Wow it’s been a minute since I posted anything. Quite honestly, I’m not really motivated or inspired to do much anymore. I’m still trying to reintegrate my mind to doing things like my job, and cooking…and I don’t have much motivation to do even that much. It’s been a hard year. One of pain and loss as well as joy and gain, my psyche is still trying to balance them out.
As usual in our household, my Aspie Wife has become the “Christmas Nazi”, a phrase we picked up during one of the many Netflix series marathons that my wife, kids and I get involved in. This phrase came from the TV show Roswell. A cool little series about alien teenagers who got stranded on earth and spend the series learning about themselves, their powers, their home planet and of course hooking up with earthlings.
The sister on this show every year planned out each Christmas activity, scheduled every event, controlled all the wrapping etc. etc. hence the name. This ladies and gentlemen is what happens to my wife every year. The lists come out. The lists of the lists she has to make come out. (No kidding, she really does that). The kids write their letters to Santa, and we run around trying to fill them. Aspie Teen actually picks out his stuff on Amazon and places them on a wishlist and then texts and/or email’s the list to us. My wife and I will make out lists, complete with pictures, prices and where to buy them information included. My wife usually will go ahead and buy her own gifts and have them shipped to the house.
This level of control brings a somewhat sense of control and reassurance to my wife and Aspie Teen. They panic at surprise presents. They worry about the unknown and not knowing what to expect. Aspie Teen takes it to the extreme, pestering us and nagging us until the items are ordered and on their way. Only once they get here, and he’s inspected them does he breathe a sigh of relief and moves on to the next thing on his agenda.
But you parents of ASD kids and spouses/partners of ASD adults may want to think about doing this. I spent MANY years trying to anticipate my wife and take notes on things she said she liked during the year to surprise her at Christmas time which usually resulted in things being sent back, or never worn etc. Clothing was especially hard/ridiculous. So to reduce the stress of her receiving things she didn’t want or like, we decided to try just telling each other what we wanted and eventually graduated to buying certain things ourselves. It solved a lot of problems. Talk it over and see how it works. Take a trial run on birthdays or anniversaries. Even if your kid believes in Santa, he can make you a list, or you can help him make a list with pictures so you know EXACTLY what it is he wants. This will cut down on a lot of stress for both you and them. Trust me.
Anyway, my family being the dual cultural family we are, celebrates Christmas once at midnight on Christmas Eve, (this is from her side of the family traditions), and then again on Christmas morning, (this is from my side of the family traditions). On Christmas Eve the kids get the presents from other family members (if applicable) as well as gifts from mom and dad, and on Christmas Day they open gifts that Santa Claus leaves them, (despite my many protestations that my kids own the top two slots on the Naughty List and don’t deserve anything but lumps of coal on Christmas day), (just kidding).
So my wife makes sure the wrapping paper is different, the labels are different, and pre-printed to avoid any possible handwriting comparisons from the kids, the packages are separated, the level of control goes on and on. She is very organized and detail oriented, and she plans so meticulously because she really wants to make Christmas memorable and enjoyable for the kids, but sometimes she WAY over thinks things, and will get SO stressed because of it. Like today she spent hours making pre-printed gift labels only to have Monkey Boy walk in and see them on the bed. Now the entire batch has to be thrown away and she spent another 2 hours designing new ones. Stress levels were through the roof. To me, the kids will only glance at the labels long enough to see their names and rip through the wrapping, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. We definitely don’t want Monkey Boy coming to any independent conclusions during this season.
But in preparation for the holidays, a couple of tips you may want to use is to shop online for as much as you can. Most of our shopping is done online to avoid the crowded stores where chaos reigns and will immediately overwhelm my wife and send her into meltdown mode. (BTW quick shameless plug, an Amazon Prime membership costs a one time annual fee of $70 and you get guaranteed 2 day shipping on any Prime eligible item you buy on Amazon).
Also when we absolutely HAVE to venture into the stores, we try to go later in the evening and if it’s someplace like Super Walmart where things are open 24 hours, we go during the late/early hours to make sure the store is as empty as possible. This drastically reduces the amount of stress my wife under and helps her keep her focus and her sanity.
Anyway, I hope your Christmas’/Holiday is enjoyable.