I wrote about all that has happened in this last year in my post here but it's fairly safe to say that we are in a much better position than we were in last Christmas. J now has a diagnosis, and we have so much more knowledge about autism than we did this time last year.
Last Christmas J seemed unhappy most of the day, and it was only a few weeks ago we worked out that it was because he had to eat Christmas dinner, which he doesn't like. So the first lesson learnt was that he could have whatever he wanted to eat - he chose Chicken Tikka Massala.
He found it difficult to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, even with Melatonin (but then again, most children struggle to sleep when they're waiting for Santa to arrive, I know I did) He was also awake at 4:30am on Christmas Day, and unable to go back to sleep. I thought straight away that it was probably the uncertainty, so I asked him if he wanted to go downstairs to see if Santa had been. He did, and he had, and it made him a little calmer. Second lesson learnt, the uncertainty of has Santa been, has he brought me what I asked for, is too much for J.
We ended up going downstairs at 5:30 to watch TV, and I let him have a feel of his presents, and he tried to work out what they were.
We let J be in charge of how his day went so that he was able to deal with it. He chose which presents to play with in which order, he had lunch when he wanted, and although he was tired we managed to avoid any meltdowns or high anxiety. He also asked if there is a Sainsbury's and an Argos in the North Pole, because if there isn't how did Santa managed to buy some of his presents from there? I talked here about how I was dreading when the truth outed about the big man in red. But actually I think that the third lesson learnt is that it may be a blessing in disguise. I'm going to use the brilliant suggestion of recruiting J as an elf, so next year he can help me wrap presents for his brothers and sister, he can help me put the presents out before he goes to bed so he'll be able to see them, and he'll know that if it is actually Mum buying the presents then he will definitely get what he asked for. No uncertainty. Less anxiety.