Happy New Year! I hope you all had a very happy holiday season! If you read my last post on Destin 30A Moms Blog, you know that we were approaching the holidays a bit differently around here (if you didn’t catch that post, you can read it here). Well I am happy to report that Hayden had his best Christmas yet! I think the big turning point for him was his Christmas program. Like I mentioned in my Moms Blog post, we built up his program the whole week leading up to it. We talked with him about being brave and what a strong boy he was to try so hard. His behavior at practice improved each day, and he loved telling us “I brave” and “I try” when we picked him up. He was so proud of himself afterwards! He really seemed to understand that he had faced a fear and done something major for himself.
Fast forward a couple of days and it’s like we had a totally different kid. His talking skyrocketed, he was more willing to try new things, and even the way he was playing with his toys was different. We talked every day about who was coming to visit and what all we would be doing, which helped him adjust when things got chaotic. We’ve always talked to him a lot, but now we’re getting enough feedback from him that we can see how much he’s taking in and understanding. We’ve seen a huge difference in his excitement about things and his ability to adapt to new circumstances when we’ve had a chance to talk him through everything beforehand. Hayden likes his schedule and we keep things around the house pretty calm and predictable. It works for us, but when we have people over or the normal routine gets shaken up, Hayden can get easily overwhelmed and we have to take him into his room to quiet down and decompress before he’s ready to rejoin the party. We still had to do a little bit of that, but nowhere near as much as we’ve done in years past.
Something else that was new for him was baking Christmas cookies. We tried this when he was two and he had a total meltdown, so it was very exciting to see him enjoy it so much. It probably didn’t help that he was in his stander from physical therapy and could hardly see at the time, but we gave it a shot. This year was MUCH better. To make things simple, we opted for pre-made dough, let him help use the cookie cutters and decorate with M&Ms. He wasn’t sure about the cookie cutters at first, but after the first couple of cookies he was all about it and even got his hands in the dough!
The worst part was getting him to understand that the cookies we set out for Santa that night before bed weren’t for him. He was very confused on why we would put cookies on HIS plate, where HE could reach them, and NOT let him have any. I think he decided at that point that this whole Santa thing was for the birds. #meanmom #futureassholeparentingpost
One of the tricks I talked about in my Moms Blog post was changing up how we wrapped his presents. We wrapped the big things that would be easy for him to unwrap, but we put the other items in bags and left his Santa presents unwrapped. We also let him unwrap at his own speed, and that seemed to make a huge difference for him. He opened a couple of presents and then he played while we opened ours and drank semi-hot coffee (Merry Christmas to me). This kid was opening presents for days! This was also the first year that he really liked a lot of his presents. In previous years, there have been maybe one or two that he was really excited about after warming up to them, but he’s had a lot of fun so far with everything right out of the gate.
All in all, it was the best Christmas we’ve ever had. Hayden had a blast, which obviously made it more fun for us. It was so encouraging to see him enjoy Christmas like any other kid and it was a much less stressful holiday as a whole. How was Christmas with your little ones? Did you try any new holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about it so leave me a comment or find me on Facebook & Instagram and let’s connect!