Oh, the holidays. Most people love the holidays. Me, not so much. I’ve never been a big fan. When I had kids, I resigned myself to having to celebrate them. And it hasn’t been bad. The kids enjoy the celebrations, the decorations and really get into the spirit of the holidays. And I try, every year, I try. But since having Aiden, it’s been progressively more difficult.
I don’t know if it’s the break in routine or over stimulation, but Aiden is generally a maniac around the holidays. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. He’s hard to control and prone to more fits and sonic meltdowns. His younger brother Devin, who think Aiden is his god, is generally the victim of most of the rages. When it’s quiet they are best buds, but when Aiden gets a bee in his britches, Devin needs to take cover. It’s not fair and terribly upsetting. Devin just goes back for more. He is fiercely loyal to his older brother. As mom, of course this is incredibly endearing. I’m proud of what a good relationship they have and that Aiden doesn’t scare him off. But as DEVIN’S mom, it makes me sad and protective. Needless to say, the little bit of fun I started to have around the holidays is no longer.
Thanksgiving this year was particularly difficult. Weeks ago, when my sister told me that she was making plans with her husband’s family this year, I breathed a sigh of relief. I love my sister and I love seeing her family, but the added chaos is sometimes just difficult. I know she understands but I feel like Aiden’s antics just ruins the party for everyone. In actuality, since I would love for these times to be filled with fun memories for my other two children, there is a part of me that wishes I could take Aiden to a hotel room for the night until things return to normal the next day. But that’s not fair to Aiden either. He does enjoy the holidays, he just can’t help his reaction to certain stimuli.
This year, we kept is simple. Turkey breast, broccoli cheese soup, stuffing, homemade biscuits and store bought dessert. Of course, I had to make a separate meal of broiled hamburgers and french fries for Aiden, which is the only surefire meal he will eat these days. So even though it was a simple enough meal, it still meant 5 hours in the kitchen. The entire day was filled with “time ins” for Aiden (we don’t call them time outs, we have time ins, where we go to his safe room…my room…away from everyone where I sit with him until he calms down). He fought with his brother, sister, dad and Auntie all day. By the time we sat down for dinner we were all frazzled and tired. He kept it up at meal time, culminating in me having a time in with him and skipping dinner. Not that it was that bad; I am trying to avoid over indulgence because of this diet I’m on in preparation for my husband’s Christmas party. But I was upset. I had cooked all day only to have the actual dinner ruined. But I can’t blame Aiden. He just can’t help it.
Dessert never happened. By that time in, I was pretty much done for the day. I was able to come out for about an hour for a cup of coffee and a Xanax, but I wound up going back in there to get him to sleep. Auntie and my husband got the other kids down to bed. And that was that.
Pretty depressing. So Monday, when I’m getting the “how was your thanksgiving” questions, I will just have to use my stock response “good, how was yours” and hear about all the wonderful family celebrations that I am pretty sure for now, my family won’t be having.
And I have to do this all over again, times 2, in a month on Christmas Eve/Day.
Aiden is young. I’m hoping that with time and maturity and therapy, things will get better. I’m hoping my other two children don’t grow up resenting me or their brother. I’m hoping that things just get a little bit better. But for now, this is our reality. I love Aiden with every fiber of my being, but autism really sucks.