Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Perfect Enough for Me!

Okay, let me start by saying that I have gone waaaayyyy too long between posts. That being said, maybe we can play a little catch up? I pretty much have the entire holiday season to cover (but I'll try not to bore you!) Let's see what happens... HALLOWEEN: My youngest ("typically developing") son had been talking about this day for weeks. He had chosen both his and his brother's costumes. He would be Woody, his brother Buzz (from Toy Story). Let me also say that my autistic son had no idea what was about to happen. We had talked about it and read tons of kid's books about Halloween. We had talked about costumes and candy and trick-or-treating. But he never talked about it. I was happy for his excitement when we went to pick out pumpkins to decorate. He actually chose one that was grayish in color; I'm not even sure it was a pumpkin to tell you the truth. Maybe some kind of a gourd? And he loved decorating it with "Mr. Potato Head"-like decorations...ones that you just stick into the "pumpkin." And then the "actual day" rolled around. He let me put him in his costume, and was even excited about it! (We were very careful when we picked his costume to choose a very smooth material that was intended for pajamas.) My husband and I had planned the evening very carefully. We would take the two little boys out together. We would take our son just around to the houses in the circle, one of us would come back home with him, and the other one would take little brother out until he was ready to come in. First house...our son was very excited! He ran to the door, watched little brother knock and say trick-or-treat, copied him, and collected his candy. And so it went from house to house in our circle. When we were through with the houses on our street, we asked our son if he was ready to go home. He said no. So we made a quick decision to let him keep walking around with us and little brother a little bit longer. He made it the entire time with little brother! Yay for the first holiday of the season!!! THANKSGIVING: The big dinner was at our house this year. We knew that this could be a very overwhelming day for our son! LOTS of people. LOTS of noise. LOTS of food! Our son loved the appetizers that we laid aside especially for him before everyone arrived. He even moved a chair into the hallway and used the table in our entrance to snack on. He actually did quite well until dinner was served. He and his little brother had high chairs set up next to the grown-up table. Well, maybe he had eaten to many of those appetizers, because he did not want his dinner. After a little bit of a fuss, he settled into his high chair with the iPad. I think I've mentioned before how much I love this device!!! As in, it is Heaven-sent! It turned out to be a very nice day. Yay for the second holiday of the season! Can this luck continue? CHRISTMAS: The big one! Here we go! We decided to put up not one, but two trees this year. We were nervous, because it was the first year that our son would actually have access to the trees at all time. In our new house, we don't have a formal living room that we can gate off. So one tree went in the living room, and one in our sitting room. Both rooms are big hang-out spaces for our boys. With fingers crossed, the trees went up and the ornaments went on. Anything breakable was placed up high so that nothing could be broken easily and no one could be hurt. After the initial curiosity, the trees, for the most part, were left alone, the entire season! Wow! I really did not see that happening for many years. Our next big hurdle? Christmas morning. We knew from years past that our son did not enjoy the excitement at all. He does not have a great understanding of what or why things are happening. But, again, he very pleasantly surprised us. He ran to his stocking and started going through it. (If you want something to compare it to, check out my post from January 5, 2011.) And when it came time to open presents from family, he patiently and excitedly waited for his turn to open each present! We also had a lot of family over on Christmas and did a big gift exchange with all of the cousins. Our son ran around, a lot! But he did it with a smile on his face. Yay for the third, and final, holiday of the season!!! (We are not going to include New Year's Eve because, let's face it, my husband and I would have to be declared clinically insane if we tried to get our son to stay up until midnight to celebrate with us!) This season gave me a very important gift: the hope to look forward and feel encouraged that things are going to keep getting better and easier. The hope that everything we are doing for our son is making some kind of a difference. The hope that he will someday (maybe next year?) understand why we are celebrating and be able to anticipate (maybe even with excitement?) what will happen next. Now, don't get me wrong. Not everything went nice and smooth during this season of celebrations. Not every surprise was met by a smile. Not every visitor was greeted with a hug, or even an acknowledgement. No, it wasn't perfect, but it was perfect enough for me!

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