Tag Archives: Holidays

Lessons from Fireworks

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This week was the Fourth of July.  It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything, and I’ve been feeling quite guilty about that, but I had tons of excuses.  School ended, and we needed to readjust to 4 children in the house all day every day.  And by that I mean when they are not playing baseball, softball, taekwondo, or going to horseback riding lessons or soccer camp or two rounds of therapy.  Throw in several runs to the doctor because Scooter (whose new name should just be Trouble, or maybe Monkey) has decided his little body doesn’t like milk or anything milk related, or soy, or something else that we just haven’t figured out yet.  Oh, and Mondays the kids all stay home with Dad while I work for 5 hours…seems like a perfect solution, and yet, it really adds to the craziness of our weeks.  Needless to say our summer so far has been more running than relaxing.

Now, finally, the sports are finished (except riding), Squirt has gone to camp for 5 whole days (yikes!), Boyo is enjoying a playdate, and the littles and I are enjoying a little calm time, so I decided I needed to get a post up.

On Wednesday, the Fourth of July, we had a planned a fun, family, regular-old Independence Day celebration.  We were going to go to a parade in the morning, drive to Michigan around lunch, stop along the lake with a picnic, and enjoy the fireworks with cousins in the evening.  Except it didn’t go exactly as planned.  Actually, it went nothing like we’d planned.  To start with, the heat index in the morning was hovering close to 110°.  WAY to hot to take 3 asthmatic children and 1 baby to a parade.  So we stayed home, cleaned, did some yard work, and packed up Squirt for camp.  Well, the yard work took awhile, so we didn’t actually leave home in time to picnic.  As a matter of fact, we didn’t get to Michigan before dinner, either.  Instead, we drove 3 hours with a puking puppy to get there just in time for fireworks…and then the real fun began.

See, fireworks, and SPD are NOT a great combination.  I *know* this.  Every year I *feel* this.  And every year I swear we will do something different next time.  But the memories I have of going to a big community picnic, enjoying the games, watching the parachuters drop, listening the band play the great marches and American music, and watching the fireworks as a family get me every year.  I so want them to enjoy it like I did…

So this year, we gave Booga a choice.  Grandma was staying home, and he chose (wisely!) to stay with her and watch them on tv.  That was ok, but he got sad and lonely for Mommy, and that was a first, so it made me sad, too.  Squirt really wanted to go, Boyo was excited, and it was the first year Scooter would actually see them, and I really wanted to be there to see his face.  So the rest of us set off for the fireworks.  Cue the lines of traffic that made it seem like the car wouldn’t even make it down the road, the crowd of people sitting close, laughing and talking loudly, the dark coming quickly, and the hustle to sit and watch the show.  The first firework went off and my 9-year old daughter screeched, ducked for cover, and cowered behind her father.  Her brilliant aunt (I know better, I really do, but Aunt Sue to the rescue!!) offered her ear muffs, which she put on quickly, but continued to cower until she was forced to move over, where she promptly buried her head in Daddy’s lap and stayed that way until she fell asleep.

Boyo, to be fair, fully enjoyed the whole show (which was pretty long), but he would have liked to have his own ear muffs.  I’m online looking as I type. ☺  Scooter was ok for the first couple fireworks, then started to cry.  I took him a little away, got under a tree, and held his ears.  This seemed to do the trick, because he was perfectly happy to watch, point, and occasionally look up to say “oooooh!”  But while standing under the tree, I saw myself in those fireworks.  We have been so busy this summer that it is half over and I’m wondering when it started.  There is so much pressure building up, just to get lit, fly up and explode, and it’s over.  We are exploding here.  That’s not to say we’re not enjoying it, just like the fireworks are beautiful for a moment, but it’s gone so quickly, and we are having our quick bits of fun, but there is just so much running around, lighting fires, starting more and more, and then what?

A friend of mine has called this summer with her children The Summer of Yes.  Whatever they want to do, no matter how crazy or silly, they are going to do together.  They’ve been having all sorts of fun and I almost decided to do the same thing, but I’ve decided that next year we are going to have the Summer of No.  No, we aren’t going to be in 4 sports at the same time.  No, we are not going to schedule so much in so little time.  No, we are not going to stretch ourselves so thin that we don’t remember how to have fun.  No, we don’t have to go to parades and fireworks.  Just no.  And maybe instead, we’ll find a beautiful sunset…the kind that lasts for hours, and can’t be recreated by men with explosives.  The kind that we’ll remember forever.

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Merry Christmas!

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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!