Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving, special needs family style

Invite your family, hoping that this is the year certain well meaning but clueless relatives won't say things like "He'll grow out of it!" and "Is he ____-ing yet?" and "Isn't there medication for that?" and "I think he just needs more discipline."

Swoon when your child comes home from school with a handprint turkey and a note that he is thankful for everything Mommy does for him, even if his teacher wrote that. Maybe he can't speak it or write it, but you know he feels it.

Wonder if this is the year your child will sit at the table.

On the big day, charge up the iPad, tablet, all available phones and any other device in your house to entice your child to sit at the table.

Wonder if this is the year your child will eat the Thanksgiving meal.

Make sure you have pizza bagels/ramen noodles/Fruit Loops/whatever food your child is into because: reality.

As family arrives, watch your child have a meltdown thereby encouraging certain relatives to think he hasn't changed a bit since last year.

Vow to not let child use the iPad/tablet/watch TV before dinner starts.

Give up five minutes later and let child use the iPad/tablet/watch TV.

Feel a little wistful when you see the other kids doing their typical kid things. Encourage them to say hi to your child.

When one of them tries to swipe your child's iPad/tablet, try not to hiss at her.

Entice child to table with iCrack device plus Fruit Loops/pizza bagels/ramen noodles/whatever.

As a relative says, "Why's the table vibrating?" exchange smirks with your spouse and place a hand on child's knees so he stops rhythmically kicking the table.

Make a big show of letting child know how incredibly yummy the turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans are!

When child says something and relatives ask what he said, translate for them: "He said 'Yuck!'"

Give child more ramen noodles/Fruit Loops/pizza bagels/whatever. Then give some to sibling, who isn't much into Thanksgiving food, either.

Allow child to play with cranberry mold, should he desire, because it's a sensory activity and at least the cranberry mold your aunt brought will be good for something.

Feel grateful when relatives who don't see your child that often point out how much progress he's made.

When child eventually dashes away from table, let him hang out in another room and console yourself by eating your body weight in stuffing. Bring it, comfort food!

Alternate enjoying conversation with family with checking on child.

When one of those well meaning but clueless relatives asks about child's diagnosis, say the following: "Things are proceeding! How about some more sweet potato pie?"

If relative persists, shoot your spouse A Look so he'll save you.

Take a bathroom break so you can hide in there and calm your nerves.

Decide that today is not the day you are going to worry about whether too much iPad/tablet/TV time is bad for your child's brain.

Bring pie to your child on the off chance he might want some.

Cuddle with him on couch and eat it yourself.

When relatives leave, child is finally asleep and spouse is cleaning up, sit at kitchen table in a stupor and feel thankful you made it through. Then down a cold pizza bagel/more stuffing/whatever.

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