December 19, 2014

Merryish and Brightish

May your days be merry and bright! Well, not every day that we did a Christmas activity was merry and bright.  But it's okay.

This year we bravely made our way out to a Christmas event at our church.  It was pretty fantastic.  There was snow, sledding, food trucks, and kinds of fun activities.  Brandon did not do so well.  We did go down the sledding hill a couple of times, but I quickly was reminded that he really has no idea of the concept of waiting.  Having to wait in line is our doom.  He truly does not understand that I am not preventing him from doing something fun, but that we just have to wait our turn.  He was falling out.  (This is what I call his meltdowns when they're behavioral, not sensory related.  There's an important difference, which I will explain in another post.)  We didn’t stay long.  “Leaving already?” an unknowing volunteer asked, innocently.  “Yeah,” I replied with a fake smile and a pang in my heart as I looked over my shoulder at all the family fun happening behind me.

On another night went to Brandon’s family night at school.  Again, we didn’t stay long.

Going to see Santa was perfectly fine, though.  His dad took him and was cleverly armed with mini marshmallows for Santa to give him.  He sat on Santa’s lap and waited to take a picture.  I just never quite know how he is going to react in a given situation.  It doesn’t stop us from trying.  It’s just disappointing when things don’t go the way I hope.  Part of this is behavioral.  Like many young children, he wants to do what he wants to do.  When he doesn’t get his way, he lets you know he is pissed.

Just like any other parent, making these holiday memories is important to me.  I want to look back on the holidays with Brandon and remember fun moments.  I don’t want to remember the time he was kicking and screaming and I had to carry him out of an event like a sack of potatoes.

The key to this is making happy memories in our own way.  Brandon flips out when he can’t play with the ornaments on the tree.  So, he has his own tree about his height with unbreakable ornaments that he can do whatever he wants with.  My memory will be of him enjoying his tree.  He may not care to help me put ornaments on our tree, but he likes to spin the ornaments on his own little tree.  So, I will join him and spin away.  That will be my memory.  He won’t rip open all of his presents on Christmas morning with a big grin on his face like all the other kids.  I will have him open one present every hour or so to keep him from getting overstimulated.  Instead of memory where he had a meltdown from being overstimulated by all the presents, wrapping paper, and people, I can look back at the memory of him opening that one present that he really loved and played with all morning.

Most the time I have to learn these adjustments the hard way.  Even though we don't do many things the way I dreamed of, they are worth doing just a little bit differently in order to make memories we can cherish.

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