Right, I finally have time to write a blog update on our Christmas.
Tyger struggled in the days leading up to Christmas. The excitement was a bit much for him and – even more than usual – he completely lost the ability to control the volume of his voice or the noises he made. Basically, he chatted, sang, hummed, squealed, repeated words and generally verbally stimmed non-stop for the two days before Christmas. It was…trying but sweet that he was so excited.
I have a lot of Christmas traditions inherited from my family. I think, for autistic people especially, traditions around the holiday period help to give a sense of routine and familiarity to an otherwise chaotic time of year. I try not to be too rigid about any of it but I have a definite sense of how things ‘should’ be done and it’s hard to deviate too much.
One Christmas tradition is children receiving pyjamas Christmas Eve so photos from Christmas day are of them in nice, new jim-jams (I love that term and don’t use it anywhere near enough these days). I knew this might be an issue for Bear but glossed over it in my own mind. He doesn’t do well with clothing for sensory reasons and is especially averse to nightwear at the moment (he tends to sleep in just a nappy). Plus, he’s often funny about ‘new/different’ things.
The cubs received their new pyjamas from their elf Boketan (a name Tyger came up with, pronounced ‘boe-kay-tan’ and based on the name of one of Wolf’s friends). Tyger was overjoyed with his Star Wars PJs and slippers. Bear was…less enthusiastic.
Bear has a love of ‘spotty dogs’ (or dalmatians to you and I) so I got him 101 Dalmatians pyjamas (they’re ‘girls” pyjamas but I don’t really go in for such bizarre gender conformity crap). I thought the big picture of a spotty dog on the front might be enough to tempt him to try them on. It wasn’t. He cried at the very suggestion and the jammies are as yet unworn.
Luckily, Tyger was keen to partake in anything and everything Christmas so he happily put out a mince pie for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph. However, he did insist Santa would appreciate a glass of milk over some form of booze. I was not convinced but capitulated (since it seemed churlish to insist a child put alcohol out for an imaginary man in a red suit…grumble, grumble…).
Christmas morning was problematic. Tyger was…’excited’ just doesn’t cover it. He was up at 4am, which wouldn’t have been quite such a problem except Bear was ill with suspected mumps so we didn’t really want to wake him at that time. Tyger climbed into bed with us and chatted and sang and stimmed and even cried because he was so desperate to go downstairs and see the presents.
Even watching YouTube on Wolf’s phone was proving tortuous for Tyger so, at about 5am, we decided to wake Bear.
Bear’s not great with being woken up. He didn’t scream (all the mention of Christmas and presents probably helped) but he did say, whilst still drowsy and trying to snuggle into his pillow, ‘Aww, it morning time already?’ Though, my new dressing gown seemed to please him when I picked him up and he announced, ‘You so soft!’
Unfortunately, whilst I was getting Bear up and Wolf was letting the dogs out Tyger snuck downstairs by himself. One remonstration for not waiting like he was told and Tyger ran off to hide and cry so some soothing was in order before we were able to actually start the day.
After the rocky start, though, things went relatively smoothly. The cubs loved their presents. In his stocking, Tyger got the Spier-Man figure and lightsaber he was desperate for and Bear was so happy with various presents he often complained upon being given another because it meant he had to briefly stop playing.
The big reveal (we got the boys each a little electric ride-on ‘motorbike’) went down very well and have now been decorated with various stickers.
I don’t have many photos of the ‘bikes’ but if you can excuse the Christmas mess, here’s one of the cubs being super cute on Bear’s bike together.
For Christmas dinner we had spinach cannelloni with roast veg (being vegetarian) but by that time Bear was fast asleep on the sofa and Tyger doesn’t really do cooked vegetables or sauce so he had some sheets of lasagna rolled up with grated cheese, and raw carrot. He didn’t even eat the carrot, actually.
And then I lost all energy. All the build-up, all the planning, all the worrying combined with the early start and I was wrecked. So, Wolf took over all responsibilities whilst I napped on the sofa until the cubs’ bedtime.
All in all, it was a brilliant day and everyone’s thrilled with their gifts so I’m going to brand it a success.