Oh Christmas. A glorious, but stressful, time of year! However, when you have a child or children with special needs it can be a different kind of stress. Shopping, cooking, preparing for family and making sure your work is done is nothing. Going off schedule, the anxiety of gifts, seeing favorite cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents can be more than their little hearts and heads can bear. The sensory overload, meltdown’s and regression happens 10 fold and can cause Mommy and/or Daddy to want to curl up and cry. I’ll give some top moments from our Christmas at the end, but here is a little background.
This time last year “Fire Ready Aim” was recovering from surgery to improve his sleep and I had type B flu and was quarantined in my room…literally. FRA was really struggling as he was pushed out of yet another school for the second time in 3 months and our sweet babysitter turned into a nanny running a “home school” from our living room. She experienced the pain of seeing our boy be made fun of by kids, being shunned by other families and even being screamed at by an adult at a public park. He knew the schools called him bad as the kids constantly reminded him. To this day, when we drive past one of the schools he will say “I had to leave there because I’m bad” and I usually drop whatever I’m doing to make sure he understands it wasn’t his fault and that it led us to the RIGHT schools.
This season was much better. Recovering from surgery hasn’t been a breeze, but Amazon and my husband helped to make it a little easier. It was also smidgen better since FRA has improved his social expressive speech so at least after a fit he can let us know what it was about and we can try to work it out. We didn’t put any gifts under the tree…the anxiety caused by the unknown was more than he could bear. We didn’t push the “Santa is watching” message, because the literal interpretation for him is scary. We were able to keep more days on schedule because of our amazing school and wonderful ABA therapist. And now that I have various online support groups/resources like these, I am able to get tips from parents that help our son and us. As parents, we have a lot of room for improvement in 2016, but we are definitely more prepared than last year.
So here are the favorite #MusickMemories from Christmas Eve & Day 2015:
7. Daddy woke up around 4:30 AM on Christmas Eve to make sure that our kids could see the Santa at Northpark Mall in Dallas, TX, which is a big deal! It’s become tradition and the pictures are worth every minute, even though the stress of dolling up the kids and praying they don’t destroy their outfits can put you over the edge.
6. FRA telling Santa that he would make him a sandwich. Santa asked him why no cookies to which he replied “Because sandwiches are delicious!” Being a budding fashionista who loves accessories, he then questioned his belt and other accessories.
5. Queen Kong not being scared of Santa and telling him she wanted a kitty.
4. Our extended family loving on our babies a little harder this year knowing they survived a tough one.
3. The addition of two super cute kittens that are in danger of being loved to bits. One of them has super patience and has become the Queen’s baby and has allowed her to push her around in her shopping cart.
2. FRA cuddling up to me tonight and letting me know in 5 year old terms how grateful he is and how much he loves us.
1.And FRA took first place during Christmas Eve service. Recently, he learned about Hanukkah which opened up the conversation about the difference between Jewish and Christian beliefs. I found a book with a CD we got from church that focused on Easter. He listens to it over and over, every night and we have discussed it in detail. When he has interest in a subject he will question you until he is satisfied you have told him EVERYTHING. My nephews were sitting in the pew in front of us and FRA announces loudly “Did you know Jesus got screwed?!?” They all bent over laughing into their hands which further confused him. Being worried he would yell it again, I whipped out my phone and googled “crucifix” and quietly explained why they call it crucifixion and not getting screwed to the cross. God bless him. He even took his first communion and prayed to God to let him know he loved him.
I hope you had the little moments that make it all worth it. Let’s start seeing some comments! #WorkingMoms – how do you make it easier this time of year? #SpecialNeedsParents – how do you reduce the stress and help prep your child for success during holidays? #CancerMoms – I hope you had all the support you needed during the holidays. Let others know what was or could have been helpful so that those supporting a friend or family member can do the little things that help. Much like our fireplace, our year and holiday season wasn’t perfection, but it was definitely progress. It takes putting it down in this blog to see that, so tonight I will count my blessings.
Now go to bed – the mess will be there tomorrow….