “thick and fluffy”, but could not say anymore. Jane removed the blindfold and let Gillian see it.
“Is this my new cuddly blanket?” Gillian asked.
“Yes,” smiled Jane, removing her blindfold. “Your turn to trick mummy now. Go and get my teddy.”
As Gillian got Jane’s teddy Jane spread the blanket on the floor putting the bunny and lamb on it. Gillian returned and put her mother’s teddy on the blanket.
“Mummy,” Gillian said, “Your teddy is blind too.”
“Now not all cuddly toys feel the same” Jane said, folding up the tea towel. “Mummy will blindfold herself and has to tell which one she is cuddling by feel alone.”
Jane used the folded up tea towel to blindfold herself. Gillian removed the bandana from her mother’s teddy. At that moment, Linda called in with a teddy that she found and wanted Jane to give to her second hand shop.
“Let’s trick mummy” she whispered putting the teddy on the blanket. Gillian passed Linda a bandana to blindfold the teddy.
“Give mummy something to cuddle,” Jane said, not having heard any of their conversation.
Gillian gave Jane the lamb.
“This is the lamb, as it has four feet here,” she said feeling each foot to show Gillian. “And the shape of the head is different.”
Gillian gave her mother the bunny.
“I can feel the ears and ball tail,” Jane said.
Gillian rearranged the cuddly toys, but Jane found what she thought was her teddy.
“Come to mummy you big old softie,” she said, picking up her teddy. “I can feel two feet, two short ears and a cuddly chest and darling you left his blindfold on.”
Jane removed her blindfold.
“We tricked you!” Gillian cried.
Jane laughed as she saw she was cuddling a different teddy.
“You both need a blind tour of my cuddly toy collection.” Linda said.
That night after dinner Gillian put on her PJ’s and got into bed.
“Mummy,” Gillian said, as Jane tucked her in. “Can you get the bandanas so I can blindfold my cuddly toys?”
Jane helped Gillian to blindfold her bunny and lamb. Gillian fell asleep cuddling her lamb.
Later that evening, Gillian’s OT Jessica called to see how things were going.
“Neither of us could pick out our cuddly toys from others when blindfolded,” Jane told Jessica. “I think we both need to try to find our cuddly toys from a pile with our eyes covered.”
Jessica was pleased Jane was identifying her sensory needs as well.
The next day, after a long morning of playing Jane put her to bed for a rest before the afternoon adventure.
“You know I can’t go to bed in daylight,” Gillian said.
Jane put a bandana over Gillian’s eyes.
“Where’s my bunny mummy?” Gillian asked.
“Right here,” said Jane guiding Gillian to find her bunny on the end of the bed.
Gillian felt the ears.
“Please blindfold my bunny,” Gillian said.
Jane got out another bandana and tied it around Gillian’s beloved bunny.
“How cute!” Jane said, “two blind bunnies having cuddles in bed. Do blind bunnies like bunny rugs?”
Jane threw the bunny rug over them. She stroked Gillian’s hair. But Gillian saw the shadow of her mother’s hand.
Jane made arrangements that afternoon to drive to a nearby town and call in on a friend. She found a black woollen scarf, which she thought would block out sunlight well.
“Let’s do some more sensory work”, Jane said softly to Gillian as she was waking up from her nap.
“I love my sleepy bunny,” said Gillian, who was half awake and confused.
“You are going on a special adventure,” Jane continued. “But keep your eyes covered so you can’t see where we are going.”
It was a cold afternoon so Jane decided to used the dark wool scarf, because it was warm and thick enough to block sunlight. She left the bandana on while wrapping the scarf over Gillian’s head.
“Let’s keep your eyes warm,” Jane said as she tied the scarf in a secure knot at the back of Gillian’s head.
As Gillian was not frightened Jane didn’t want Gillian to see between awaking and going on the adventure to keep Gillian disoriented. After checking she could not see, she spun Gillian around and took her outside.
“Is any sunlight creeping through your blindfold?” Jane asked Gillian.
Gillian shook her head.
“Is this my special blind birthday adventure?” she asked.
Jane asked Gillian to face the sun and Gillian had no idea where that was. She put Gillian in the car, which she had parked in a different spot earlier that morning to further confuse her daughter.
“I’m a blind bunny ready for my mystery adventure!” Gillian said excitedly as Jane secured her seatbelt.
“Now cuddle your bunny and go back to sleep,” Jane said to Gillian.
The more Gillian slept the less she could figure out what was happening on the car ride. . They drove to a village a short distance away and parked outside the house of a friend of Jane.
“Where are we?” asked Gillian as she woke up.
“If I wanted you to know that, you wouldn’t be blindfolded.” Jane said helping Gillian out of the car. she tossed the bunny on the back seat.
“Where are you” she asked her daughter as they shut the car door and guided her hand on to a nearby tree. “Can you tell mummy what you are feeling?”
Gillian ran her hands across the trunk of the tree.
“Oh, feels rough and I can tear a piece off.” she said. Is it a tree?”
“Yes,” said Jane. “Now can you feel a leaf?”
Gillian reached up and picked up a leaf.
“Is mummy’s little bunny still blind?” Jane asked, guiding her daughter’s hands to feel a post box, while checking that the knot at the back of Gillian’s blindfold was secure. “
Am I facing the road?” Gillian asked.
“I’m not commenting.” Jane replied walking around her, trying to create more confusion. “You must figure that out for yourself.”
Gillian sat down to feel the grass.
“Where is the footpath”? Her mother asked.
Gillian used her hands to feel around.
“Now darling,” said Jane taking her daughter by the hand. “What sounds can you hear?”,
Gillian said that she just heard a car drive pass and a bird sing. suddenly she felt a leaf touch her head. “
Put your hand here,” Jane said guiding Gillian’s hand on to a phone box. “Can you work out where you are?”
Gillian heard a man using the phone box, which was on the corner just outside the library.
“Hello, Sir!” Gillian called to the man.
“Very good” Jane said. “Let’s go for a walk in the park”.
She took both of Gillian’s hands guiding them on the swing.
“Where are you darling?” she asked.
“Mummy can you push me on the swing?” Gillian asked.
“Now” said Jane, as she guided them up to the slippery dip, “climb up each step carefully.”
as they both went on the slippery dip, Gillian heard the ice cream van drive past.
“Afternoon tea time!” Gillian cried.
“Only if you keep your blindfold on,” Jane said. She led her blindfolded daughter to the van. “One mystery ice cream for my birthday bunny”.
After paying for the ice cream, Jane led Gillian over to a nearby bench and guided her to sit down.
“I’m going to feed you, so you keep your blindfold clean,” Jane said to her daughter. “I don’t want to change it during this adventure. Your Uncle Tom, who is blind, can feed himself.”
After they finished eating the ice cream, the pair walked around for a while. At the green at the end of a lane, Jane helped Gillian crouch down and pet a bunny.
“This is soft and I can feel ears and a tail, like my cuddly bunny,” Gillian said.
“I have a cuddly bunny too,” said Jane, picking Gillian up. “A nice birthday one, trusting mummy in the dark.”
They walked down another lane back to the car when two female police officers about to go off duty walked up to them.
“Hello”, one of the officers said. “What are you up to?”
The officer was concerned about seeing a disabled child who was blindfolded.
“Mummy what is the problem? Is there a law about playing blindfold games?” Gillian asked.
“Oh, sorry, my mistake,” the police officer apologised. “It’s clear that this is your daughter and that she is safe and happy. I get red alerts on anything that smells like kidnapping.”
“your blindfold is a bit long, missy!” the other officer replied, in a joking voice.
The thick wool scarf hung down around Gillian’s back. Just then Gillian heard Jane’s friend and guessed correctly where they were. Jane took off Gillian’s blindfold for a break. As Jane removed the wool scarf, Gillian said light was creeping in. Jane was pleased she used the scarf as she removed the bandana.