Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our Little Family's Christmas and Hanukkah

Disclaimer:  I just feel like I should start this post with a brief disclaimer.  
We are an interfaith family.  I am Jewish.  Mike was raised Catholic.  We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.  We light candles on our Menorah, and we have a Christmas tree.  There.  I said it.  No need to question what we do or how we celebrate any further.  Just like dealing with Autism, it works for us and our family.  Thank you!

Mike and I were discussing our various Christmases together. There was the one we were stuck in Philly.  The one where we all got strep throat.  The one where we all got the flu.  The one where we had Xmas dinner at Hooters before we left on a family cruise.  And of course, the many with Mike's family in upstate New York.  We realized this was our fifth with Jonathan.  The second in our house.  And this year, it was just our little family, which was great.


The day started out with a bang.  My friend and co-worker agreed to stop by dressed as Santa.  I left a gift out for him to give to Jonathan.  He rang the doorbell, and Jonathan greeted him at the door.  He reacted just the way I thought he would....huge smile, and took off running and flapping.  He knew it was Santa and was very excited to see him.  We got a few pictures.  And then Jonathan retreated to his iPad, to which "Santa" oversaw, and snapped a few pics. Our friend just let Jonathan be Jonathan, without judgment or issue.  I'm so glad Jonathan was able to see Santa without all the noise of going to the mall, fighting the traffic, etc.  We just felt so glad our friend was able to do this for us.  It was really so sweet.  
Santa and the Farley boys.  Look at Jonathan.  He looks so giddy.

Pepper had to get in on the Santa action.

Santa checking out the iPad.
The rest of the day was spent wrapping, last minute gift shopping, cooking and baking.
If you noticed in the pics, Jonathan does have a cold, so he is still a bit under the weather.  It really is a good thing we didn't do much.

The day started out with me getting yelled at.  "No Potty!"  We had a bit of a rough transition today.  Maybe it was because we were not having a "normal" morning.  But once he got settled in with iPad, he was fine.  Mike and I were able to enjoy some coffee, and I had to step back and expectations.  I had a brief moment were I felt sorry for myself that my son was not going to run down the stairs on Christmas morning, anxious to see what Santa brought...having to rip into every gift right.this.very.second.  In fact, it was quiet the opposite. 
Yes, those are all gifts for him.  And yes, he could care less.

But leave it to our cat to be the comic relief I needed to snap me out of feeling sad.  She finally climbed that tree, right before we started opening our gifts.  It was HILARIOUS!

"Gotta get that red ball...right...there."

"What?  Can't I be cute in this tree here?"
So Mike and I realized, if we were gonna get this kid to open any gifts, we had to do it on his terms.  We set the timer to 5 minutes.  When the timer went off, we would bring a gift to him to open.  That way, if he opened it and wanted to play with it, he could.  Or he could open and go run off and play iPad.  But once we got going, he totally forgot the iPad and started enjoying the generous gifts given to him. 

We still had to set the timer to every 5 minutes.  But that was OK.  Mike and I took our time, enjoyed the morning.  Opened our gifts, and had some good laughs.  It was awesome to see Jonathan excited about things.  He would grab the gift, and take off, usually to the kitchen area.  And this is how it went all day.
Thomas puzzle.  A must open now, please.

Reading his Handy Manny books
The rest of the day was pretty chill.  We watched "A Very Handy Holiday" and "Flicker Saves Christmas" thanks to Handy Manny.  And "Caillou Christmas" too.  We played more iPad. Enjoyed the new tent we got him, however, I think the cat liked to tent more than Jonathan. 

Jonathan was very cuddly and lovey today too.  Mike put it best...Jonathan's most favorite days are the ones where we are just with him.  And that is what we did today.

And don't forget about Hanukkah!
We've been lighting the Menorah every night.  So while I was getting the candles prepped for tonight's lighting, I heard Jonathan start singing to himself.  I realized, he was singing the tunes of the prayers we sing when lighting the Menorah.  Sure enough, that is what he was doing!  He got a few words, the rest was pretty garbled / made-up.  But it was in the right tune and intonation as the prayers. Just made me feel good to know that he is paying attention and is with us, even if he doesn't always seem like it, when we do these sort of things.

So all in all, a really nice holiday.  We certainly missed our families.  But this holiday served as a great reminder to us (or at least me)...we have our little family.  We may have to do things a little different.  But we keep doing it, knowing our boy is with us and will remember these holidays too.

Happy Holidays to all!

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