3 Broken Ornaments, 2 Injured Parents, and a Little Boy on a Trampoline

Christmas came and went.

Bronwyn, our 4 year-old NT daughter, was a little hellion.  We’re not sure, but we think she might be generalizing that some of her brother’s behaviors, such as meltdowns, are okay for her as well.   (They’re just 20 months apart in age.)  So, she wore us out and put us on edge.  We got a little break when she went to go and see the children’s Christmas performance at church with her grandmother.  Sean, Callum, and I decided to be cowardly and skip this one as I still haven’t emotionally recovered from the last children’s church performance when Callum went running up and brought down the entire backdrop of the show.

My husband, who was just recovering from an awful stomach flu last week, gave himself a hernia from throwing up so much.  My lower back then decided to go out.  So both of us were hobbling around in pain, trying to do Christmas Eve assemblage on either pain meds or muscle relaxers.

After presents, my husband took the kids over to my m-i-l’s house to open more gifts there.  They live across the river and out aways and had already come to our house in the morning to see our children at our house.  Apparently, it is necessary for us, on a limited budget and with gas prices being what they are, to drive across town just to open presents from the grandparents at their house.  They could have simply brought them over, mind you.  But, of course, that would be the sensible and easy thing to do, and no one would have the joy of upsetting Callum by dragging him back and forth across town on an already chaotic day for no reason whatsoever.  Yes, he was miserable, and, yes, Sean had to bring them back home early.  Go ahead.  Ask me how I feel about this…

And then came Christmas dinner.  Let me say that I have a wonderful sister-in-law who also happens to be an occupational therapist who worked with ASD kids for years.  She gets it and knows all about repetitive behaviors.  So, she wasn’t even upset when Callum inevitably grabbed hold of a Christmas ornament when no one was looking and shattered it.  And she didn’t sweat it when he tested the scientific properties of liquid by pouring out a guest’s beverage onto the floor.  We’re working on it, but he throws everything to see if it bounces.

While the entire family was in the dining room eating, I stayed in the living room eating mine off a paper plate and hanging out with Destructo-boy.  Which isn’t a hardship at all, as he is an awfully sweet and cute dinner companion.  His other attribute is that he isn’t my m-i-l, so there is that.  But it was kind of lonely.  And I could have eaten off a paper plate in the living room at home.

One thing is for certain.  The day will come when I will have an opportunity to give a special-needs parent (or any over-stressed parent of small children really) a free moment to sit down at a nice dinner and eat.  I will take the paper plate and plastic fork and hang out with the cute little troublemaker and allow that parent a moment of peace and adult conversation.  This is my solemn vow.

But here is where I get to the good part about Christmas.  Santa brought Callum an indoor trampoline.  Callum, who isn’t even aware of Christmas yet and wasn’t expecting a thing, walked out of his bedroom on Christmas morning and saw– something he knew how to play with.  Without even glancing at a room covered in toys and presents, he walked right up to it, climbed on, and went to town jumping with a big, joyous smile.  Santa finally got one right — which put a big, joyous smile on Mama’s face as well.

Which is all I really wanted for Christmas to begin with.  :)

26 thoughts on “3 Broken Ornaments, 2 Injured Parents, and a Little Boy on a Trampoline

  1. Melina

    Merry Christmas. I have been there and can relate. Don’t apologize for tge way he is. (I’m telling myself that). People who are going to love him are going to have to learn to accept him. They either prefer their clean house over him, or they’ll get over his short comings. Tge grandparents may think twice about fussing over him opening gifts @ their house next year. Christ ornaments still get broken here every year by accident grouped with the anticipation of Santa coming. I have spent many meals alone for that very reason and I also have vowed to someday give that mom. A break. I have also been on tge receiving end of that break a few times amd it. Feels. Good. Hang in there you’re doing great.

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Thanks, Melina. What a lovely name!

      That’s good to remember. I do tend to apologize a lot. Not because I’m ashamed of him, of course. But I do so hate for people to hear high pitched screeching in a restaurant or have their ornaments broken, etc.

      Thanks for sharing.

  2. Alienhippy

    Awww, look at his lovely little face, that smile is so wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing, it reminded me of a Christmas at my MIL’s when CAL was 2.
    My *AJ was 9 and had gone into completely shutdown, ran up stairs and hidden under the bed after an idiot relative had mocked his speech. I too ended up in the bedroom with three plates of food, a screaming toddler *CAL and my very hurt little boy.
    That was the last time I did Christmas visits to people who don’t get my kids or me.
    This year…after the in-laws visited? Well…I’ll let my next blog title speak on that.
    “Have yourself a Merry little Meltdown!”
    Thanks for this post, I really enjoy reading your blog.
    Love and hugs.
    Lisa. xx :)

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Thanks, Hippy. He is indeed The Cutest Little Boy in the World, don’t ‘cha know? 😉

      And poor AJ. I can’t imagine making fun of a little boy’s speech. What a schmuck.

  3. Lisa

    Sounds like Callum got a great gift. We have one of those trampolines and it is a godsend. I, too, have been with my little ASD man alone in a room while everyone else is rejoicing…and I know the loneliness…hugs. hope you can both decompress today!

  4. Katie

    My little boy used to love his indoor trampoline and would bounce his until he could bounce no more, then lay down and have a little sleep on it. Toys got bounced on it, and I have an amusing video of him bouncing with a large trug (bucket) on his head. He’s now much bigger and still loves to bounce on the outdoo trampoline in the garden, come rain or shine he’s on there, sometimes with wellies and an umbrella! If he hasn’t been on it for a day or two then the literal bouncing off the walls begins again in earnest until I gently remind him about his trampoline. 😀

    Wanted to say to you that with time your little boy WILL be ok to sit round the table with you all, you’ll get there in time and it will be all the more sweet a moment as you will have waited and practised and wished – just like with all their other little acheivements. :o)

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      My son is doing the same thing! He seems to enjoy just hanging out on it. I wonder if they like the feeling of being suspended.? I guess so, since his favorite thing at the family beach house is the hammock.

      And thanks for assuring me we will one day sit at the table. Sometimes this assurance is needed. :)

  5. Katie

    My son has just seen your photo of callum and said “aaw he looks so CUTE and happy” – high praise indeed! x

  6. karen

    First of all Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.
    Second of all your little boy is adorable and looks so happy on his trampoline. Bit like my little Man on the Scooter Santa bought him.
    Third of all your little boy will sit down with everyone else I promise you. I’ve been where you are now and I have several of the t-shirts. But it will take time. And if you don’t all sit down together at Xmas dinner so what? Invite the In Laws over for tea and give everyone a paper plate with cake on. Having had a quiet dinner with just yourselves and whatever your young man likes to eat. Do what suits you & yours. Everyone else will just have to fit in. Take Care

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Absolutely! We had a much harder time with our NT 4 year old. I miscalculated how badly she wanted one item on her list and allowed her grandmother to get it for her. Which meant that it seemed to her that Santa had forgotten…

      Eek!

  7. Chandra

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    I also have a MIL who has delusions of the world revolving around her. The combination of that plus my little guy w ASD makes for some interesting holidays.
    I say, be a mama bear if you need to. And then tell us all about it :)

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Funny you say that. I wrote a post about her and it is sitting in my Drafts folder. I can’t possibly publish it. But it sits there, a little like the red button the President has for nuclear weapons. :)

  8. Sandy TIlton

    Leigh, I just love you. Had you called I would have sat there with Callum. He is a joy. Merry Christmas and I hope you and Sean are feeling better quick so you can enjoy some of your time of before school starts again.

  9. Stephanie

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks and this is my first time commenting. I have 5 children ages 13, 8 and 4.5year old girl, girl, boy triplets. The girls, in my triplet set, are both autistic, although nobody would listen to my ‘mommy gut’ until recently, which is why we are just beginning our journey. We don’t have an ‘official’ diagnosis yet, only many medical professionals saying, “Yes, we strongly believe they are both autistic BUT, let’s do more testing.” My husband and I both have very ‘old school’ families who just don’t get it, and never will. We left our Christmas celebrations early because I was going to become violent if one more person asked me, “What’s wrong with them?” How many times can you explain it. I’d rather stay home and have them happy then deal with the family BS. THEY’RE (the family) going to have to learn to fit in or they’re gonna just have to miss out on how wonderful my girls are. I’ve sat with a child at McDonald’s playland just so a mother could enjoy a meal with her NT child, I was more than happy to do it and I’d do it again. :)

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Thanks for sharing that, Stephanie. You really do have your hands full with five kids. I’m really struggling with this with one family member who just doesn’t get it. She acts like she wants to know and she does spend time with them. But she completely discounts what we tell her and then makes negative comments implying that we are somehow to blame. I have explained stimming and repetitive behaviors and SPD and autism until I am blue in the face. And then she’ll turn right around and wonder why he is doing something. It’s because he is Callum – 2 year old and autism all rolled into one adorable, loving little package! And, as she is lessening in his adoration of her, I am beginning to realize that she is losing the genuinely happy relationship she used to have with him. Callum does form attachments to people and can be very loving with who he is comfortable with. He is now resisting her, and it makes me suspect not abuse — but a lack of understanding him and acting accordingly. I worry that I will have to intervene if this continues. And how sad for him and her both.

      Thanks again. :)

  10. melissa

    my autistic son is 10. we were over parents for christmas day. usually it involves being in th rooms other people arn’t, not joining in – exactly the way you described. Nothing really horrific but usual to you and lonely. This year he opened his presents (this is because we have taught him, he still does not have anticitpation) and was sociable. In fact he has gone to the other extreme in the friendliness stakes. He makes you all sit down in special places and then sits down. Woe betide if you move!. It will come to you I am sure

  11. JenRN

    I remember the Christmas he was 7 and we lost the Risperdal in the shuffle back and forth between family visits…24 hrs later…oh, wait, maybe I mercifully blocked out the details of that one. 😉

  12. hollytrudgeon

    lol. I can totally relate. Although my son is 6 and things at the table are *slightly* better now, there are still so many nights of frustration at home, let alone at others’ houses. ((HUGS)) from a mom of 5 who understands. :) I LOVE your vow to help out another strung-out autism mom someday! I have the same one. :) Blessings!!

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