Our advent calendar is not made of chocolates. Honestly, it’s more of a series of obsessions and the season of meltdowns until the big days arrive. Days because we have a birthday right before Christmas. The joy! Or rather the stress, OCD, and sensory processing nightmares have begun. Bring it December, I’ve got you.
Day 1: Out came the tree, non-breakable ornaments, candy canes and stockings. I played Christmas tunes as the whining set in. The fear that our plastic tree wasn’t enough, that the decorations wouldn’t be perfect, and that everything would be ruined. Is there a name for Christmas specific phobias?
Like clockwork, the panic over scheduling birthday cake, ice skating, and yes, even New Year’s plans made an early visit. The routing. Obsessing. The holiday madness. Meltdown number two hit quickly.
Suddenly, we needed a cat. A cat named Grinch. I’m sent YouTube cat videos. There’s a power point presentation on why we need a cat. I’m asked to choose between electric or manual cat litter containers. There are debates on cats versus dogs. Cat behaviors are explained in great detail. One million reasons why cats equal happiness are given during dinner. By 7pm I hate cats. Another meltdown that lasts close to an hour.
Upon recovery, the tree is stripped of all ornaments, glittery snowflakes and candy canes. Every item is meticulously placed on the couch and counted. I watch as the tree is re-decorated into rigid perfection while Ariana Grande’s Christmas album blasts and I’m lost in her beautiful voice. There’s peace and joy throughout the house and I debate unwrapping my blingy nativity set, but then sweet baby Jesus the next wave hits.
The final meltdown of the night happened when my toddler pulls a candy cane off the tree creating an unbalanced Christmas tree equation. “The tree is ruined!” A last minute trip to Target is negotiated to purchase a toddler-free-teenage-bedroom-mini-tree. Once again, all is well in our world. We ended the night snuggled in bed as a family, watching the Grinch and embracing the month ahead.
Day 2: The day started with Christmas stress about when we will drink hot coco together as a family, how many Christmas trees are chopped down each year, when Charlie Brown’s Christmas special first aired, why we don’t have glass ornaments on the tree since we have a toddler, who we will donate toys to this year, how adopting a family for the holidays does not mean they are moving in with us, and why we can’t hang tinsel from the lights because we will burn the house down. Yes, this season brings on a lot of questions, even more anxiety, and many obsessions, but we work through it together.
Yes, Dearest December, it’s only day 3, but I got this. I’m an autism mom and this is what we do. ‘Tis the season of meltdowns, anxiety, and FaLaLaLaLaLa. Rock on fellow Mamas.
I’m off to load up on mistletoe and eggnog. I’ll need some extra kisses from Santa this month, but we will find the joy and love and happiness and spirit among all the tinsel and sparkly lights. And we will fa la la la la because at the end of the month it is all worth it. He is worth it.
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Happy Holidays from our home to yours. PEACE and LOVE.