I am utterly exhausted. My mind is fuzzy, my body is drained, my eyes feel heavy, and social fatigue is creeping through my bones. However, this week; including today had too many high points that I do not want to forget. The days leading up to Thanksgiving had me a little worried as to how the actual day would manifest. Every year it has been a challenging day, it inevitably would end up being a day of meltdowns. Daniel had a difficult time adjusting to the change of the day. For years, he could not understand why David would take the day off. In his mind, he was supposed to be in his office even if it was a holiday.
Last year was a little better, but it did end up being rough later in the evening and several days afterward.
This year, Daniel (all the kids) stimmed heavily by Wednesday Daniel pretty much secluded himself into his room for most of the day surrounded by his stuffed animals, electronic toys, covered with his weighted blanket. I checked on him a lot. He had not done that in such a long time that I wanted to be sure he was not over stimulating himself. He tends to do that when he spends too much time with his stimming loves and I need to help him regulate. Stims are great unless they become obsessive and induce anger or frustration. He was doing fine which was a pleasant surprise this year.
On Thanksgiving, day we were all very jolly.
Things just seemed to go as planned and smoothly. I have to tell you it was a fantastic feeling. I made many changes this year to help with my own anxiety and stress. Things like getting a new tree with lights already on it seems like a little thing, but for me it reduced decades of frustration. Frustrations that lingered from my childhood and the way my mom insisted the Christmas tree had to be put up and decorated. Another frustration was my own OCD type of behavior when it came to Christmas lights. I tried to let David put them up one year, but it was a monstrosity. It took me hours to get them aligned on the tree.
Why can’t I just leave them where they are at???
They were pretty bad though, he is does not understand the importance of putting lights on a tree properly. The tree took much less time than usual and that made me very happy because I do not find setting the tree up to be much fun. I do it for my kids, but I admit I did enjoy myself decorating with them this year. I was not overcome with depression and negative thoughts, which made this year less anxiety ridden. Since Thanksgiving Day went so well, I brace myself for the next day. I was pleasantly surprised to have yet another day of happiness. Joshua seems to be the one having a rough time of it this year, however; Joshua manifests his frustrations differently.
He can find solace in the quietude of his room with his Lego’s if the world becomes too much for him.
I tried to make all of that as brief as possible, but all of you who have been reading me for a while know that I can be quite “typative.” SO, all of that to talk about today. Today was the birthday of my little cousin; he turned one today. YAY! Since, the last two days had been going so well I did not want anything to cause a disturbance in the jollity that swelled this home. I did not tell the kids, most of the time I do days of preparation and scripting if we are to go to a family event or if there will be some change in the routine. For instance, yesterday morning I went to a special two session workout, I was leaving on Friday morning which I never do and I was going to be gone for over two hours, another adjustment. Daniel has my workout times memorized – he knows exactly how long each workout takes and when I should be expected unless I am going to the store.
I prepared him starting last Sunday, I reminded him every day that I was leaving on Friday morning to workout.
I explained to him why and that it would not be regular thing. Friday morning came, I made his breakfast, had all of his morning needs taken care of, got my coat on, and he asked, “Mom, where are you going?” with a hint of anxiety. I reminded him about my plans; he remembered and seemed to handle it well. I had to weigh my options today when it came to telling him about the party. I decided to go with my gut and tell Joshua and Daniel after lunch. That would leave only about two hours and I felt that I could prepare them well enough. There are days that if I tell them too soon anxiety and excitement kick in and the next thing I know everyone is all out of sorts and in a panic.
Then, there are times when I have to prepare weeks in advance otherwise it could cause serious issues because of the sudden change.
Today was one of those days where I was not sure what to do. Thankfully, I chose correctly by waiting. They were excited, but the anxiety was lessoned because it sounded fun and they really like their cousins. However, we ended up running a little late. I realized that my cousin had a dog, but I did not know what kind or if it barked and it was too late to call. She was busy with the party. I explained to Daniel that they had a dog and I was not sure if it barked. I asked him if he would be ok if we brought his sound reducers, he was hesitant, but said. “Oh, yes, that will be good.” I was taken aback a little because Daniel is terrified of dogs. Their bark sends ripples of fear straight through him, his easy going attitude was new. All was good until we could not find the sound reducers.
We have three pairs!
We could not find a single one, finally Ariel found one. Yay! Off we go, right? All the kids get piled into the car then, Daniel asked for his compass. He has three he wants the one we cannot find. David and I tear up the house for ten minutes. Suddenly, Daniel appears, “Oh, it was in my pocket, I forgot.” It is past time for the party to start and it’s about twenty minutes away. Daniel starts to panic and thinks that we cannot go to the party because it is now 2:02 pm the party started at 2 pm. I calm him down and explain that it is ok if we are late. Great! Off we go. Then, anxiety starts on me – I start to hyperventilate – David tells me it’s going to be ok – I calm down and WOOT! Enter party a happy family.
The party did go great.
It was a lot of fun; I hung out with my aunt most of the time, but enjoyed watching my little cousin have fun. There were several people who made me feel a little uncomfortable and one woman did not seem very pleasant at all, her comments are still looping in my mind confusing me and making me wonder what she meant, but I will keep trying to drown them out with all of the positives. Such as, Daniel PETTING the dog! Not once, but multiple times AND he said, “I love that dog.” WHAT?? It is a wonderful dog, very sweet and does not bark I wish we could have taken him home. Daniel talked to people, he said hi, he asked people questions, he talked to the kids and played with them when he felt like it. Granted many of his questions were about the house; how many rooms were in the house, who owned the house, why did they live in that house, pretty much anything you can think of about a house, he asked. He asked them, not me! Huge!
He spent most of his time watching the fish, “his favorite”, but he was really part of the action today.
He even came in the room when the presents were being opened and sat on the floor with Joshua and Ariel to watch. He has never done that, he has not been able to be in a room full of people especially, with all of that excitement. He had a blast! He did not get upset when it was time to go and when we left he talked about how much fun he had and all the things he liked. He said, “I really like them, when can we go back?” I had anticipated a rough evening, but it was not. Joshua was the only one who had a bit of a rough time, but he gets really cranky when he is tired so it was expected. Daniel asked to take a bath when we got home and I let him. He was in there a looong time, but I think he needed it. It helped him decompress from the day.
However, I have not had a moment to decompress.
I am trying to now by writing and ensuring that I am able to have these memories etched into my brain. I feel like I had about 10 shots of whiskey. I do not drink, not anymore, but I remember what it feels like. I cannot talk very well. David was trying to talk to me early and my words are not coming out. My body feels achy and fatigued. I am certain it is time to go rest and recover from the social extravaganza I have had this week. Today was two hours of socializing, which mixed in with the additional socializing I did this week I feel like I have been at a concert for three days or something. I bet the kids feel the same way. I may feel all of that, but I totally think it was worth it to see Daniel enjoy himself and see him share more of his personality with others. It is pure joy to see him not being ridden with anxiety and fears – yes, it was totally worth it. (I said, “totally” like a billion times. Ha!)
I believe tomorrow will be another “take it easy” day.