The Boy Who Loved

“YOU’VE RUINED MY LIFE, MUMMY!”

I didn’t expect to hear those words for at least another few years but my six year old autistic son said them to me the other day.

Why?

Because his most treasured friend in all the universe had lost her voice!

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The Boy with his special friend.

Her name is Hedwig and once upon a time she was Harry Potter’s faithful companion. Anybody who’s read the HP books or seen the films will know of Hedwig’s fate but in The Boy’s world, she is very much alive.

She arrived via Father Christmas last year and we thought he would explode with joy. It was THE best present in the entire world!

Autistic people have obsessions. The Boy’s started with numbers when he was three and he wowed his teachers at school by knowing his entire 12 times table at the age of four. His photographic memory means that he only has to see something once to remember it – most helpful when it comes to exams!

This obsession lasted two years and then owls took over after hearing The Owl Babies at school. He was especially taken with ‘Bill’ who always wants his mummy, like he does.

Then we watched Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and he saw the owls, in particular, Harry’s snowy owl – Hedwig.

And it was love at first sight.

It’s the intensity of an interest which makes it an obsession and owls help The Boy cope with the uncertainties of life. They are his constant companions and his bedroom is full of owl paraphernalia. At school they keep one especially for him to cuddle when he feels anxious and as a reward for effort he is allowed to take his special friend into school with him at the end of the week.

Last week was a good week for The Boy. Despite being poorly and missing a day, he was able to do some work in the classroom which is a huge thing for him to cope with. He chose to take Hedwig to school on Friday and went in full of smiles as he was so happy to be spending the day with his special friend.

However, joy turned into distress at home time when he came in crying his heart out.

“You HAVE to make Hedwig talk Mummy, she’s lost her voice!”

Hedwig’s ‘voice’ is a small button located in her wing that produces owl noises and by the sound of it, it had seen some serious action that day because it was barely audible. I knew that there was no way to change the battery as it’s sewn into the toy. Once it’s worn out, that’s it – although I didn’t realise this when I ordered it.

Struggling to find the right words to say to comfort him, I ended up saying entirely the wrong thing..

“I’ll try Sweetheart but I can’t promise you she’ll get her voice back”

He crumbled in front of me and with eyes full of tears he shouted:

“YOU’VE RUINED MY LIFE, MUMMY!”

And at that moment, I felt like I had.

He took her upstairs and wrapped her gently in his Batman blanket, then he tucked her into his bed as I had done with him the day before. For a child who is naturally heavy handed, he was surprisingly gentle with her.

OH e-mailed Warner Bros to ask if there was any way to rectify it and I contacted them via social media. As of yet, neither has responded.

Then something wonderful happened..

An online friend (a person I’ve never met) offered to give The Boy his Hedwig because he is also the parent of an autistic child and he understood my son’s distress. How wonderful is that? Such a beautiful thing to do. It’s too generous an offer for me to be able to accept because I know what they cost but I will never forget his kindness towards a little boy who he doesn’t even know.

I also got a message from one of The Boy’s sister’s who had obviously seen what was going on via social media and found a snowy owl on the internet which made noises and she’s posted it to him. As she says, it’s not Hedwig but a little boy can never have too many owls!

Then a little miracle happened..

Hedwig – after a night of rest and recuperation – got her voice back – ish.

Dear Reader, you and I both know that it will happen again because we know that these toys are not designed for longevity, especially when there is an obsessive autistic child pushing it’s button a zillion times a day. So we are getting a back up toy which will be swapped over when Hedwig’s voice goes for good. At the moment, it’s important to him so it’s important to us.

As I was writing this post I got to thinking about a doll that I had for my fifth birthday. ‘Drowsy’ had a cord which made her talk when you pulled it. She said things like “I’m sleepy” “Kiss me goodnight” and “I want a drink of water” and she giggled. How I loved that giggle and how I loved her. She was my constant companion throughout my childhood. Eventually, the cord snapped off but there was nothing Mum could do. There was no chance of her being swapped because she was uniquely mine, as in, I’d given her a haircut and Mum had covered her original polka dot play-suit with some old curtains. One day the stitching around her neck gave way and her head all but came off. I begged my mother to do something and fair play, Ma sewed her head back on. The stitches weren’t exactly pretty but by that time, neither was the rest of the doll.

To me she was more than a doll – she was my friend who listened to me when no one else would. A loyal friend like that could never end up in landfill which is why I still have her 41 years later and it’s my wish that she’ll go with me when I die as I would chuffing well haunt the bugger who puts her in the bin after I’m gone!

So I understand how much he loves this stuffed owl and thankfully we will be able to swap it without him understanding what we’ve done, unlike my Drowsy doll.

Will The Boy still have Hedwig when he’s my age?

Probably not but who knows..

Autistic children grow and their obsessions change, although some can be life-long.

All I know is how much she matters to him now. He loves her as he would a human being. As I type this I can hear him making his owl noises. When he is anxious he screeches like an owl. When he is happy, he hoots. He nibbles my hand like real owls do. In fact, I think he believes he is part owl and that is perfectly fine by me. Hoot Hoot!

Harry now carried a large cage that held a beautiful snowy owl, fast asleep with her head under her wing. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone ~ J K Rowling

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon
A Bit Of Everything

 

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31 thoughts on “The Boy Who Loved

  1. What a beautiful post, even my cold hearted eyes are watery with this.

    I too have a teddy that’s survived 40+ years. I offered it to the boys a couple of years ago and they declined the offer. The eldest said it looked dead. The youngest went with ‘a little creepy’. Harsh, it’s missing an eye … and mouth … and half an ear … actually to be fair to them it is a little creepy, but still!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL my doll looks like she’s related to Chucky. Nobody else seems to see her the same way I do which is why I know (without doubt) that she would end up in landfill. Not if I can help it. *snorts* Though I am happy to report that Eldest boys both still have their special teddy bears they had as babies. πŸ™‚

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  2. So sorry to hear Hedwig’s voice is going. You express what this means to him so well that I feel I really understand it. It’s lovely to hear about others offering their owls to help him.

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  3. Oh Tracy, I can’t begin to imagine the distress of Hedwig getting a case of Laryngitis to little man. How flipping unfair that probably going in to school and being shown off was her downfall. The fact that little man was proud and wanted to share his prize possession in school, not an easy thing for any youngster to do, let alone a child with autism, saw the demise of Hedwigs voice. If there is any justice in life, you should hear back from the HUGE Harry Potter corporation. Surely they could supply a new voice squeaker thingy for you to unpick the seam and sew back in. Bet they don’t though, money money money, they would want you to buy a new one.
    It’s such a pain, almost physical, when your child feels you have let them down and there’s nothing that you can do to placate them. You know deep down though, that it’s because he loves you so very much, that he can express his anger at you with the knowledge that you will always be there no matter what. Isn’t it so lovely that somebody you have never met, thinks so much of you and your love for little man that he was prepared to give you his Hedwig, that’s just awesome. Let’s hope with a bit more R & R, Hedwig will recover to her former self and they can *hoot hoot* happily together. Hedwig is not a toy, she’s little mans mate, friend, sibling, confidant….this owl was never just for Christmas, she’s for life!
    Great blog lovely lady πŸ˜˜πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

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    • Thanks lovely, she really is his mate and I know he said those words because he loves her so much. He was just so dramatic but deadly serious with it. I don’t expect to hear anything from Warner Bros but it was worth a try. Yep, I have ‘met’ some beautiful people thanks to social media and you are one of them dear lady. A beautiful comment, thank you πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxx

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  4. Aww, so glad you managed to find a backup. My son had a toy dog my aunt bought him and one day it stopped woofing but we can’t replace the batteries. He was so sad. It’s silly that they make toys that can’t have the batteries changed.

    #abitofeverything

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  5. That’s a beautiful story. It’s odd WB didn’t get back to you. I’ve never understood the design of those toys where you can’take replace the batteries! We have a build a bear toy with grandma’s voice and the thought of the battery going is scary.

    Thanks for sharing and I’m glad the boy who loved got his Hedwig back!

    #abitofeverything

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  6. Oh goodness, this is such a moving post! I was tearing up at the bit when he was gently putting hedwig to bed and when the person on social media offered to give you theirs! So glad hedwig is feeling better and that you have a back up plan now. Xxx

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  7. This is a gorgeous post lovely! How nice of that person to offer the owl to you! Hayden hasn’t got a particular toy he loves but has a selection of lining up toys that he is very protective over. Thank you for joining #spectrumsunday again lovely, really hope to see you again this week xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Clare, I’ll be joining in again this week. It’s great to find an autism linky where you know that everybody will have an understanding of what you’re talking about. πŸ™‚ Xx

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  8. I hope that the owl has some rest to keep their voice in tact for a while longer. Master X now has Suzy, my little bear that has been with me since I was born. Even overseas! I get attachment to toys – they are our friends and understand us when no-one else does. xx

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