I find Christmas tough. I always loved Christmas time as a kid but since I have had my own and they have struggled with all the noise and chaos around the festive season it has become a bit more challenging for me.
Christmas is a bit of a sensory nightmare, everything seems to be louder, busier, more crowded, people are closer, more in your face. So I lot of the more traditional Christmas activities do not suit us. Every year we try a few – like going into London to see the lights, taking the kids to buy gifts for close family, going to see the reindeer etc but after just a few outings the kids start asking to stay home.
So when I start seeing all the wonderful photos and stories of all the other kids enjoying the festive activities my heart aches a bit and I get a bit despondent. Social media can be really tough in this aspect. As much as I love the fact that it connects me with friends far away it can also rub the fact that your kids are not doing all the “normal activities” in your face, over and over again. For the most part I have learnt to just scroll on past and try remind myself we are on our own journey and everything is happening at our pace, and this normally works, but somehow over the Christmas period I find it harder and it gets me down.
I wish we could be out enjoying all the fun activities. And I know some friends and family don’t understand why we aren’t. They think the kids manage fine, they don’t see the fact that one of them stops eating properly, their sleep goes crazy or the fact that the stimming starts going ballistic, they don’t see the tears over socks when we are trying to get ready – yes tears over socks / shoes / jackets that don’t feel good can be a massive thing when the kids are overwhelmed. I get that. I do.
Before we started doing our sensory journey I never understood what life with sensory kids would entail and I probably would have been just like the other parents, I probably would have just thought “those kids are spoilt”.
We have 2 more days of unusual festive activities and then the big unwind begins. I have learnt after Christmas and having guests to stay we need a LONG unwind session, with lots of outdoor walks and long reading sessions under a heavy blanket before we can really get back into our normal rhythm.
But through all the craziness that Christmas, a break in routine, noise and chaos brings to our little family I am still determined to try to celebrate the small victories. I need to. Victories like the kids trying mince pies for the first time and actually liking them (although it turns out they only liked mince pies from 1 shop), the kids managing public transport better than ever before even though it was crazy busy, and my darling daughter finally being able to use a hairdryer without it freaking her out. (For parents with non-sensory kids hair dryers have been a huge issue for us. We have never been able to use them on the kid’s hair, in fact when they were younger the noise hair dryers made meant taking the kids to have hair cuts was a big NO).