Friday, December 28, 2012

Low-key Holidays

Our holidays have been filled with so many small and wonderful moments that I am hard-pressed to pick my favorites. Everyone has had such a wonderful time that I am recommitting to NOT traveling for the December holidays yet again. I missed seeing my mom and brother but things go so much better when fewer people are around. Except for my sister and niece, and our neighbor A. we spent most of this month by ourselves enjoying simple pleasures like Christmas music blaring, reading Christmas stories, making and delivering holiday fudge, doing Christmas crafts, and watching holiday movies, including our kids' and C.'s first screening of "It's a Wonderful Life" which will now become a tradition. I could get used to this. The only thing missing from our lives, especially at this time of year, is church. C. and I both grew up going to church and we have yet to find a church "home" here in TX.

A few years ago we started using an activity based advent calendar that has totally enriched our lives. Each day leading up to Christmas, one of the children pulls out the slip of paper for the day and tells us what "fun" thing we will do that day. The activities range from individual (i.e. everyone has to write a note to someone sharing a compliment or two, have dessert for breakfast, etc.) to group (i.e. read a Christmas story, watch a movie, family game night, sing Christmas carols, etc.) to doing something for others (i.e. make ornaments and deliver to friends/neighbors, do a chore anonymously for someone, etc.) The kids LOVE this tradition and look forward to this each year. It also keeps the focus on family and doing thing together and has become one of their favorite aspects of the holidays.

This is Tortuga's major trauma-versary time and usually we are held captive by his moods. This year we did a good deal of preparation for this by tightening his routines, adding more structure to his routines/expectations (while having less structure overall,) increasing his "alone" time after "fun" time, and talking more about what he was expected to do and what would happen if he couldn't hold it together. We also committed to not having the other kids miss out no matter what mood we were in and what he did. So we entered the holidays holding our breath a little but committed to making this fun for everyone (without canceling any plans because of his behaviors) and making it as low stress as possible.

So far this has worked pretty well. He did not have a single major meltdown. We complimented him on holding it together. We rewarded him. The first meltdown was last night as wrapped up our celebration of C.'s birthday. I call this a win for all of us. We still have a ways to go since this traumaversary time lasts until mid February for him but so far so good.  Hopefully, I am not jinxing this now. :-)

1 comment:

GB's Mom said...

We found that a no travel, stay at home holiday worked better for us, too. Happy New Year!

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