Autism Parenting during Holidays
Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. This will sound strange to those who have neuro-typical children, but the last few years we have been working with my son Devlin in therapy to teach him how to respond to Christmas traditions. On the one hand, our holidays are filled with a lot of the same things I assume yours are:
relatives arguing about politics, the more uninformed, the most opinionated. Often wrong, never uncertain.
competitive dessert battles between grandmothers
trying to decide whether to take zanax or smoke pot before your bigoted uncle arrives
strategizing how you can facilitate the closet smokers to take a drag clandestinely out of the judgey sight of the relatives who don’t drink but really should
children screaming to hear one more Chipmunk Christmas tune while the adults gently weep
generational thermostat guerilla warfare. Why can’t the cowboys and the farmers be friends about the temperature control in the house? It seems to me that being too hot or too cold in someone else’s house is the number one reason for holiday homicides. No one just shuts the f*ck up and deals with their individual temperature issues. That’s what Christmas sweaters with stuffed animals adorning the front or v-string tube tops are for. Has no one heard of layering? No matter that when I visit my parents in December I edge the thermostat down until they finally notice. And once they notice, I sleep with the window half open to let the stiffling heat out of my room. Can’t we all just love each other?
What I suspect your holiday does not include is trying to teach your seven year old son to be excited when opening presents or have any interest in seeing what is in his stocking. Devlin just doesn’t get what all the hoopla is about. He loves pairs of things and numbers, though. This year we are going to number his gifts to see if he gets it!
I recommend putting one of those lovely, fluffy Christmas sweaters by the front door, along with some Rudolph slippers for whomever feels the desire to mess with your thermostat. There could also be a sign reading, “Old houses are drafty, deal with it.”
Regarding Devlin’s presents, try putting jingle bells only on his presents. If he shakes and it makes music. Maybe that will be fun for him. Add that to matching the presents in the same wrapping pairs, as suggested by ev above, and that should keep him pre-occupied.
I love your recent posts. Your humor and good spirit is inspirational!!
If he likes them in pairs, number like things with the same number and have him match them to open them. Mine was the opposite, it was getting her to actually look at the item before going on to the next one and NOT opening everyone else’s stuff.
This is the first year without her home and her big boxes of presents arrived yesterday. She had to open the boxes and actually put them in her closet (the cats wanted the boxes, it was survival of the presents) and will open them while we skype,probably Saturday night so she can sleep in.
We don’t spend the night in Jersey at one of the kids houses for that reason- everything is alarmed and it’s like a sauna. I can’t sleep and usually end up in the basement on the couch down there.
My mother will be here Friday.