There seems to be very little predictable about the holiday season except how unpredictable they are when you are parenting a child who has trouble managing emotions. The remedy is to keep your solid routines of everyday life and just say “no” to too much–too much fudge, too much out-of-town family, too much travel, too much stuff, and even too much fun. Okay, it isn’t that easy to pull off, but it is well worth trying.
I have a vivid memory of forewarning my extended family before bringing my easily dysregulated children to their first out-of-town Christmas with all my siblings. Everyone was excited to meet their new little family members and my little ones were beside themselves to get to go on a long trip to meet these extravagant strangers at the end.
The car trip itself was unbelievable. I really wasn’t prepared. We stopped to pee every hour and ate more McDonald’s on that first leg than we had eaten all together from adoption to that date. By the time we arrived, I had a migraine and needed a nap. When I woke up, my sisters had indulged my children with chocolate everything. No kidding. They were amped so high I was awakened by the walls vibrating. By the end of the day, both kids were screaming they hated me; they wanted to live with their chocolate pusher Auntie; and ultimately every person in the house was standing with their mouths agape and looking like deer in headlights. Fun times.
It wasn’t my kids’ fault. They genuinely could not regulate their emotions and other people did not know (no matter how much I tried to tell them) they could not indulge every whim of children who have weak attachments and only a limp grip on self-control. Every Christmas thereafter I took a minimalist approach. We still had our wild moments, but nothing like that one where the wheels came completely off the car.
To that end, I am wishing you a very regulated, predictable, low-ley, minimalist and, therefore, delightful holiday wherever you are, wherever you go, wherever you find yourself.