Christmas time is upon us and I am so excited this year. Last year I just wanted Christmas to be over and done with and couldn’t wait to get the decorations away which is so unlike me. I’m so glad this year I am back to full Christmas love & excitement.
Christmas decorating and Christmas time in general is a little different in our house than it would be in most households. Dylan doesn’t cope well with change, for example I took one thing out of the living room to make room for a bit of Christmas and he has dragged it back in very single day since. We decorate slowly and the tree goes up last. This year we will be putting the tree up on the 16th, plenty of time to enjoy it before Christmas but not too long that all the decorations being taken off and lined up and sorted into colour several times a day wont drive me so mad that I want to take it down.
After Dylans birthday on the 9th I’m going to slowly start to add little Christmas bits around the house so that it is slowly changing rather than all of a sudden his safe space is completely different. I know he is going to love all the lights on the tree, but his love for collecting and lining up things that are the same he will just be in overdrive all the time.
We have a lovely little Elf in our house called Max, Amellia totally adores him. We have a pretty lovely elf in our house who doesn’t do all that much to be honest. He moves around and leaves little notes of encouragement. On the weekends he will leave some small gifts which are generally arts & crafts related to Christmas like paint your own decorations, santa letter kits and things like that. Dylan does not understand the Elf malarkey but it is loads of fun for Amellia.
Advent calendars are done different in our house as well, because lets face it give a number obsessed kiddo something with numbers all jumbled up on, he’s gonna open all the doors in the right order in one day and get very distressed if he cant. I open his for him and then give him the item from the advent calendar, this year we got him a playmobil 123 one as he is loving it at the moment! Every morning when I have given him a piece that has come in the calendar though he looks at me like I’m mad and goes and puts it away in the box with the rest of the playmobil and then carries on with his morning. I think when the 25th comes and I don’t give him a bit of playmobil to put away he is going be so confused about why this new morning ritual has changed but we couldn’t let him go without an advent calendar!
Both the kiddos Christmas plays are coming up and I really can’t wait to see them both. Amellia is all bizz because she is singing at the very start of hers and has been singing the song constantly for the past few weeks, I must say she does have a simply wonderful singing voice. Dylans will be adorable just seeing them all together and hopefully taking part in a little sing a long to a few good old Christmas songs. Amellia is really excited as she is coming along to see his too, it’s on her last day of school so she wont miss anything at all as we all know that is a day just full of chaos!
Hope you are all enjoying getting in the Christmas spirit and your kids are enjoying it too, even if it is in a different way to how you used to enjoy Christmas.
Something happened yesterday with Dylan that hasn’t ever happened before.
We are used to his meltdowns. During a meltdown he screams, hits himself, throws himself at the floor, bangs his head off the wall, lashes out at us or anyone around him along with many other things he does during a meltdown.
Generally I can tell when a meltdown is coming on and will try to get him to relax with some deep pressure massage, distraction with colouring, his iPad or turning the lights off and using his star light that he has that projects stars onto the roof.
Yes they are very tough to deal with, but I suppose in a way I have grown a thicker skin to these.
They are not fun to deal with, and when he is in bed or once he has settled and is fine I will have a cry. They are emotionally and mentally exhausting, sometimes physically too when you have to restrain him from hurting himself or others around him.
Yesterday though Dylan had a shutdown. This is something that I have never been aware of, or heard of until it happened.
Dylan & myself were happily playing, I stood up to get a drink and he happily carried on playing then about 1 minute later he burst into tears.. he was crying like he had really hurt himself.
I quickly went back to him and picked him up and checked him over to see if he was hurt anywhere (a really tough thing about him having no communication skills or verbalization is that if he is hurt etc he can’t tell or show you) He buried his head into my chest and was clinging to me, I sat down on the sofa to which he normally rejects and makes you stand up to sooth him, but he just buried his head in harder. I talked calmly to him and tried to lift him away from me too look at him and distract him. This was not going to happen. He is pretty strong when he wants to be!
I took his clothes off incase he was too warm, or a label had been annoying him all day, but still he refused to look at me, or to be moved away from my chest.
I went and got a blanket and put over him to ensure he didn’t get cold and he pulled it over his face and then grabbed my arms into it and pulled them around him to hold him close. This is something he hasn’t ever done before.
I tried a few times at the start to sit him up and interact with him, but he got very distraught by these attempts so I stopped.
I held him close, while he snuggled in with his eyes tightly shut from the world, and I cried.
I felt so helpless, so useless, like I had failed him, how had I not spotted that things had got so tough that he had to shut down, hide away from it all.
I hated this cruel world, autism, my ability to not read his mind, not knowing how to help my son, it’s an awful gut wrenching feeling. A feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Thinking about how useless I felt and was then is putting tears in my eyes again now.
He sat with his head buried into me with no response, no babbling or anything at all for an hour and a half. He then responded a little and would get up and go for a short walk but then would be straight back to me, with his head hidden from the world.
It then took about another 30-45 mins till he was back to his usual self.
There was no warning signs, nothing out of the ordinary happened, he seemed very content before hand, no triggers that I can think of, nothing I am aware of that upset him.
I’m stuck wondering what made it happen, desperately wanting to prevent it from happening again, but with no clue how.