I’m not really a scrooge, but Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I much prefer Thanksgiving – a time to be with friends and family without all of the hoopla. By the time Christmas & New Year’s roll around, I’m just done.
This year, I heard some statements such as these:
“This Christmas will be wonderful for you. Your kids are at the perfect age to enjoy the magic of Christmas.”
Or, “I imagine you will be doing [this] together as a family.”
I’m not offended. I get it. Yes, it is an exciting time. But I can’t help but roll my eyes. They don’t really understand.
You see, we have a kid who is sensory sensitive. Basically, whatever any self-regulating kid feels (excitement in this case), he feels 10 times more. And the build-up of Christmas beginning after Halloween is almost too much to bear. Tantrums & silly behavior have been a constant for the month of December. The energy has been high and his engine has been revved for far too long.
So we didn’t do all of the things that other people might do. We didn’t visit Santa, we didn’t attend large parties, we didn’t overwhelm our kids with lots of gifts. In fact, we tried to tone down Christmas as much as we could.
We’ve learned to avoid crowds. At large parties, we really feel the need to hover. On Thanksgiving, we decided to let our sensory-seeking son and his boisterous cousin spread their wings a bit. This resulted in flying leaps out of a baby crib upstairs, sending shock waves through the ceiling and rocking the chandelier. So, hover we must. We hovered over to the treadmill where we witnessed our son running at a pace of 7.6 and an incline of 15. Not bad!
We had a fabulous Christmas and made lots of great memories, but we had to do it on our terms. This year, we chose calmer activities like participating in a small local Christmas pageant and viewing the lights from the comforts of our own car. We started Christmas later, by putting up our tree a few weeks into December. We also had to utilize some of the strategies that the occupational therapist taught us, including proprioceptive brushing (more on that later). I don’t think people realize that it’s really a process for us. We have to navigate and pre-plan almost everything we do. And in the end, it’s pretty exhausting for everyone involved.
Transitions are tough for lots of kids, especially for our little guy. And Christmas is full of them. So I’m glad to have the holidays behind us and look forward to embracing routine again. For a little while anyway.