My Family

My Family

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013 Wrap Up

Christmas started a little early in our house.  I'm not talking about 3am.  I'm talking about months early.  Think Halloween.  Yup.

Our church puts on a Christmas play and the play director approached us when we were out grabbing Kit-Kats about the play.  She asked if Marvin was going to be in it.  When he hesitated, I quipped, "Sure if you can find a spot for Cary Lynn."  I then did what every good mommy does.  I forgot all about it.  Yup, that's how I roll:).  If it isn't written down or burned into my brain with lasers you might as well forget it.

Well, apparently the play director didn't.  When she presented her group with the challenge of including a non-mobile, non-verbal kid they didn't blink.  When Marvin came home with his part after practice I was informed of how my daughter was going to be an angel in the play.  What???  At that point my daughter was eating and spitting her food all over me so angel was not what I was thinking of, but I'm pretty sure they didn't want the alternative in the nativity.

So with some Christmas lights, a wagon, and lots of batting and tape a little ingenuity this is what happens:
It was awesome.  For people whose kids do this stuff all the time they may fail to understand how important it is.  But it is.  It is so important.  I really didn't think Cary Lynn would be in this Christmas play.  Or any play in the future.  But she took to the role like a duck to water. I loved how they lifted her up on stage and she made spitting noises.  It was magical for me.  I recorded it.  Unfortunately, I got a little over excited and think I missed Marvin speaking his line (shhh... we say nothing.).  But I did catch him doing his whoop whoop sign at then end of the play and really if you are going to embarrass them later on down the line that is the stuff you need to have on hand anyway.

We also had Christmas.  Marvin started Christmas eve by spiking a bit of a fever.  So we missed one of the many family gatherings that Shannon has.  And he has many gatherings.  I love them all, but if I had to recall every name I would be in trouble.  Thankfully, most of them know my name.

On Christmas Day Santa came!!!  This is where we tend to have some trouble.  Cary Lynn can't open gifts and really looses interest after about 10 seconds.  Marvin gets totally overwhelmed and goes into sensory overload.  I wish I had the kids that got up and ran to their stockings and ripped into presents like crazy.  Instead I get the kids that melt down and throw an hour long screaming tantrum.

But this year I got a little smarter.  I put gifts in gift bags, kept the numbers down, and the stockings were pretty pitiful by "normal" standards.  But we made it through Christmas morning with no melt downs.
"Santa" left educational and useful gifts, like books.  Marvin was pretty happy.  Then we pushed the envelope and went to church.  Again, we did OK.  A couple of rough moments, but Marvin was so enamored by kneeling in the pews and going up to holy communion, that it kept him diverted.

Then we went to Shannon's parents.  They did an awesome job. Unfortunately, I blew it.  Marvin got a scooter.  That's all he saw, all he wanted, and the rest could have disappeared and he would have been good.  But I got into traditional Christmas mode.  I kept trying to drag him back in and show him stuff.  Sigh.  You would think after all the classes, books, and articles I have read that I would have learned by now.

Yes, Marvin blew up.  For about an hour he raged.  And I was left feeling frustrated, upset, and downright embarrassed.  But after he was done and he was nothing more than a giant puddle on the bed and I was left feeling like the worst parent in the world for just pushing him I decided that if he can't change just yet I need to change.  I don't want to bubble wrap him from the world.  But I do need to change how I respond so maybe Christmas can be a better thing for both of us.  To let him lead me with his cues.  To prep him beforehand.  And maybe try to make things simpler for him.  To do less instead of trying to cram 8 million things into one day.

So we get up and try again.  I may never have my Norman Rockwell Christmas, but hey, I really don't know anyone who does.  I can't force my kids into molds that don't fit them.  I can however accept and love them the way they are.  They are my children, but also my teachers.  They show me that even though things can be hard at times and melt downs happen that the storm blows over and we pick ourselves up and try again.


  1. How about letting him open one present a day in the days leading up until Christmas then 2 from Santa on Christmas morning?
    At all the family/friends parties let him open as many presents as he wants then set the rest away from the chaos (in another room) and he can open them if he wants. If you end up taking them home just text a picture to the gift giver when he does open it. Family and friends "should" understand if you explain it to them. I also have an emotionally challenging child who rages. It is very hard emotionally on the parents and frequently guilt inducing.

    1. That is a great idea! I think we will try that next year. Thanks!!!

  2. My little sisters (foster-adopted) both have SPD. The older one (5) has some other issues too. We all woke up at 6 AM, and my 5 year old sister was exhausted for most of the day, and refused to take a nap. She would be doing ok, and then some small thing wouldn't go her way, and she would meltdown. You could tell that she was on sensory overload and completely exhausted. That was definitely interesting trying to let her and her little sister play together while keeping both from melting down.