Glued to the Sofa

As many will know, Jane’s mum lives with us, and my mum is staying over for a few days for Christmas, but in all honesty, would it have made any difference if Jane’s mum had gone over to mine for Christmas? Jane in particular has made every effort to include them. They both got a sackload of presents, and we’ve put out plenty of nibbles. Coffee is almost on tap and Jane came up with a fantastic roast turkey lunch on Christmas Day. We’ve got plenty of great movies on DVD, movies on Sky On Demand and lots of games that could be played. Sounds like the recipe for a great Christmas break.

Jane, the boys & I have tried to have a good time, but the two old people have – more or less – completely failed to engage with the boys (unless forced to by Matthew or Daniel – and to be fair my mum did work with Matthew on one of his sticker books) or with any of the festivities. As I write, our resident old person is sitting on the sofa looking miserable, and visiting old person is sitting with arms firmly crossed – talk about a defensive posture. The only time they have moved from the sofa is to go to the toilet. That’s from maybe 830am until 10pm. Yesterday Daniel and I went out to the football leaving Matthew with Jane. A perfect opportunity for the old people to pop out for a short walk as my mum was needing to the butcher. Jane suggested they go out, but was met with horrified looks. We’re due to go over to my mum’s next Wednesday (she is going home tomorrow, as it seems her church “friends” are more important than the boys and us – we know our place!) and I’ll guarantee that’s the only time resident old person will go out over the holidays. Its laughable that she has at least 3 coats hanging up on the coat pegs and obsesses about the weather (we get regular weather updates throughout the day.)

This morning was quite amusing. Daniel lay down on resident old person’s “spot” on the sofa. Incredibly, visiting OP asked Daniel to move so resident OP could sit down! Never mind there was plenty of room! It was a great example of how they are thinking only of themselves. Today, Daniel wanted to watch Smurfs 2, one of the DVDs they got for Christmas. Daniel held up the box to them, to show them what was going on TV. Cue requests for Wallace & Grommit, something Matthew won’t watch under any circumstances. Then other movies were requested despite Daniel telling them repeatedly that it was going to be Smurfs 2. Either they were ignoring him, not hearing him or just winding him up, options 2 & 3 combined being the most likely. Sadly, it will usually end up with Daniel in meltdown eventually, which results with OP tutting and huffing at how we are dealing with the mess they have created.

Any how, its kind of sad to think that were it just the four of us we’d enjoy Christmas even more. We get no suggestions what to do (like play a particular game for example.) I’m not counting watching TV, as once the boys go up, they watch what they like in any event. There’s no effort to engage in an activity that involves us all. Instead, they will conduct conversations (usually 2, as each aren’t interested what the other has to say and are just waiting for their chance to speak.) Its either about people I couldn’t care less about at the church, or never ending weather updates. Jane often wonders, “why bother” with them, but we’ll keep on making the effort in the hopes that the effort will finally pay off. So far this year, I can’t see it happening but we won’t give up just yet.

Final Preparations

Its Christmas Eve at last, and its a day off for me. A day off from work at least. Today is all about the final preparations for Christmas, and getting the house tidy for the big day. Its been a team effort directed by Jane, and all hands have been to the pump. The boys are very excited of course, and its been crucial to make sure they’ve got plenty of jobs to do to keep them active. Daniel has had the vacuum cleaner round, and has taken the steam cleaner to the wood flooring in the dining room & the hallway. He’s always loved helping clean up, and he was in his element.

Matthew has been equally busy. He’s been helping tidy up downstairs, and helped to strip their beds ready for changing this evening. He’s put his hand to finishing off wrapping presents and put finishing touches to decorations. Even their granny has been full on helping, so we’re at a stage where we (Matthew, Daniel & I) are ready to head over to my mum’s to pick her up. She’s staying a few days with us, as my brother went back to Saudi Arabia on Friday evening. Better to be with us than on her own! Its unfortunate that we’ll have to stop off by Dominos on the way back for tea!

Its been hard work, and Jane still has a lot to do this afternoon though. Lunch preparation will get underway soon. As we speak, a maple glazed gammon joint is in the oven ready for Christmas. The turkey will be readied to go in the oven, and the veg will be prepared. Potatoes will be chopped ready to sit in goose fat tomorrow to give us perfect roast potatoes. Jane works incredibly hard to make sure that Christmas is perfect for the rest of us, and its only fair that we help to make sure she succeeds.

At the end of the day, we’ll be ready and Christmas will really get underway and the biggest day of the year will finally be upon us.

Gran’s Cheerless Christmas Wish

Christmas is coming, there’s no avoiding it. Jane has been non-stop – more so than usual – to make sure Christmas is a great experience for the rest of us. I admit that the rest of us need to do more to help. We do some, but we know we should do more. Still, we’re inching towards the big day. I love Christmas – even before having the boys, I loved it as a grown up – and the boys adore it. We’re super-excited already. Sadly that doesn’t extend to our resident old person.

Jane – more than reasonably – suggested we get the living room in to order. Well, the boys Granny didn’t take well to that suggestion. Cue the huffing. But it got better. Matthew was sitting near her on the sofa, and was whimpering. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “Gaga said she hates Christmas.” What an awful thing to say to a little boy who takes everything literally – and very much to heart. He was clearly upset by it. At least my intelligence wasn’t insulted by the usual denial that it was said. The boys don’t lie at all well, and they don’t shy away from telling us what Gaga tells them. If confronted, we’ll get a flat-out denial. The usual one is when she tells them she is leaving  Its an empty threat, but ASD boys can’t discern what’s an empty threat.

We were getting virtually no help in getting the house ready, which is fairly normal. The only thing that’s done is ironing once a week, so there’s now nothing that needs doing other than sitting on the sofa 12+ hours a day. Doing anything for others isn’t on the agenda. There’s no interest of helping for Christmas. Its infuriating to see. Just when the rest of us are trying to get into the season, we have someone determined to be miserable.

All I can say is if she feels that way, keep it to yourself. Don’t wind up the boys that way. Get out of the room and go upstairs and be miserable. Jane isn’t asking much to get the house ready so everyone can enjoy themselves. My mum will be over for a few days, and I’m guessing we’ll have a mix of moaning and showing off, with the boys getting it all. They’ve asked some classmates (well, Daniel has) to come round. I hope they leave them to it. No doubt Jane’s mum will ignore that and will interfere with them, while other Granny just ignores any attempts at interaction.

Its the season of cheer supposedly, but at least one person in our house is set to forget that. Just don’t try and take it out on the boys.

Christmas Craft

Daniel loves his arts and crafts, and he loves Christmas. Put the two together, and we’ve got a definite recipe for success. Today I found some Christmas craft sets Jane had bought a few weeks ago, and got them out. Of course Daniel wanted to do them. First he started with balloon figures. He needed a big of help to knot off the balloon, but once that was done, it was action stations decorating it. He’s now the proud owner of a balloon Santa!

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He was so proud of it as when he gets going on one of his craft projects, he needs to do as good a job as he possibly can. I think he’s managed that ok! That wasn’t enough for him though! Another one of the craft sets involved a picture of Santa, with lots of white dots over it. The idea is that you put small round sticky pads (supplied!) on the dots, then stick small coloured sequins to it. We did wonder if Daniel would cope with this thanks to his double jointed fingers. He sometimes finds really fine motor control a little difficult. But, we needn’t have worried. He’s taken his time, and has stuck the pads then sequins on his picture beautifully. The concentration on his face is amazing.

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He’s in a bit of a race against time, as we’re heading out soon to meet my mum and my brother for a late lunch, and Daniel is keen to take it with him to show Uncle Robin! Given Daniel’s inclination to explode when things are a little tricky and not so easy, Jane & I are so proud of him for concentrating so hard and taking his time to make sure he gets it just right.

Its Christmas, and Daniel is getting crafty!

Christmas Shopping Nearly Done!

Today was a good day, despite recovery from a migraine taking a little bit longer than anticipated. First of all I got a package through the post that I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. I was starting to wonder if it was going to come at all! Another one marked off the list! Next was getting Jane’s main present, which I was quite pleased to get, so relatively close to Christmas! All that remains on that front is to take the boys down to Asda, as they know exactly what to get for mummy! Daniel is adamant that we go together so they can get them, so off we will go! Finally today we picked up a couple of cheese hampers containing local cheeses from a farm/dairy just a couple of miles from our house. One of the hampers is for my brother to take back to Saudi Arabia with him – a little something to remind him of home. And he (obviously) loves cheese! We also got one for my aunt & uncle, and as my mum and brother are going down there next week, then picking it up is perfect timing. So, I am more-or-less prepared.

Jane of course is way more prepared than I am. Her Christmas shopping is an ongoing process throughout the year. See something she thinks someone will love at a good price? Get it! It sounds like a great way to do the Christmas shopping, and would really reduce the stress of present buying in the few weeks running up to the big day! I’m very lucky in that regard in that Jane gets presents for everyone, leaving me just a handful to get. That definitely eases the pressure! Jane is such a great present buyer that I know we’ll all get things that we love. The thought that goes into it is tremendous, and it certainly makes Christmas day go well.

Preparations continue apace though. Tomorrow the boys have Christmas lunch at school. They both love a roast lunch/dinner, and can’t wait to tuck into turkey and roast potatoes tomorrow. We’re also having a pre-Christmas meal with my mum and brother this Sunday before he goes back to Saudi next Friday. Its the pre-Christmas menu at a local restaurant, so we’ll get a chance to tuck into turkey ourselves! Next week, the boys are off to the panto to see Cinderella. As they’ll not be back to school until 5pm or so, Jane & I will take the opportunity to have a little time to ourselves, and have a lunch date out while there’s no rush to get back to school.

Even with the present buying out of the way, I suspect the preparations will only get more hectic. Its a mad time of the year, but when the big day comes round, it will be worth it. Mind you, there’s no need for time to fly by yet towards Christmas. I know from Jane that there is more than enough to do before then!