Category Archives: Christmas

The Picklehead Comedy Show


Sometimes I have to take a moment to sit back and feel very proud of myself. I have somehow managed to produce a beautiful human of a boy who is very bloody funny. 

He has a brilliant sense of humour, creates his own games and jokes, and when he gets the giggles, so does everyone else in the room. You have to see it to believe it. He doesn’t let a little thing like autism get in the way of having a good laugh. 

The best moments though, are the ones that he doesn’t even realise. When autistic logic and the mind of a 5 year old collide, you can really get some little gems. 

Now these might only be funny to me, because, well.  I’m his mum!… We all think our own kids are the funniest. But here’s a few of my favourites that I wanted to share with you: 

Counting ducks

We were practicing counting in the bath. (The Pickle was in the bath, I was kneeling on the cold floor with a warm glass of wine! Such is motherhood glamour…)

I put 5 ducks in front of him and ask him “how many?” 

Pickle says “1,2,3,4…”

I say “Can you count in your head?”

Pickle looks at me with an ‘ok whatever’ expression, then calmly gathers up the ducks, balances them on his head with a deadpan expression, and says “1,2,3,4,5!”

Gotta love that literal thinking. 

Santa

Last Christmas, the Pickles school had a cheery Christmas fete. The normal sort of thing. Raffles, tombola, and the opportunity to meet FC, the big man himself. Now last time the Pickle met Santa, he was 2 years old, screamed the whole garden centre down with the mother of all meltdowns. But we figured, hey why not. Let’s try again. So we queue up, pay our pound, and take the Pickle in. We’ve prepared him for this over the last week, told him all about Santa, and his understanding is good enough that we thought he might understand and maybe even enjoy it. 

We obviously prepared him very well indeed, as he sprinted ahead of us, into the grotto at 100mph. It’s all dark, and as I walk in, I jump out of my skin when a ridiculously loud “HO HO HO!” booms from Santa’s tent. 

I walk in to see the Pickle frozen to the spot staring at Santa. He looks horrified! It’s really dark, the only light is coming from the rave worthy, offensively flashing plastic Christmas tree, next to the big fat figure sat in the dark chair behind a big felt beard. Just some creepy eyes and a nose poking out. Jesus, I would have been scared! 

So Santa starts yelling at Pickle… “WHAT’S YOUR NAME? HAVE YOU BEEN A GOOD BOY??” Poor Pickle is still frozen to the spot, wide eyed at this monster. So I do what an autism mum does… lean down gently next to him and tell him quietly and gently what to say. This tiny, quiet, mouse like voice comes out of the Pickle, as bless him, he tries to answer the noisy questions as best he can. His body is completely stiff, and I’m wondering if now is the time to wrap him up under my scarf and start running. 

Suddenly, in the middle of “AND WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMA… ”

The Pickle stands up tall, puts a finger to his lips, and crossly shouts “SHUSH!!!!”. 

I have to give the boy credit. It was even louder than Santa. And it shut him right up too! It shut up everyone in the tent! There were a few seconds that felt like an eternity, where nobody said anything. Everyone just waited… Then Santa very quietly and meekly said “here’s some chocolate for you then. Merry Christmas.”

The Pickle took his chocolate, said “Thank you Santa” (yes!) and walked out of there like he owned the goddamn grotto. Like his army, we marched out faithfully behind him, leaving the tent of doom behind us. I overheard someone on the way out say; “well you can’t really blame him… he is a bit bloody loud!”

I was very proud of the Pickle. And noted to myself to slip his speech and language therapist an extra fiver! 

Nice one little man! Even when you’re scared, don’t take any crap from a big, fake Santa that shouts at you. 

That’s my boy that is! 

A Pickle Christmas tale

Excuse me everyone! Never ever prejudge the Pickle!

Well I have to admit I was a little apprehensive, but the Pickle did good this Christmas! When I look back to the weeks leading up to the big day, the anxiety I was feeling after last year’s disaster was huge. It made me a little crazy throughout December, but yet again, the Pickle has shown me not to make assumptions about what he can’t or won’t do.

On Christmas eve, we went down to the Village Green with our puppy and the Pickle to sing carols. We had both toddler and puppy on a lead! Probably the puppy was the easier to hold on to, but Pickle loved it. He became a bit over excited at ‘Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer’ and after that the stimming, spinning and trying to lie on the muddy grass became a little too difficult for us to handle, but instead of feeling frustrated and wishing things were different, I just felt pleased he had enjoyed 4 carols and he obviously really likes that particular one. My husband and I realised, and accepted that it was probably a good time to head back!

Before the Pickle went to bed, we showed him his empty stocking and hung it up on the fireplace. Then we took it down, and showed him again. Then we encouraged him to do it. When it went up for the third time, we clapped and cheered. On Christmas morning, when we showed the Pickle his stocking filled with chocolate and toys, he was delighted! We all sat in bed together whilst he had a look through. He ate chocolate for breakfast and really liked a squidgy stress ball that was inside.

I bought the Pickle an elf costume again this year. If you read my other post about Christmas you’ll see I did this for his first one when I was full of ‘new mum’ hope and I had no idea that he was ASD. I thought hey, lets do it again. And he was very pleased! Especially with the button on the front that played Jingle Bells over and over and over. Still, any parent of an ASD child is totally immune to repetitive, annoying noise! 😉

We opened some presents as a family, and the Pickle opened three! Granted, they weren’t all HIS presents, he stole some of daddies, but he opened one for him with a backpack from us. Here he is sporting his new backpack in his elf costume:

Pickle is very pleased with his new backpack. He put Daddy's new socks in to it and carried them around.

Pickle is very pleased with his new backpack. He put Daddy’s new socks in to it and carried them around.

He did lose interest, and there’s still a little pile for him under the Christmas tree, but that’s ok. He can open them when he’s ready. Maybe they can be New Years Eve presents!

When we visited family, it was the usual hustle, bustle and busyness. Last year, I had been so desperate to keep everyone happy by forcing the Pickle to open their many presents and look happy at what he’d received, I needed him to stay focused, and eat his Christmas dinner and perform like a child should. This year was different. I wanted to make sure that the Pickle was happy and ok, and if that meant he wanted time out, or he needed the iPad rather than presents, or if he didn’t want to be with everyone, then so be it. The phrase ‘short bursts’ kept going around in my head. It’s so overwhelming for a child with ASD to have your routine changed, be surrounded by lots people doing lots of different things, have lots of different noises, and more than one person talking at the same time. And there were a few times that he switched off from everyone, and I sat him down with the iPad, and just let him be. I also asked others to leave him alone as well if I felt it was necessary.

He was so tired by the end of the day, I know this because he sat down and watched the Snowman from beginning to end, without trying to rewind the opening credits over and over!! And that in itself was lovely because I got to cuddle him and watch it with him.

It was a really, really lovely day. And I am so proud of the Pickle and how far he has come since last Christmas. He coped so well and he will never ever stop amazing me and showing me that he is always capable of learning and progressing and coping with this crazy world around him!

I believe that another very important change this year, came from myself. This year was different to previous years. We have a diagnosis and I am better educated about ASD, sensory issues and the difficulties that our ASD children face. It’s incredible how easy things actually became when I changed my expectations, thought process and my attitude. When I stopped wanting the Pickle to conform to what I wanted, to what others expected, when I stopped wishing things were different and letting go of the set ideals I had in my mind about how Christmas should be. I tried really hard this year to see the world through his eyes, and kept repeating the mantra that “It is what it is”. We are all very blessed to have each other.

Well done Pickle! Keep showing us what life is all about! You will always be my life teacher and I forever your student 😀

in the middle