Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Sunny Side of the Spectrum - Santa Edition

scared of Santa
Ahh, December...   Decorations, carols, good cheer!  All is calm, all is bright.. unless you have Asperger Syndrome.  

This week I have been thinking about some of the ghosts of Christmases Past.  

In a time before this, when I was not as smart, December always brought with it the "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" cycle.    

Here's how it worked.  The boys would worry (way too much) that they might not behave properly.  Having been told by countless well meaning adults and various Christmas song lyrics that children who misbehave don't get any presents, this was all they could think about.  Sadly, anxiety makes them impulsive and edgy, so the more they thought about good behavior, the more they would act out!  Their brains flashed - NO PRESENTS!  NO PRESENTS!!  and the meltdowns would begin.

This sort of thing tends to suck the joy out of the holiday season.. as you can imagine.

So, we had some talks about Santa, and made some changes regarding Christmas in general.  I began focusing on Advent, and the fun things like decorating, crafts, baking, and giving.  

It's gotten much better now that they are older, but the anticipation of any major event, (and even some not so major!) still creates a stir of anxiety.

But that's not my story.. I want to tell you about Boy Two, who at age five came to me and expressed an urgent desire to see Santa.  We got ourselves ready and headed to the mall.  We practiced our social stories on the way, but he didn't tell me what this was all about.  

Once we arrived, it took a little while before either boy would go near poor Santa.  (They've always been wary of Old Saint Nick.)  Finally, with a little more coaching, and his brother there for support, he was ready.  I figured it must be a last minute addition to his list, so I hovered nearby to catch the conversation.  

I could tell he was nervous.  Eye contact is not his strong suit, but his head was practically turned around backward!  After a little bit of small talk, Boy Two set forth his business.  He told Santa - in no uncertain terms, he didn't want him to come inside our house!  

Bless his little heart.. he didn't want anyone in our house while we slept - and honestly.. who could blame him!!    It really is a little bit creepy, if you think about it.  

Santa was very good - he didn't bat an eye!  He negotiated a deal with my son that would have made Monty Hall proud.  He promised that he would leave the presents on our doorstep for my husband to bring inside.  He then shook hands with both boys to seal the promise.  

As we walked away, I lavished him with praise - I knew that wasn't easy for him!  He turned to me and said, "Great!  Now I have guilt!"

The boys were obsessing on all things Toy Story that year.  That's a line that Rex the Dinosaur says in the movie. (You can see the clip below - footage property of Disney - Pixar)  It was so absolutely precious coming out of his sweet little mouth.  - Oh!  How I love these kids!