Oh wow, It feels very alien returning back after all the Christmas festivities and new year shenanigans and by that I don't mean drinking to much of the adult juice because it was very much far from that.
As much as the children loved Christmas one off events can be equally just as hard as I am sure you're fully aware of that yourself.
I closed the shop a little earlier this year, some things have been going on (that will come to light very soon) and I just was worried that I was putting the extra stress on myself when I knew I needed to be ready for whatever may have occurred.
Because I know Christmas is such a stressful time for the boys what I tend to do is before the month of December I let them choose their own advent calendars, we start to watch movies and talk about Santa, showing them pictures and getting them familiar seems to really break the ice and take some of the pressure off, the kids are also getting older and more aware which definitely does help but also in the same sense can equally be just hard.
We then start showing them pictures of decorated trees and lights on the houses because as you know children on the spectrum do not cope well with change, transition is not easy either so if showing them pictures of houses decorated on the outside would help prevent a meltdown and make everything a tad easier for the kids then that is exactly what we have to do, and it worked!
As for decorating our own house we get all the decorations out and just leave them under the stairs, getting bits out at a time we let the kids have a play with them first, we ask then would they like to decorate a tree etc and so on. This year we decided to get a real tree, for the pure fact that we could get the kids outdoors to burn off some energy and do a whole visual countdown for getting this tree, the whole concept of getting the real tree was pretty easy for us because it allowed to children to choose the tree, they made the choice, this was their tree, they had control over this situation, it wasn't a foreign object that just randomly appeared in their living room, this was their choice and they where proud of what they had done.
The kids decorated their tree and where very proud showing it off, it was a soft tree that had a very citrus smell to it and they loved touching it and loved smelling it, it felt like the run up to Christmas had been the best yet. Christmas Day was fine apart from not wanting to eat the dinner but you know what- we expected that, Boxing Day is the day it went down hill, we went out shopping in the sales and everything went south pretty quickly but again, we expected that and we were prepared.
Preparation really is key, even if your preparing for something that isn't going to or hasn't happened, you can never be too prepared, now we are in the stages of preparing for the children to go back to school, as the saying goes, there is no rest for the wicked, but on a serious note it is very hard being a parent to children with additional needs, there is no time off, you work with what you've got and work with what you don't have and you have to make the most out it.
If all you did this Christmas was survive then I am proud of you, even if all your goals for 2020 are to get through it half sane then even better, we are all individual, we all have our limits. After taking a gap year from uni after having Matthew I am ready to return this February, I am excited, my degree means everything to me because it's something that I've done on my own with no help from anyone and that makes me feel really proud, all three books will hopefully be released by the end of the month and they will also be available via audio book! Im currently writing some more books about Dan's adventures and they are just getting better and better.
I've always said to my friend that 2020 is going to be THE year, when are we going to see the numbers like 2020 again in this life? I know where I want my family to be and I know I'm taking the steps to get there, it is not going to take 1 year to get there but I'm focusing on the marathon and not the race because Rome was not built in one day.
Have a blessed January and 2020 it was great to catch up and I cannot wait to see what everyone gets up to.
If you ever want to chat or need support you know where I am, hit me up via our contacts section or send me an email at Rachael@superherodan.co.uk