Every year, we would see a downward spiral in behavior over the holidays, generally starting right after the Thanksgiving holiday break. The lack of routine at school (holiday parties, programs, Christmas activities, etc) threw Mickey off track – if he was ever on it. Everything intensified.
But, we trudged forward. We began the holiday traditions of decorating trees, putting up lights, baking Christmas cookies, Elf on the Shelf, Christmas light tours and visiting Santa. Minnie, we discovered, was petrified of Santa. But, I have a lovely coworker who moonlights as Santa at a mall during the holiday season. We went to see Santa Tom and he was amazing. We got to have milk and cookies with him after the visit, and I had to pry Minnie off before we left. He is the only Santa they will see, because he is real. He knows their Elf’s name, their cat’s name and he knew them instantly. He even told them he follows them on Facebook – Mickey found this particularly awesome. Jingles the elf did elaborate pranks – not because I had the time or energy, but because they provided us 10 minutes of great fun each morning and sometimes that was all we got in a day. Mickey adored finding him and seeing what he had done.
The good news is, we survived our first Christmas! It was the best day of the month, behavior wise. He was excited, of course and hyper to the extreme, but Minnie was too. We call that the excitement of Christmas. Uncle (my younger brother) spent the night Christmas eve to help with last minute toy assembly. Mickey woke up exceptionally early – even for him. He didn’t ever sleep one minute past 6am. Christmas morning it was more like 5. There were squeals from both kids. It is possible that Santa went overboard – in theory making up for missed Christmases before. Papers flew, toys were opened. There were strollers and dolls for Minnie, Spiderman and lincoln logs for Mickey. The most successful gift of the day were the pair of plasma cars.
I was foolishly optimistic. After almost a month of once a week therapy, any good day gave me hope. The day continues at Grandma and Grandpa’s and the kids got power wheels. It rained so we had to go back the next day so they could drive them up and down the driveway. That day was good too. We did receive news from his therapist though that she was leaving and at the beginning of the year we would start with someone new. This is a huge problem with this particular field – very high turnover. But, Mickey was seemingly ok with her leaving.
I was home with the kids for all of the two week Christmas break except for two days. Minnie went to Nikki as usual, Mickey attempted two days at Kids R Kids. Of course I had been completely forthcoming about our issues, and they assured me they could handle it. Day one, I was called into an hour long discussion about everything he did wrong that day. Day two he was asked not to return.