So we decided to put our Christmas tree and decorations up today – before any of you starts shouting expletives at me and moaning that it’s too early just give me chance to explain! Yes I know it is still November, Yes I know that my friends over the pond are celebrating Thanksgiving and Yes I know that to many people I will look crazy but what I also know is that Christmas is the hardest time of year for my children and that I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME!!!
Not only do Danny, Poppy and Milly have the excitement of Christmas that every other child experiences they also have to try and cope with so many changes and so much stress. There’s the Christmas decorations going up, which changes how they are used to the house looking. There’s the school trips and fun days that the school try and cram into December – off the top of my head my kids have a panto, a farm trip, an ‘odd socks man’ coming into school (I really have no idea who or what this man is but I’m hoping, for the kids sake, that it is more than just a man wearing odd socks!!!), Christmas dinner (they usually take a packed lunch), a Christmas fete and more than likely toy day and non uniform day. On top of all that disruption you need to add into the mix school holidays, a man coming into the house (we’re talking about Santa, believe it or not this can terrify some children) and the dreaded school Christmas concert!!!
Just one of these things is hard enough for the kids to cope with, but when you put them all together it’s a month filled with sleepless nights, stimming and melt downs. (How lucky are we, hey?!)
Even though (as many people will point out when they see my tree up) it’s only November the nightmare has already begun. The Christmas concert rehearsals have been going on for the last week or two and while Poppy seems to be coping with this (she loves the limelight and is a complete and utter diva) Milly and Danny have been really struggling. Milly is back to being grumpy and whinging over every little thing, going into meltdown mode at the drop of a hat. Her sleeping pattern has really suffered too, she’s getting closer to the days before melatonin which is hard knowing how far we’ve come and how hard we’ve worked to get her sleeping without melatonin. She’s taking ages to go to sleep (keeping the other two awake in the process) and then waking repeatedly throughout the night and getting up ridiculously early in the morning (5.30 this morning)! Danny is also extremely on edge, with any little thing pushing him over the edge into tears and full blown meltdowns. His sensory issues are in overdrive too with the smallest of sounds hurting his ears and anything touching him either irritating him tremendously or causing him physical pain.
Oh and then there’s the stimming. Because he manages to hold all the stress in throughout the school day he comes home and needs to release it – unfortunately this means he is unable to sit still or quietly. If he’s not rocking, or flapping or spinning or rolling he’s humming, tapping, blowing or making silly noises (his favourite seems to be a helicopter noise). I know he can’t help it and I know he needs to do it to help himself but I’m one of those people who can’t be around a fidgeter as it drives me crazy! The only time he seems to have a break from his stimming is the short time he has after school on the ipad, I don’t know what it is about computers but they seem to really chill him out when he’s stressed or upset, he’ll sit watching videos on you tube about minecraft (I really don’t know what it is about autistic children and minecraft but so many of them seem to use it as a kind of self therapy to relax them) and not move or make a noise once.
Anyway, the point is, this time of year is hard for my children and so many others, so if putting my decorations up a little earlier helps the transition to Christmas and helps them prepare themselves for the most stressful month of their lives then I’m going to do it! Plus, besides anything it’s the most magical time of the year and they’re only young once so what’s wrong with making it last that little bit longer? We all know how quickly they seem to grow up so I might as well enjoy it while I can because before I know it, they’ll be grown up and leaving home 😦
And for those of you that are so against decorations and trees in November I have one thing to say to you…