There is some level of excitement, buried under the worry for Gabriel, and for me. That excitement has to do with what comes after the holidays; time off and new toys.
So, for our family, we have official made it to the other side.
That said, Christmas actually went really well for us.
We woke up Christmas Eve morning, to Nicholas in our room. Par for the course.
He walked up to my husband, leaned over and gave him a huge hug, "Daddy! I knew you'd stay home for the holidays." He beamed at my husband. I guess he thought Jeff would go to work? Probably--so let's not tell Nick that Jeff technically was working from home that day. : )
We had a lot of extended family at our house for Christmas Eve dinner. Normally we would've been at my mom's house, but with the added guests, it only made sense to have it here where there is just more space.
And for Gabriel, when he hits sensory overload, which I know he will at least once, there is a safe place for him to go: his room.
Christmas Eve dinner was loud, fun, full of champagne and everyone talking enthusiastically over each other. Add another 3 kids under five and the house was busy to say the least.
But Gabriel didn't meltdown. Not once.
I was surprised. PLEASANTLY surprised.
I sometimes am afraid to think it, but maybe this is what I have always been told, and actually preach too, "Things get better."
Gabriel used his coping mechanisms, and the family that was here has no issues accepting Gabriel for who he is. Actually, my brother teaches special education at the high school level in California. So, theoretically, he knows a little something about what is going on with Gabriel.
Dinner was great, and we had too much dessert. But, the boys climbed in their matching jammas (a tradition since they were born, passed on from the fact that my mother bought me new jammas every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember), their dad read the traditional bed time story of T'was The Night Before Christmas, and they happily went to bed.
Christmas morning was good.
Gabriel was actually excited--an emotion that is always clouded by anxiety--but not this year.
His smile reached from ear to ear and he was READY to go downstairs to examine his new found treasures.
We had to wake Matthew up at nearly 9am. Which was only minutes after Gabriel woke. Of course Nick had been up much earlier, but hung out early Christmas morning in bed with Jeff and I watching Christmas cartoons on TV.
It was, dare I say it, relaxing.
After we ripped through everything, including the great stocking stuffers that were a huge hit this year: water weenies, mad libs, plastic recorders, teddy grahams (which they immediately ate, and shared with the dogs), bath toys (like loofahs, only with Santas), and a few extra things--like "Red" the firetruck from the movie Cars for Matthew that Jeff had to buy off eBay. LOL
We played with everything.
We cleaned everything up, into laret plastic bins, one for each kid (I highly suggest that for you next year), and they took everything to their own room before their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents came back. Taking their new "specail" things to their rooms gave them ownership and control over them--no little cousins would touch, ruin, break, move or even look at them wrong. Big anxiety reducer!
When the extended family arrived, Gabriel was calm--still in his adorable orange snowman jamma pants. He opened some more presents, and then retired to his room to play.
Truth be told, he spent a lot of time upstairs--building. Building with my brother, building with his Papa, and just building alone. He was self-regulating. Too many people downstairs meant that he was safe upstairs. And if anyone entered his room, I quickly reminded them that Gabriel's room isn't a place to play.
Gabriel didn't meltdown at all on Christmas. A first for him. For us. A first.
Now, things weren't exactly perfect here---he definitely had some bouts of frustration that were larger than typical, but for Gabriel, this was the perfect holiday.
And for me too. Heck, for the entire family.
Now, the big question, is what in god's green earth am I going to do with him for another week? LOL Hopefully Santa's genius plan of buying toys that Nick, Gabe and Matt could play with together will keep them busy throughout the week.
Otherwise, assume I will be blogging a much different post in a few days. *sigh*
Until then, I have reason to believe that some day soon the holiday season will not be met with anxiety and interpretation on my part--or Gabriel's.
Here is to the holidays being over,