Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Holidays with a Complex Child

The holidays are special to me because I am my mother’s daughter and her mother’s granddaughter.  We love to entertainment and the more the merrier.  The desire to do the big meal and have the house spotless with gorgeous decorations like I used to do before Billy Ray’s complexities affected my ability to prepare the kind of meal I want to feels like too much,  If we invite a big crowd it adds to the difficulty of preparing the feast while taking care of my son.

What seems overwhelming is doable with those two magic words again “adapt and communicate” and teamwork.  Visuals communicate to Billy Ray what we want him to do and who is coming.  We adapt by having him do tasks that he can do while I do others.

When I was a child, my maternal grandmother taught me to make her homemade yeast dough for biscuits and cinnamon rolls.  Billy Ray loves to knead the dough with me.  I can have him kneeding the dough while I am chopping the nuts for the cinnamon rolls.  He can do an amazing percentage of the process and loves the act of “making bread” with Mom.

Grandma Wikoff also taught me to make her scalloped potatoes.  We found a special potato peeler that works well for Billy Ray with his fine motor issues.  He works on peeling a potato while I peel several.  Then he washes them in the sink while I am slicing some, and putting the other ingredients in.  He sprinkles the cheese on each layer.

My husband boils the eggs for my deviled eggs so they are ready for me to fix while Billy Ray polishes the table top and puts out clean placements.  If he misses a spot the placemats will cover it usually.  We count out the appropriate number of spoons, knives and forks.  He puts one on each placement.  Forget whether they are all in the same order.  This is Billy Ray’s beautiful table and everyone enjoys his pride in it.

No we can’t put out delicate glass trinkets that he might be tempted to throw but Walmart and Target (and other places) have lots of great décor that are non-breakable and cheap.  We can enjoy the beauty without the risk.

The joy is just as great without the perfection.

Until tomorrow,
Peggy Lou


Bonnie sayers said...

Good tips for dealing with holiday gatherings. It is just the three of us so my kids have not experienced a family gathering with various decorations and food items.

This would be good to help Nicholas as he gets older to prepare for those instances.

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

I am always looking for ways to adapt and accomodate. I like your last line about joy without perfection.