learning experience

I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Being Vista’s parents is a work in progress and every day is a learning experience.

We’re discovering that Christmas can present a whole new set of challenges, though.

Today was ‘put up the tree and decorate it, but forget the tinsel and garland, because the cats just try to eat it anyway,  and don’t forget to put the breakable ornaments up high’ day.  The day that all kids love.  They can’t wait to help you put the ornaments on the tree and see the pretty lights all lit up.  Unless they’re kids with sensory issues.

It took less than 45 minutes for Vista to go into a complete and utter meltdown. Bright lights, the feel of the tree as she tried to put the ornaments on.  She eventually settled for placing the ornaments on top of the branches in such a way that she didn’t actually have to touch the fake needles.

We got her calmed and let her go to bed to decompress.

Then Bil and I talked while we wrapped her presents.

Giving her a bunch of presents on Christmas morning is not going to work.  The sensory overload that all the new toys and having to touch all the paper to unwrap it, and the sound of the paper ripping would cause would take us days to get her to unwind.

We discovered that last year.

It took at least 30 minutes to open each gift.  And my mid-afternoon she was completely done.

So we’ve decided to do things a bit differently this year.  It’s not the way we want to do things, but at this point we can see no other options.

Each evening in the week leading up to Christmas we’ll let her open one gift and then give her the evening to play with and enjoy it.  One new toy, hours to explore it, no pressure.

We *think* this will be enough to let everyone enjoy Christmas without the stress.

It makes us sad that these measures are even necessary.  We would love to have a normal Christmas.  To have a child who is excited Christmas morning and wakes us up at 4am to see if Santa has left her any gifts under the tree.

And maybe as she gets older and learns to manage these sensory overloads, we might be able to have that.

But until that time, holidays at our house will be the 12 days of Christmas rather than one big day of celebrations.

VistaDay1 I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

 I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

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