All I want for Christmas

There’s only so many times you can say in one day, “Santa can’t bring you a dog for Christmas.”

Try explaining this to a child who uses their own cognitive reasoning skills to that of the entire human race.

She’s a born negotiator, an elementary lawyer so to speak, pretty baffling when you try to explain her profile still constitutes a communication disorder.

As so many other parents of PDA’ers say, if only she could put that level of input into the ‘doing’ rather than the ‘avoiding,’ I can only imagine what would be possible!

It’s like having a toddler around as I face an onslaught of ‘whys’ to which paradoxically I’m met with an articulated defense.

It’s an argument, like so many, you can never possibly win.

“Santa can’t bring a dog in his sack,” I try to affirm gently, “it would be against the animal rights laws.”

“Why?” she says.

“Well a dog could get squashed in a sack,” I reply thoughtfully.

“No it wouldn’t,” she ascertains, “the dog can go on the front seat.”

“Father Christmas can bring toys,” I say, “but not pets.”

“Would he if he could?” She probes.

And so it goes on (for many hours), on a good day I may have got her off subject, on a bad day, well, let’s just say a meltdown may occur to which point all family members are in the firing line. If I don’t get there first, it won’t look pretty.

It’s a compulsive need and one that desperately needs fulfilling – to a pathological level.

She wants a dog and she needs it by Christmas.

Her imaginary pet even needs a stocking and Christmas clothes, some treats and a squeaky toy. It’s bowl of water is already waiting on the patio, frozen in the snow. She harasses to go to Tesco to stack up on dog food in preparation.

For the mean time we satisfy this urgency by going out dog walking, with the exception we are missing a dog. We do the circuits with other walkers and wangle a stroke or a performing trick along the way.

“Out doing a morning walk are ya?!” shouts a passer by. I nod coyly, ashamedly not wanting to reveal our secret.

A walk, albeit just with someone else’s dog. I can’t help but laugh out loud at the ludicrousness of the situations I now find myself in.

I’m faced with this compulsive nature daily.

She’s with me at all times and has been for so long. I’m completely drained, overwhelmed and beaten. I need to do things like normal mums do. I have Christmas shopping to do, chores to fulfil, school runs for siblings. At times, I feel like I’m breaking, but here I am negotiating why we can’t have a dog and inventing walks with owners we’ve never even met.

She coincidentally chooses this topic to distract from it being a transition time. Her avoidance skills are now at their heightened best.

In her perceived world the injustice of not having a dog proves too much.

Single handedly, I couldn’t afford an overload, the two younger siblings were at risk.

So I used the distraction of something familiar and it worked.

We sat and watched a favourite film of hers on catch up; Home Alone. She told me Kevin was kind, that she was Kevin in the film.

For a child with PDA they often blur the lines of fantasy and reality.

It unwantedly reaches the end titles and an advert with David Williams features.

And so it starts with the film end – another transition and a break from the fantasy world she was happier in.

Back to a subject that rendered it impossible to watch Britain’s Got Talent all those months ago:

Mummy, I want you to marry David Walliams!”

I try to explain he’s on the TV, we don’t know him.

“Is he fake?” her bottom lip wobbles.

“No, he’s a real person,” I claw away to keep control of the situation, “we just don’t know each other and it’s very unlikely we ever will do.”

The concept of being on TV or a celebrity are just too big to grasp just yet.

She loves him, he makes her laugh. She goes all gooey at the mention of his name.

He is very real to her.

A while ago she wanted Alesha Dixon to be her mum too, but not the golden haired one from BGT, she’s too mean she said.

I never took offence. I always know she wouldn’t trade me in, just like her canine friends, loyalty is one of her driving features.

Alesha has been forgotten but Mr Walliams is still in her consciousness.

The focus has moved, I keep it light hearted, I even get away with poking fun about it.

I tell her I’ll write him a letter, tell him my daughter wants him to marry me, that’s not going to sound weird is it, I say as I tickle her.

She laughs uncontrollably and we are able to move on.

I may not be so lucky tomorrow.

Never once did I think I’d have to argue the improbability of mummy not being able to marry David Walliams to a child who you just can’t reason with, all to avoid facing the groundhog argument that she can’t have a dog right now.

It’s actually a relief to be ‘hounded’ for a more obscure Christmas gift – it’s sending me barking mad answering the same questions about dogs not being presents!

I’ll be ordering the large plush toy dog from Ikea as my plan B. It may or may not work.

Not sure what plan C will be for not being able to marry celebrities, answers on a Christmas card please.


  1. mummagrizzlybear

    Ah man pda-xmas joy… Whatever the specialist interest I’m sure each autism mumma is driven insane. Our household is currently back on Pokemon mania but not in the mainstream kid kind of way… Babybear just collects and orders his cards. Thousands of them that will become redundant and a complete waste of money in a few months when his specialist topic shifts focus again!
    Marrying celebs!? I bet The lovable Mr Walliams would humour a little companionship and maybe special little Xmas gift if enough of us flagged up this blog post and shamefully publically increase awareness too!
    Keep up the remarkable work uh you do to meet the needs of ur special one. We will all be honoured one day for creative services above and beyond!
    May your Christmas be stress free. Ours was catastrophic last year which has one upside…this year can only get better! ๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. Debbie

    Beautifully written as always – our obsession is she wants her room decorated again! OMG how wearing it is and I found myself giving in to a negotiated delay until after christmas – all my excuses and reasoning get skillfully challenged and I end up backed into a corner with nowhere to go, she’s even old enough to argue she’ll help or do it! My own PDA kicking in the whole time and often end up wanting to cry and run!

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