The holidays are a’comin’…
Technically, it started when it snowed before Halloween. Now, snow in DC always seems like the apocalyptic event the media craves. Even when it was barely a trace (a little more came sliding off our front porch) – you bet your sweet bippy that the meteorologists are out with their fancy computer programs and reporters who drew the short stick were on the Beltway pointing at the minute flakes falling.
Anyway, the media hype totally got to Mayor Bee. That morning he looks out and shouts “SNOW MOMMY SNOW!”. Then pauses and says, “Max and Ruby Christmas DVD”?
Sigh. It has begun, even before Halloween could commence.
On one hand, you want your child to look back on his/her childhood with nice, warm, fuzzy holiday memories. To see the pictures with Santa, the massive amounts of presents, the family parties, baking cookies. You know, the normality of it.
You don’t want to be the Grinch. You don’t want to be the parent who kinda “gives up” after trying to do the “normal” stuff. Because you have tried seeing Santa, and it was a colossal disaster.
You know, when your child freaks out at the sight of a large man in a bright red suit and this white fluffy stuff on his face? Or tries to kick Santa’s butt because he’s not a constant presence in his life?
Or even worse, can’t wait in line for Santa because he doesn’t quite understand that whole concept of waiting your turn? Or he worries that all the other kids are going to take up the wishes and not leave him any?
What happens when family gatherings (Husband’s family parties can total over 50 people in a house) become too much for YOU?
I have learned that with each passing year I come into the holidays with pretty low expectations. Sometimes I’m able to win some, and sometimes it goes down in massive flames. At those times, I’m surprised nothing else exploded.
It was in December 2010 when Bee was diagnosed with SPD, although we kinda/sorta knew all along. Plus we didn’t quite succeed doing the typical annual festivities.
We did the Santa thing. Our ‘hood holds an annual “Meet Santa” event – and once again we try to get him up in the lap. At least he wasn’t stiff as a board (the year before). But, he couldn’t sit still for a mere ten seconds and tell Santa what he wanted. Plus, he was more intrigued by everything else – running around the room, poking his head in different rooms, trying to open things/climb up on objects/the basic run of the mill OHMYGODKID/SLOWTHEBLEEPDOWN/JUSTSITSTILL/FORAMINUTE/WILLYA?
I cannot be the only one to admit this.
We tried the holiday parties. The one at his Early Childhood/Special Education (ECSE) was fine – I guess partially because it was so sensory friendly. It wasn’t very long, it is a small class, and it’s quite structured. It was actually very calming for ME.
The one at his daycare was a bit harder – partially because they had just told us that they just couldn’t handle his special needs along with all the other kids. Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too.
At the concert, they let him have a pacifier (against my wishes) during the concert (honestly – just so they wouldn’t worry about him possibly biting another kid) – and I have video of a boy trying to sing Jingle Bells with a paci flipping about in his mouth.
Well, kind of glad we don’t have to worry about that daycare ever again.
The family gatherings are worse, since your schedule (as you have carefully planned it) always gets thrown off by your host’s timeline. Husband grew up in this area, and many of of his extended family still live in this area, so there are a lot of people that attend these things. Bringing a lot of kids with them.
It’s very loud and chaotic and Mayor Bee feeds on that, that little sensory seeking devil. Then, in true fashion, he becomes overwhelmed from all the inputs and it dissolves into a massive wailing fit that I have no way of predicting or controlling.
It’s one of the few times that it would be nice if he could be like “all the other kids”. I have to constantly monitor him to make sure he doesn’t take a flying leap, or break some highly valuable vase, or run into a wall because he’s not paying attention. I wish he, one day, will be able to play with his cousins without worrying that he’s not going to take a bite out of them.
The other kids don’t understand why Bee’s like that – and I only hope that Husband’s relatives don’t secretly judge us because no one says a peep to us about it.
You know if it’s going to be that much work monitoring him, I would much rather be at my house. At least then I don’t have to worry about putting makeup on.
But we’ll try again this year. We’ve been reading books to try and get him used to Santa and all the icons, again. His new favorite is Llama Llama Holiday Drama, which does depict a meltdown scene and how his mama handles it (so it’s helpful for me too). His ECSE will also try to work holiday activities into classroom time so all the kids become accustomed to traditions.
Maybe even this year we’ll brave a big mall and see that Santa. Finally, “Sensory Friendly Santas” have made their way into our area. I was lucky to snag a spot with one. It will actually occur on a Sunday, before the mall even opens. At the event, the music and lights will be turned down and staff will be instructed to avoid loud, distracting movements. In addition, we will not have to wait in line, but will sign in and be called when it’s our turn. We’ll see how this goes.
Above all else, if nothing else works, our ‘hood Santa will have to do. Again.