Christmas is a magical time of year. There are shining lights, parties, special food, and excitement in the air. For kids on the spectrum, it can also be a really difficult time of year. There are shining lights, parties, special food, and excitement in the air.
It’s been impossible to prep the Menininho for all the changes going on. So, he’s probably watched a little too much TV, eaten a little too much junk. There have been meltdowns, but there have been some very sweet moments too. In fact, we’ve had some real Christmas miracles around here.
Remember when I wrote about my plan to take M to see Santa? Well we went that day, after his morning therapies. The mall was almost completely empty and there was no line to see the man in red. M and I rehearsed the script a few times on the way over to the mall. When we approached Santa though, M was tentative for just a moment. “Go on,” I nudged. “Say hi.”
The Menininho took off, ran up to Santa, threw out his arms (and the script, haha), and yelled “HAND DRYERS AND TOYS!” Puzzled, Santa held out his arms for M to come close (M opted to remain at a respectful distance) and asked “Now what is it that you want for Christmas?” “HAND DRYERS AND TOOOYS!” (Oprah’s got nothing on my kid’s yelling!) Santa was sweet enough to just roll with it. “Well then. Um, how about you pick a toy out of my bag. Merry Christmas!” And M grabbed a little plastic snowman and ran back to me. “Santa gave me toy,” he told me. And a few moments later, a contented sigh and “I like Santa.”
I was so happy. Sentences that weren’t scripted. TALKING WITH A STRANGER. No mall meltdown. Pretty awesome.
On the 23rd, we drove downtown late in the evening to see the Christmas display. I wasn’t sure how M would do with the crowds and lights, but he handled it well. He didn’t want to stay long, but the half hour or so we were there he rode along in the stroller and even got out and danced for a bit to music from the band “Musicians with Autism.” It was beautiful. And hopeful.
And Christmas Eve, our family has a tradition of opening up a gift of Christmas PJs before bed. I was soooo excited for M to open his: a bright blue shirt and pants with Elmo all over. Well M was excited too! Upon opening his PJs, he yelled “Elmo!” and immediately yanked down his pants and pulled. on. the. Elmo. pants. M has never put on a pair of pants all the way before!
What about you? How was your Christmas (or Chanukah or Solstice)?
(dancing after opening his PJs)