Monday, December 05, 2005

Red, Green and Blue

I'm a little behind on my Christmas shopping. OK, if truth be told, I haven't even started yet. The problem is that I've got a little bit of the Humbug! So I'm waffeling between wanting to just forget the whole thing this year and hoping that if I just start going through the motions my attitude will get the adjustment that it needs.

I'll probably just throw myself into it and see what happens.

Here is the dilemna: I'm one of those perfect gift type of people. I don't go all-out and stuff everything imaginable under the Christmas tree, but small or large, I try to find the perfect gift for everyone. But with Oliver this is particulary hard. There have been plenty of times that I've come home with an item that I would have just loved as a kid, only to have him show not a second of interest. I mean not even look at the the thing. Or, if I'm lucky he might play with it for five minutes and then walk away. As a Mom who would really like to give my kids the moon, this can be a little disappointing.

Also, one thing you should know if you don't already, is that a lot of kids with Autism lack the ability to engage in imaginative play. This is the case with Oliver but I'm happy to report that just lately we've been seeing some improvements. Within the last month he has started moving cars around and making motor noises and having them crash into one another. And I showed him how to make his toy dinosaurs ride on the cars and motorcycles and to my surprise this has become a favored activity.

Having to teach Oliver how to play is one of the oddest things about this new world of Autism. I'd always imagined myself as one of those anything-goes parents, not someone who feels compelled to to say there is a right and wrong way to play -- but that is exactly what I find myself doing. "No, we don't stack the pretend food in a tower, we make little sandwhiches and then pretend to eat them." "No, you don't put the pants on the bear's head, you put it on his legs."

When we were initially going through the diagnosis process I joked to Nik that the specialists were going to tell us that all of Oliver's problems could be traced to the fact that he didn't have enough toys. And, while Oliver certainly has more toys than some, he definately has far fewer than any of the kids in his playgroup. The reason for this is that I could never really identify things that I thought he would hold his interest. Buying toys was a big waste of money and, once we received the diagnosis, just plain painful.

But here we are at Christmas time and the really hopeful part of me thinks that I might be able to find something that he will like. I will put the tree up and try to get him to help with the decorations. I'll play Christmas music and talk about Santa Claus. But I'm pretty sure that none of it will make much of an impact on him.

Except possibly for the tree in the middle of the living room. I wonder what he will make of that?

1 comment:

  1. I felt much this same way last Christmas. This year, I am trying to get a little more in the spirit. Trying, but not quite always succeeding. I did get some of my decorations up and out yesterday, but we didn't get our tree yet. Knowing how much Andrew loves sticks and branches, I am afraid he will pull down the entire tree. We'll see. As far as toys goes. I know what you mean. This year Andrew is getting drums and other musical instruments that he shows some interest in. I am getting other toys that I am pretty sure he will not show interest in, but I will just have to teach him how to play with them. Strange, I know.

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