Today was the herd’s first day back at school. Can this momma get an amen??!!!! I love my children, and definitely love my time with them. But…I need my house back. My to-do list covers most of a large white board. It’s daunting, hanging there on the wall above my computer. Things I’ve been putting off while slugging my way through the Holidays can no longer be avoided. And I must take advantage of the current level of motivation. You know most of that will be gone by next week.
How did we do? How did break go? We had some ultimate highs, and some pretty low lows. All three kids got sick, thankfully the boys not as bad as the Princess (flu shots, even when not containing the correct strain, will help). ASD kiddos do not do well without structure and routine. I still filled in the calendar on his board outside his room, so he knew what was coming. But break is just that….a break from the norm, a break from routine. There’s no homework, no lunches to pack, no morning rush to get out the door. He was in great form the first few days. He took that new friend I mentioned to see the new Hobbit movie. He went to that friend’s house to hang out a couple days before Christmas. Then Christmas Eve hit. His anxiety shot through the roof. He could not settle. By 9am, he’d had his first meltdown, sure he was only going to get coal in his stocking. My poor baby. The build-up of the holiday got to him. Waiting for Santa, waiting for presents, enduring this event, that event….waiting is really not his thing. Plus the thought of someone (aka Santa) being in his house while he slept….while he couldn’t verbalize it, I know that gives him stress.
He tried going to bed before 8. He was back downstairs again quickly. We sent all three to bed about 9:30. I do think he actually slept for a little bit – we were checking so we could complete Santa duties – but outside of maybe an hour nap, he was up until 3am. We tried everything. He came in our bed. I laid in his bed with him for awhile. I read to him. We did our breathing. We focused on happy thoughts and happy places. Nada. Nothing. Nothing but tears, anxiety, and exhaustion. He did finally crash, but was up again at 5:41, asking us every five minutes if he could please wake his siblings and have his stocking now. We held out until 6:30. It was useless to fight it anymore. He was so excited with most of his gifts, especially the plushies, and the two big Lego sets he got. He even gave a smile when he opened his Angry Birds onesie jammies (typically any article of clothing gets a sharp frown from him and is quickly tossed aside). I knew we were in for it though. The exhaustion would catch up with him. Being around people later in the day would certainly push him over the edge. He did a little better than expected, but the rudeness, the meltdowns, the anger reared their ugly heads. It was just too much to ask of him.
Normally, we either leave the day after Christmas to go see my family in Northern California, or wait for them to arrive that day. This year, things were different and we would be traveling a few days later than usual. He wanted his time with his cousins, desperately. Logically, he knew what was going on and why, but it wasn’t normal, and therefore very frustrating to him. When we did finally head north, he was excited. He loves staying in a hotel. And he was going to get some time with his cousins. That’s pretty much where the excitement ended. He had to sit through things he had no desire to sit through. He had to dress up in an uncomfortable suit. He had to eat in restaurants unfamiliar to him, and which didn’t serve chicken strips (sacrilege!). We had a couple of pretty horrible episodes. And as we were getting ready to come back home, he ran off, hiding in the hotel. I won’t call it a win at this point, although there was some good moments.
So Christmas Break for this year is over. We survived. We did have very nice Holidays, and hope you did as well. Our break was as our life is…..messy, loud, anxious, sometimes tearful, but always full of love.