Christmas 2014 was a bit of a game changer in our household, yes we had done the list and checked in twice – Cameron had been both naughty and nice but this was the year that he seemed so much more understanding of Christmas.
We had mastered the one a day of the advent calendar; well almost, he had mine and Daddy’s too!!
I was really excited to have the family time at home off work and in addition to everything that my son had asked for I picked up some surprises along the way and couldn’t wait for Christmas morning.
Now I don’t know if any other ASD families are the same but Cameron doesn’t realise when those special days arrive, he’s the same with his birthday.
So Dad and I were awake in bed with a cup of coffee and the TV turned up a little loud to disturb him to wake him up as we were the excited kids.
Cameron woke up, went to the toilet and got back in bed.
I said good morning waiting for the realisation to come but it didn’t.
I said Baby what day is it today?”; that’s all it took, he came bounding in and asked could we go downstairs and see if Santa had been.
So he opened his presents; one by one, he was in amazement and so far everything had be exactly what he asked for UNTIL - he got to a present that I'd picked up along the way thinking he would like it:
“Errmmmm Mum, what’s this? I didn’t ask for that.”
With that the present was discarded to the side, I was a little furious and looked at my husband who just shook his head.
Throughout the day Cameron received more presents and luckily when he had also told family members that he had not asked for their presents, they were not fazed.
I asked Cameron had he received everything he wanted and he said no, very matter of fact as many autistic children are – we all know as a parent that’s not easy to hear and I asked what was missing...
"A bike." he said.
I used this as a learning opportunity and said to Cameron “Well baby you mustn’t have been good ALL of the year, there have been times when you have got into trouble and remember today you may have hurt people feelings telling them they got you presents you did not ask for!”
He said sorry but again reiterated that he hadn’t asked for those things and didn’t want them.
So another year on; preparation for Christmas 2015, the obligatory Christmas list is done and this year I stuck to the list.
Family asked what he wanted and I told them some of the items, and at the end of this Christmas day he said “It was the best Christmas ever mum – I got exactly everything I wanted”.
Victory, so much simpler!
Fast-forward to today – always one for a challenge, this year we are Christmas listless.
There has been no list and I have told Cameron that Santa has been listening to what he has been asking for but that he may get presents that are surprises that he may not have thought of.
I’ll let you know how this pans out, I suppose I’m just trying with each passing year as he gets older and starts to understand more to push his boundaries and help him face new challenges to prepare him for the future where he will be faced with many instances of satisfaction but also disappointment.
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