We survived the long weekend. Barely. It was nice seeing Hubz’s family, but I am so, so, so relieved to be back home and easing into routine. 11 people and 2 dogs in one house is a lot…for anyone. But especially so for my Tater Tot.
Thanksgiving itself went well. Much of the day was smooth, even if Tate stimmed a lot. He flitted between the kitchen sink, the fan controls in the family room, the Xoom, and whining. With 11 people to serve and feed, there was quite a bit of chaos and noise. His senses were on overdrive. (Truth be told, so were mine…)
Tate held it together fairly well until the end of Thanksgiving “dinner”. (I say it should have been called lunch because we ate at 1 pm.) We called it dinner, though, so he was hellbent on taking a shower when we were done. Cuz that’s what we do…take showers or baths after dinner. He tired of waiting and pulled off his shirt..at the table. Hubz and I figured that was better than losing his pants. My MIL seemed a little flustered, but shrugged it off. I feel like my SIL thought we were being too permissive. Oh well..we made it through.
Once the fam was done, Tate did get that shower. He was so happy. The rest of the day went fairly well.
Friday proved to be the breaking point. Everyone woke up in an ok mood. Tate stimmed at the sink again…especially when everyone was moving about with breakfast. We decided to head out…it was obvious we all needed a break. Luckily in the boondocks, no store really gets crowded…and that held true for the local Walmart. The kids were pretty good. They each got a small toy, which helped.
When we got back we had leftovers (my fave part of the holiday). Hubz, his dad, and BIL went out for a bit to test drive cars. It was a ploy to get my FIL out of the house so that we could set up a surprise party for his 65th birthday. Nothing fancy, but we could get the kids involved. This was a good plan…in theory.
Reality was not so fab. That afternoon was harsh. Cole wouldn’t nap, Tate was stimming a lot, and despite my best efforts, he would not be redirected to purposeful anything…and Jake and our nephew were getting squirrely. We had the TV off, too, as the kids were becoming couch potatoes. My SIL had the kids start to decorate. We blew up balloons and hung streamers. A few balloons were left loose. Worst.idea.ever.
Suffice it to say, Jake and his cousin were playing a game, batting around a balloon; they ran upstairs. The holiday feast table was still up so there wasn’t much room. Suddenly we heard a huge CRASH!! I bounded upstairs because Tate was up there stimming in the sink. (Yes, I thought he may be involved…) Nope. Jake and his cousin stood surrounded by glass…MIL’s fave lamp in shambles. My nephew blurted out, “It was an accident!” I sent Jake to the couch downstairs so I could help clean up. Tate was utterly confused.
Luckily MIL handled it quite well. Jake and his cousin each gave an apology. And we continued to wait for the men folk…
They called, and were on their way. The kids got more and more hyper as they waited for Papa and the uncles. Ridiculous is one way to describe it. Exasperating is another. The guys got home and they made us wait a bit while they went potty. ARGH!
The party went ok. Tate even was up for singing “Happy Birthday”…something he never would have done 8 months ago! Things were ok until dinner. That is when things really took a nose dive. Tate likes sitting smack dab in the middle of the couch. ANY couch. It’s “his” spot. We have talked about this so many times…a few times even that weekend.
Our nephew had sat down there while Tate was getting his pizza. Tate came back and asked him to move…in his way, which meant saying, “shoo, shoo, [cousin’s name], shoo”. He threw in a please and asked him to scoot over when it seemed like his cousin didn’t hear him. I don’t know why he wouldn’t move…but whatever. Then SIL raised her voice and told Tate, “Sit over there. We need to share.” She was clearly irritated with Tate. My hackles raised. Seriously?! I went upstairs to the bathroom to calm down.
Apparently when I was gone she said something to Tate when he pursued the couch again. Hubz told her to let it go, as it was going to start more problems. She dropped it, but wouldn’t talk to Hubz. Drama…
The next morning things were obviously strained…in addition to my hurt feelings, there were some strong comments made between other family members about non-related things after I had gone to bed. I could feel everyone just wanting to be done.
While I was sipping coffee and trying to wake up after Tate’s sleepless night, I heard SIL mention to MIL that the running water from Tate’s stimming was driving her crazy…and she was loud enough in earshot for me to hear. I pulled Tate off the faucet and gave him the Xoom.
My in-laws were kind enough to have us all up there. They were generous and were fairly understanding of our shtuff. I am still flustered about my SIL.
My hope is that upon reflection, our family remembers a day in the life…about how a day with Autism can be a little bit of wonderful, a little bit of frustration, and a whole lot of you-never-quite-know-what-you’re-going-to-get…