Good Tidings of Great Joy: A List

Here are a few pre-Christmas things that have happened today:

  1. I have worried and worried about Jack’s discharge date. They were talking about sending him home tomorrow, right before the Christmas weekend. This sounded very bad to me as a) he would be transitioning from hospital to home and transitions are not his forte, and b) he would be stuck with random holiday staff who don’t know or work well with him. This all sounded like a recipe for behavioral relapse, to me. Well, this morning the social worker from the hospital called to say that our insurance has approved Jack to stay through Christmas, for the very reasons which concerned me. Jack will be safe and well through the holiday. And after that, he will either stay in the unit (if he has a bad weekend, behavior-wise), or he will go back to his group home with proper staffing and a re-worked behavior plan. This is my Christmas miracle.
  2. This morning, the first official day of my boys’ school break, Truman’s kindergarten teacher knocked on our door, her three little children in tow. She brought Truman an art project he had missed and told me she was thinking of us during this difficult time. And if anyone knows, she does. Her father passed away during the second week of school this fall. She told me about a couple of dreams she has had about her dad, where he is happy and healthy, joking and loving. She talked about feeling peaceful. Her visit was really a beautiful gift to me. After they left, Truman asked, “Why did she come here?” “Because she cares about you,” I said. Truman yelped, “Why is my brain so in love with her?!” Sweet kindergarten teacher, check. Sweet six-year-old boy, check. Sweet Christmas memory, check.
  3. My little boys have discovered the joy of wrapping presents. They are obsessed. Truman, my most creative child, likes to free-form his gift wrap with no input from me. Charlie, in the spirit of autism, wants his presents to look perfect, so I taught him a few guiding principles and now he is an independent wrapper. This is highly rewarding to my boys. I told them if they put their pajamas on and brushed teeth, they could come back down and wrap a bit more before bedtime. To date, they have wrapped up all our Christmas books and put them under the tree. They were the same way with stuffing Christmas cards in envelopes. They shooed me away and insisted on doing it themselves. I am pleasantly surprised at the things my boys are learning to do, and through which they find great satisfaction. I am amazed and delighted watching them attend, focus, problem-solve, and carry out multiple steps of a task. To the non-autism family, wrapping and stuffing envelopes may not be exciting kid milestones. But to us, this is great news.

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