If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
If you celebrate Christmas and have a child or sibling with special needs, I hope the day was as good as it could be!
The holidays can be a difficult time for families who have a loved one diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Their 8 year olds may have no interest in gifts. The kids may fall apart at the change in their routine (no school, shifted eating times, out of the ordinary foods, etc.). They may be on edge because the house looks totally different when it’s decorated. Their senses may go into shock at family gatherings, resulting in meltdowns of epic proportions. All these things that families have to prep for and work around can really put them in a Grinchy mood.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, Dude viewed gift opening as a real inconvenience up until about 4 or 5 years ago. Then, suddenly, he was all about it. Our family is also pretty good at knowing what gifts he’ll like, so that helps as well. But for years, our parents had to swallow their disappointment as a very disinterested Dude partook in Christmas morning.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post.
I have a formula for what I get Dude every year:
- At least two greeting cards that play music when you open them
- Something Maryland related (merchandise, tickets to a game, etc.)
A few weekends ago found me in the greeting card section of a convenience store. I gasped and did a happy dance as my eyes fell on one card in particular.
Scooby Doo was on the front. When you opened it, he sang “Jingle Bells” in his Scooby Doo voice and topped it off with a Scooby laugh.
One of the staffers at Dude’s home had sent us a video a few months back of them being silly. They were speaking Dude’s special brand of gibberish back and forth, and every once in awhile, it sounded like she said something about Scooby Doo that would make him giggle. We jumped to the conclusion that they sometimes watch the cartoon on TV.
Which is why I was so happy when I found this card. “He’s gonna love it!” I thought self-assuredly.
As I normally get Dude at least two cards (because he almost always wears out the batteries in at least one of them within three days), I picked up another card that played a hip hop beat of Jingle Bells just to be safe.
Fast forward to Christmas morning. Dude opened the Scooby Doo card.
“Whoa! Look at that Dude!” our parents exclaimed.
“It’s Scooby Doo! Why don’t you open it?” Mom prompted.
I smiled broadly, ready to receive the glowing smile that Dude would bestow upon me for the ingenuity of my gift.
“NOOOOOOPE,” Dude responded.
The smile wiped off my face and my shoulders deflated.
“But Dude,” Dad began, trying to salvage the situation, “You like Scooby Doo. Open it to see what he says.”
“Not yet. Not yet,” Dude held firm.
Our parents cast a worried/amused glance at my frowning face.
“You better open it Dude, or else this is going to end up being a blog post!”
“NOPE.” And with that, Dude set aside the unopened card and reached for his next gift.
To their credit, our parents tried very hard not to burst out laughing as I mock wailed, “I was SO SURE he was going to LOVE IT!”
“Welcome to how we felt for the first 17 years of Christmases and birthdays,” Mom responded.
Irony of ironies, when all the presents were opened, it turned out Dude loved the hip hop Jingle Bells card that I bought as a second thought.