Yep, I’m a little behind. But such is life around the holidays, so here I am to make up for it.
Christmas has been a fun adventure around here. We actually got to have a pretty quiet day on Christmas itself, just our “little” family, nowhere to go, no rush to open presents, no timeline to worry about. The kids were, of course, very excited, but not over the top. They even let us sleep in until almost 7:30! Santa brought all the right presents, Mom and Dad did pretty good too, and everyone was very happy.
The next morning we left early to head to family in Michigan. A little more excitement, lots of cousins and fun, and a few good meltdowns. It’s inevitable in this situation…cousins don’t play quite right, or siblings get in the way of cousin fun…it just wouldn’t be a family gathering without a little fuss, but overall I think the kids did very well. Our two big concerns with Christmas parties are Booga losing his “gentleness” control and Squirt falling apart when it’s time to go home (the worst transition of all). I think Booga did pretty well, although he did have trouble leaving the new puppy alone, and Squirt managed to leave with only tears, and not a complete meltdown, so I’m going to go with progress and be happy about it.
The second day in Michigan we went to a movie with 9 cousins…Movies are great, and typically ok for the kids, (we’ve tried to avoid 3D so far, as I think that would be too much stimuli) but with all the added holiday hoopla, and the fact that it was an excited animated film, it was a little overwhelming for Booga. He did well for most of it, switching seats once to sit with his Papa, staying (mostly) quiet, but at one point he did wander down close and try to touch the screen. Oh well, at least it was a kid’s movie and no one really cared, right?
The day we got home from Michigan we had a package waiting for us that I admit I was more than a little excited about…Booga got a new “hug”! We decided to order him a weighted compression vest, that we’ve been talking about for awhile, but didn’t really want to spend the money on. Thanks to Swagbucks and Amazon, I was able to get it for less than half price! So we spent the next couple days getting him used to wearing it for short periods a day, calling it his “hug” and his “police vest”. He seemed ok with wearing it, but didn’t want it on for long, and has little tolerance for the weights pushing on him.
On our next trip to Michigan (3 days later), we went straight to an extended family gathering, where we got a chance to try out the “hug”. I had him wear it right away for a little while, because it was a room full of sensory input, with lots of kids and people and noise. He was less than impressed, but I did notice that he calmed down faster. We took it off for dinner, he seemed to be ok, then present time began. This set Booga off into what I like to call “spin cycle”…switching from spinning to running to break dancing, all while being VERY loud. Back on went the vest (minus weights, since he complained about them) but definitely under protest. That’s a hard call; I want to use it for his good, and not have it seem like a punishment, but I also want him to get used to wearing it when I know he needs it, even if he doesn’t want too…I guess that will just have to take some adjustment. It did seem to help, but it was still a struggle to keep him from trying to take it off every five minutes. Hopefully this will get better with time.
The rest of the weekend was filled with cousin time and Christmas, and everyone seemed to deal with it very well…We even left with a minimum of tears, so I’m calling it a big success! All in all we had a great, stretched out holiday, the kids didn’t get too burned out, and we learned a little more about how to deal with sensory issues. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never stop learning how little things like too much gravy on the turkey can bring an end to a peaceful Christmas, but every day we get a little closer to helping them cope!