Christmas and New Year seem to have passed almost unnoticed for us this time around.
Other years have been fraught with 'ought to's, musts and should really's' but this year was so very different that the drama simply vanished.
I dare to even say it was close to being completely drama free.
We only attempted one outing over the Christmas period to a very dear friends house on Boxing Day and it went so well that I might even be brave enough to attempt a few more in the near future!
The Boxing Day trip was the first time Dominik has been to visit anyone at home since May 2014.
He finds visiting other people's homes very stressful because it firstly involves a trip in the car (sensory nightmare) and then the uncertainty of what there will be to do when he gets there, who will be there, what he will be allowed to eat, how long we have to stay and what will be expected of him. I try my best to prepare him but when you visit the homes of people with no real idea of what having a child with special needs entails, it is rather difficult to adequately prepare.
In this instance, we arrived to find that they were having a second Christmas Day...sigh. This meant the house was full of nieces and nephews, grandparents and extended family, none of whom we knew well...all exchanging gifts. This was unexpected as we were told it was simply a Boxing Day BBQ.
When we arrived to a room full of people and the first comments we received were about my children's clothes (Dominik in his slippers (no socks), Lily in a summer dress (no jumper)) that did not bode well! However, I took the time to explain that they both had sensory processing difficulties so that no, I would not force them to wear clothes that made them feel even more unhappy and uncomfortable than they already did, and things moved on swiftly.
The next hurdle was the abundance of food...which couldn't be touched as not everyone had arrived yet. My guys are not used to this kind of arrangement as usually, people are visiting us and it is our rules. They did however manage to leave the food alone until it was time. Success!
Then the present opening began. Now, all of you with children will understand how hard it is for a child to sit back and watch presents being opened when they themselves have none...and those with special needs children will realise that this is especially difficult for Dominik for has a strong need to be in complete control of his environment at all times. The lack of control during the opening of presents must feel horrendous for him. But, he did it. he managed to pretty much sit still and out of the way whilst the other children ripped open their gifts and gushed with joy! Success!
After we had eaten, Hannon fell asleep on the sofa (never happened before and I doubt it will ever happen again) and Dominik and Lily played happily with the other children (and chatted away to the adults) until it was time to leave. We stayed for a little over two and half hours and everyone was well fed and had a lovely time. I even received a compliment or two about how my children behaved. Success!
New Year 's Eve was also a great success. It seems that we are cultivating our own traditions for this special night. When I was a child, my parents would let me stay up and have a glass of Bailey's and then they would let me open the back door whilst they opened the front to let the old year out and the new year in.
Well, we have a Chinese takeaway, choose a movie from the year that we would all like to watch again (this year it was 'How To Train Your Dragon 2') and then we each write out a list of wishes (not really confined to resolutions although there are some in there), which we then burn and send off into the universe to manifest! It's becoming a truly special night for us and I can't imagine wanting to spend it any other way any time soon.
And now the New Year is here!
My first job in the New Year is usually to answer a letter from the Bedford Borough Elective Home Education Officer about the previous year's learning. I haven't received the letter yet but I am expecting it early next week.
This will take up a considerable amount of my time for the coming weeks as I do enjoy looking back on all my diaries and calendars and photo's and resources and books, and cataloguing how much things have changed and how far we have all come in what it is really, a very short time. It is a lovely way to remind us all just how much we love our little home school life and just how much we can achieve together.
I will of course share my reports with you all just in case you should be interested
In the meantime, I hope your New Year has gotten off the a great start too.
Here are a few Christmas snaps to wrap up the season.