So we are quickly moving into the hectic holiday season. It is a crazy time of year for anyone. But if you have a children with special needs who are used to the rhythms and routines of everyday living, it can be even more stressful. Not everything can be glitzed over with tinsel.
Marvin came to us on December 12th four years ago this year. It was a day before my birthday and I was so excited I spent the days before almost throwing up. It also helped take my mind off my birthday, but that is another post on another day. I was thrilled and very very very very stupid. I had visions of Santa, candy canes, presents, celebrations with family and friends all in my head. WRONG!!!! The one thing that everyone stressed to me was that this is a very traumatic event in a child's life. Great for us but sucky for him. Keep low key. No big hooplah. Quiet holidays. One maybe two presents tops. Say what???
So in comes Marvin and with joy everything falls into place and they were all wrong. Nope, not quite. They took Marvin from daycare, he fell asleep in the car and woke up in a strange place with his social worker telling him that this was mommy and daddy now. Just the look on my new son's face, that moment when he realized that his life was falling apart and there was no foster family anymore just about killed me. He shrank from us. He clung to Ms. T. He sobbed like he was dying. And in reality a part of him was dying. The part of his life that he would never have back again. But we muddled through it. It was a quiet Christmas. It was also the most magical one I have ever had.
Flash forward to the next December. Around holiday time Marvin was inconsolable. He liked doing the "traditional stuff" but sometime I felt like he was doing it just to please us. We still kept it low key, but he had a lot of trigger episodes. Last December was better and I was bright enough to catch on to the patterns. I kept Marvin away from things I knew would cause problems the best I could. He was more expressive and was able to tell me he hated Christmas. Until he got presents and changed his mind on that one. He may have issues, but he is still a typical kid in most ways!
So here we are once again. I am hanging on with all I've got this year! Marvin is able to handle more stimulation, but I still try to keep things as quiet and smooth here at Casa de la Fields as possible. As an active four he has decided that he likes Christmas, especially the train that Paw Paw gave him for under the tree. We have had a very big increase in trigger related events, but now that I am aware, I know I can ride it out. Little things like going to the doctor to have our ears checked has produced mind blowing moments that probably leave the people in the parking lot to think I am beating my child within an inch of his life. Marvin usually takes stuff in stride, but sometimes he just can't. That stresses him, which in turn, stresses me.
Today was another great example. We went to a school play instead of school. Marvin fretted about not being in school, worried about the classroom animals, and the materials. Most of the time he loves having a day off. Not today. Then the play was going smashing until we got to a part about a giant glowing scary frog. Lovely. Just what I needed. So here is my kid who has had nightmares about being ripped away from his family for the past two weeks being presented with another great opportunity to freak out. Which he did on the car ride home. For a whole hour. The fun never stops.
I know that most of it is due to lack of sleep. I also think he has another ear infection. With our weather changing from 70 to 40 in a blink I am feeling a bit run down too. I know things will get better, but I just wish that I could have a normal holiday experience. Is it really too much to ask? But I can't have normal, so I am learning to take what I have and enjoy the good moments. There are good moments. I hope there will be many more of them and less bad ones for the Christmases of the future. Marvin has made many strides and I am confident that he will continue to make many more. Christmas is a season of hope and rebirth. I have hope that with Marvin's rebirth into our family that he will continue to make strides in his healing process and have peace of mind in the security of a loving family. Only time will tell.