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.