Today has been one of those days were nothing seems to go right and all my best efforts fall short. I used to love the holidays. I loved getting together with friends and family. Honestly, anymore, it’s just easier to avoid them all together. The boys just don’t handle them well and the fallout that occurs afterwards far out weighs the pleasure of a nice visit with family.
Today was no exception. We decided to go to Easter dinner with my family. By the time we left to go Emmett was already back form Lizze’s parents house. So he did actually accompany to dinner which was really nice. Typically the way it works for my family is if they plan dinner for say, 3pm then we will be eating around 4 or 5pm. Things happen and it’s no ones fault and usually wouldn’t be a big deal. The problem, however, occurs when you have Autistic children that become more and more anxious the longer they have to wait. I can see the meltdowns coming and I can feel all the stress and anxiety that my kids are trying to cope with.
Gavin, especially, struggles with these situations. Today was no different despite our preparations. Lizze and I both knew today would be tough on Gavin so we tried to keep his excitement to a minimum this weekend. We figured that if we can go into today without being overly stimulated that we might be ok. I think we made it about 45 minutes before Gavin started struggling. He seemed, in a way, almost disoriented. He was having a hard time answering my questions. He was bending his fingers back to his wrist and nervously pacing. When I would ask him what was wrong he would get very frustrated. I offered to take him home if that would make him feel better. He eventually told me that he would like to go home but if he goes home then he won’t know what happens next. Confused by that I asked him if he was waiting for something. He said “I think they are going to give away small toys and I know when”. I explained to him that wasn’t happening and so he doesn’t need to worry about it.
As it turns out Gavin had generalized the situation. Apparently last year at Easter he received a small gift from someone and I had forgotten about this. However, Gavin certainly hadn’t. Gavin assumed that because it happened once before that it would happen this time as well. This is a very common issue with kids on the spectrum. This is why we are so careful how we handle things. This is why we try very hard to limit presents to Christmas and birthdays. I wrote about this just the other day. In “Autism and generalization” I was shared my experience with the issue of generalization. To the outside world it may appear cruel not to allow Gavin all of these experiences. However, in reality, we are doing the right thing. In fact, it would be a disservice to him if we didn’t limit his exposure to something of these situations.
I went and explained to Lizze what was going on and we decided it was best if we packed up and left. Elliott was literally ALL over the place and Emmett had already reached his limit prior to us even arriving so we headed home. We did have some help this time though and that was really nice. However, even with the help Gavin needed to come home anyway. I am completely exhausted and fighting to keep my eyes open. Elliott and Gavin are relaxing by watching a movie and will be going to bed shortly. I’m really hoping to catch a few episodes of “Lost”or just maybe play a few rounds of COD (Call of Duty) on Xbox Live before my subscription lapses.
I hope at least some of you have better holiday then we did. At least we got a few minutes with our family before we needed to return home. At least we got help from some of the people that promised to be there for us. I guess that progress as well as positive.
I am so sorry 🙁 We do not do holidays with family anymore. Holidays are kept to a minimum. There are still small gifts very little candy (because of allergies), but we have to keep things as close to normal as possible.
I give you credit to trying and feel bad it did not turn out better. At least you know the limits of your kids and can look ahead to what will be the result.