Queens, Elephants and The Birthday Boy

John’s birthday weekend promised to consist of very little sleep and lots of cake, just like most weekends really but with the added bonus of presents. The anticipation of his favourite celebrations are often more exciting for him than the actual event.
He always lets me know well in advance what presents he wants and we talk about them for weeks leading up to the day. It starts on Boxing Day and gathers pace once the New Year celebrations are over.

This year he asked to go on the Queen Mary 2 with an elephant.
It took a bit of working out to understand exactly what he wanted. He can pronounce ‘Queen Mary 2′ very well. We have been practicing at bath times inbetween singing rude rugby songs. He has almost got it off to perfection apart from calling her Queer Mary, but the word elephant took some explaining.

First he tried the word…’E-e-um’ I shrugged my shoulders, “I have no idea John, sorry try again”
“E-E-UM” he bellowed down my ear. He often does this if I don’t understand him, believing it will make it easier for me if he ups the volume.
“Nope, sorry I haven’t a Scooby Doo what you are saying, try again.”
“Scoodoo” replied John giggling to himself “Scoodoo mummy” and was helpless for the next few minutes as he played with the new word.
After he calmed down he tried again. “Ehu hum” then he pulled on his left ear until I thought it would tear. “Ehu hum” he said nodding and still holding his ear. Then he let go and waved his arm around in front of his face. “Oh aeroplane! I get it now John you want an aeroplane” he usually pronounces aeroplane quite differently but hey, maybe it’s street talk innit.

“Noooooo er o pay” said John shaking his head for several seconds to make sure I understood he most definitely didn’t want an aeroplane.
He stomped around the room, his arm outstretched and waving it from side to side. That’s when the penny dropped “Oh an elephant,” I said excitedly,
“You want to go on the Queen Mary with an Elephant” I clapped my hands in delight at his marvellous attempts to be understood. John joined in, he loves a good clap does John.
Once the applause died down John celebrated further by giving me a bear hug to let me know how appreciative he was. He jumped up and down on the spot still with his arms wrapped tightly round me, please don’t try this at home at least not unless there is someone on hand with a Blue Peter Badge in CPR. We pogoed around the room until I managed to squeak “Cake”. John was on it immediately and released me with just enough breath to enable me to stagger into the kitchen to get him a large slice of cake. Maybe this would help soften the blow when I broke the bad news.

I took a deep breath and went for it. “John, there is no way you can go on the Queen Mary 2 with or without an Elephant, I am sorry really I am, but mummy can’t make this happen. I haven’t enough money for you to go on the Queen Mary 2 and even if I did the man won’t let elephants on the ship. ( I always blame ‘The Man’ ) Let’s think of some other presents shall we?”

The silence was deafening. John just stood waving his trunk around and slapping his head with it.
I started twittering on about DVD’s, CD’s, talky toys and birthday cakes. I even promised trips to the zoo to see the elephants. John loves the zoo but only for the mono rail. He bounces up and down in the carriage yelling ‘Elephant’ and ‘Giraffe’, waving his arms around and slapping himself into a frenzy. I know that’s what he is saying but to the uninitiated it looks as if he is taking part in an exorcism

The mention of the word zoo seemed to cheer him up a bit, he stopped waving his trunk and said “eBay peas mummy”. He ran off upstairs and I hobbled after him. He wanted me to find DVD’s of Queen Mary and the other two Cunard Queens, Elizabeth and Victoria. I can’t go into how long it took me to work out the names or we would be here all night. Suffice is to say that after it was over I needed to lie down in a darkened room listening to whale music.

His birthday celebrations were exactly as predicted. He was too excited to sleep, needing to keep popping into my room to remind me he was going to be “Twehee thev” and flushing the toilet every half hour. This has long been a favourite way for John to celebrate and it makes him laugh uproariously. At 4 a.m he decided to turn on the shower to add a certain je ne sais quoi, flush the toilet again and then he put his talking Tinky Winky next to my ear, in case I wasn’t quite awake.

He wanted his presents in the afternoon when his dad, Grandad and Rach would be here, so we amused ourselves in the morning by visiting the smelly and the not so smelly shops that are dotted around our little village.
“Burdy Johnelmo” he boomed as he bulldozed his way into the first shop, sending a rack of assorted ladies garments into a spin. He went straight to the CD’s “Chrimmas mummy” he explained as he started to rifle through a big box of them looking for anything Christmassy.
To my horror he found Michael Ball’s Christmas Favourites and tucked it under his chin, to this he added The Mongolian Swamp Singers Christmas Songs and Carols from Strangeways. Ok so maybe I’m exaggerating but they were absolutely dreadful whatever they were called. John told the kind lady behind the counter that it was his ‘Burdy’ and she gave him the CD’s as a present. I thought that was a lovely thing for her to do.
He adopted this method in the next three shops and we ended up with a bagful of free CD’s and some boiled sweets, some of which still had the wrappers on….Eiw!

John loved all of his presents, yes he got the DVD of the three Cunard Queens, (that sounds so wrong ) and I had also managed to get him a model of the Queen Mary 2, he loved it. He also received an assortments of noisy games together with an ambulance and a fire engine with real sirens that wailed at the touch of a button. Cheers James and Rach!

Finally after a busy day, lots of laughter and even more cake than usual he announced at 11.00pm that he was going to bed. He had his ‘Queer Mary’, his ambulance and his fire engine all in bed with him. I tickled him, kissed his cheek and told him I loved him. “Luh u Mummy” replied my gorgeous birthday boy.
“Night night John” I whispered as I tucked him in.
“Neeenaaa Neeenaaa” replied the ambulance and the helicopter while Queer Mary maintained a dignified silence.


8 thoughts on “Queens, Elephants and The Birthday Boy

    • Yes I believe they are coming in May. I think it will be too busy for John and Cunard! However his dad is taking him to see them in the Mersey. It should be spectacular.

    • Thank you so much, I am glad you enjoy reading about John he is a pleasure to have around. However he is only here at weekends so I get the best of him. To be fair to John he has matured into a lovely young man and really enjoys his life. Things don’t always go right but then he is autistic so there is always the possibility for a meltdown. Fortunately nowadays they are few and far between. When I first started to write the blog I did worry that maybe I would come across a bit smug. I talk about the funny side of our life but you and I know that it isn’t always that way. John is 27 now and is much calmer and less anxious than he was as a teenager. I have been fortunate to have an amazing support network over the years, not by chance but because I knew that to be able to be able to care for him and support him we would need help. I was never to proud to ask when things became difficult and it is thanks to his schools, the respite centre and Wirral Autistic Society that we are where we are today.
      My purpose in writing the blog was to show other parents who are struggling that it can get better, with help.
      I hope I have achieved it.
      Thank you for continuing to support John and I by following my ramblings and if ever you feel you need help just shout…..loudly! Xx

  1. I think that the tourist information for cruises on ‘The Queen’ liners could add a whole new dimension to their brochures!
    I love John’s take on word pronunciation it is much more fun.
    I am sorry Julie but the description of your nights are the best laugh -keep it up John!

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