Holidays: Why Halloween sucks sometimes

All parents have an idea of the traditions they will pass on to their kids.  The excitement leading up to Christmas and opening presents.  The trick or treating and getting to as many houses as you can in your allotted time.  The chasing across a field to get as many eggs as you can, maybe get a special egg that wins a prize.  Watching fire works on the Fourth.  Going on picnics in the summer and sledding in the winter.  Bonfires and Haunted houses in the fall.  So many fun things we did as kids that we can't wait to share with our kids.

And then our kids are born.  And they don't even vaguely fit into the mold we imagined. 

They are overwhelmed by crowds and changes in routines.  They can't envision the future and aren't excitedly enjoying the holiday buildup. 

They hate any clothes but comfy ones.  Dress up pictures and costumes are out. 

They don't want to or can't say "Trick or Treat" and don't understand going from door to door and never going in. 

They have motor planning problems and we watch as much younger kids grab the eggs while they stand over them.

They have sound sensitivity and can't stand the boom of fireworks without melting down.  And it didn't matter anyway, because staying up later than their scheduled bedtime is completely forbidden. 

We know that going to company and family picnics is a waste of time since they won't eat the food,.  We'll spend our whole time trying to keep them from drowning in the lake or getting lost in the woods.  And they are sure to tell gramma or our boss how fat they are.

It seems that by the time our kids start to acquire the skills they need to participate, they are huge and considered too big.

Every holiday is another way of reminding us how far our kids are from their developmental norm.  We still get the twinge of regret that we have buried in our every day lives.  Perhaps because they only come once a year, we don't get immunity.

And so we develop new traditions, that still seem a bit hollow to the ideal movie running in our heads.

We now stay home for Christmas, because it was so stressful to stay in a hotel and chase Nathan all over the grandparents' house to keep him from escaping, breaking, poisoning, setting fire to, or creating a flood.  We don't put up Christmas lights because it freaked my husband out when Nathan bit the bulbs off.  We keep all presents put away so he doesn't open everyone's presents, including his own.  We have made our own, sewn ornaments to hang, because he kept breaking ornaments we loved.

But we still get a tree.  And we still keep special presents back for Christmas morning, after exchanging gifts the night before.  Everyone knows that Santa doesn't exist, but mom gets humored a little. We try to limit the number of presents to keep it from being over stimulating and spread them out a little.

We dye our own eggs, which the boys love.  Even though it IS a huge mess.  And we hide them in the yard.  Over and over.  So everyone gets  a chance to find eggs.  And they get baskets that are things THEY like and not too over the top. At 13 he still loves finding eggs, and his older brother doesn't mind hiding them.  Win-win.

And we still go trick or treating on Halloween.  It has improved.  Costumes now seem fun (although our 16 yo is so OVER THAT!)  Nathan uses his AAC to request and thank you.  And he thanks EVERYONE, unlike most kids.  He's gotten so much better at using it.

But he gets tired after an hour.  Even at 13, so much weirdness and social interaction is very wearing.  And he now has a behavior of spitting.  So I had to be reminded that COLORED candy is not allowed.  No exceptions for holidays.  Which kind of sucks.  Because that leaves him with only the chocolate.

And I was planning on stealing that shit.


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