We host Christmas Eve at our house, so there's always quite a bit of activity then, plus Christmas is full, and then post Christmas Christmas, which is what all married couples do, where they travel from house to house, Christmas to Christmas, so that each family can be "Together on Christmas" if only for a little while. Then after all the Christmases are over there's New Year's Eve, then the taking down of decorations and taking back of presents. And, at least in our case, the visiting of various doctors and specialists and on and on.
So there's never been a good time to get started on a blog about Christmas Eve, so I'll try to make it short and sweet. I'm almost pathologically incapable of that, but if it's under two pages single spaced let's agree that's "short".
Each Christmas Eve we host my sister and her kids, my parents, and my in-laws for supper. We meet at our church beforehand, and afterward we return to our house. We cook surf and turf; filets are grilled and lobsters boiled. After dinner we drink wine or eggnog or whatever, eat Christmas cookies and open one present each. Then everyone leaves and I put the spudlings to bed after reading, "The Night Before Christmas", which I could have sworn was actually supposed to be called, "A Visit From St. Nicklaus", but whatever.
I paid lip service to keeping my expectations for Lily's behavior grounded, and I think if I'm being honest, we did pretty well by her. She was pretty good all-in-all, but for some reason she was pretty revved up before church. Maybe it was the changing of the clothes or the taking of the pictures, but she was very stimmy and had a lot of weird facial tics going on, and I wasn't sure how she'd do at church. I tried to take pictures of the kids before church, and these represent the best pictures of Lily, and Lily and Emma together (respectively) that I could manage.
After about the tenth picture Emma started to lose interest and there are about ten more pictures of her draped impatiently over the ottoman, contorting her body into ridiculous poses of exaggerated disgust, praying for me to end the torture so she could go back to whatever it was she'd been doing before I started taking pictures.
|Worst. Day. Ever.|
And we got to church without incident. Usually I sit in the car with Lily, because she doesn't like being cooped up, and I don't really like church all that much, so that's a win-win for us. . . but today, what the hell! We went in. And you know what? She was pretty darn good.
Except then we did some preemptive damage control with the people in front of us. We sorta laid it out like this (in a nutshell): Hi, we just wanted to give you a heads up that our daughter is autistic, and sometimes gets into other people's space and may actually toss a cheez-it or two in your hair at some point during the service so. . . we'll do our best to keep your hair clean if you'll do your best to be patient with her and us.
Yes, we played the autism card early. I think that's actually sort of appropriate and polite to do when you know people around you are all packed in tight and may not be super understanding of a six year old tossing things like half chewed fruit snacks into the hoods of their coats.
Anyway, the older lady, she was probably in her early seventies, was really nice and understanding and even went so far as to get right down on Lily's level and attempt to make friends with her. Which was when Lily slapped her right across her face.
|"And that's why your daddy is going to hell."|
Of course I didn't really say that. I was mortified and we apologized and moved Lily into the pew behind us with my sister. Actually, it was funny because my in-laws and parents had gone early to get two pews saved for us, and I told Leslie, "That's a great idea, because then Lily will sit behind family instead of strangers, and it won't stress us out if she decides to yank on family's hair vs. random stranger's hair."
But when we got there, we still put her in the front pew until she slapped the friendly lady right in her friendly face, and then logic prevailed and she moved back to sit with her aunt.
It was pretty cool, because Lily doesn't get to see her Aunt Dawn as often as she'd like, so for whatever reason she was absolutely riveted by everything and anything that came out of her mouth, and they'd stand and sit and stand again (at the prompting of some unspoken shared catholic hivemind), and my sister talked quietly to her and kept her out of mischief.
All-in-all, it was a pretty good day for her at church, behaviorally, (lady slappings notwithstanding) and the only real issue she had was such a dramatic one that it could have tainted the whole thing for us, but I(we) was(were) really in that whole keep things realistic zone, and all "I don't know that lady, so Lily can slap her silly for all I care," so while it was sort of a bummer, it was nothing we couldn't move past.
I left just after Mass with Lily because she was starting to get a little antsy, and Leslie and Emma rode home with the rest of the family to meet us a few minutes later. She stayed dry until we got home, where she had an accident and I changed her into jammies (why doesn't the blogger dictionary recognize "jammies"?) for the evening (it was about 5 p.m. at that point). After dinner she started spinning out of control and that's when we applied the lesson from her birthday, which was: "She doesn't like opening presents like we want her to like opening presents" and when it became apparent that she was extremely tired (lots of yawns, eye rubbing and "behavior"). . . I read her the story, and put her to bed, saving her extra present for the next morning. . . and it didn't faze her one bit.
The rest of the evening went great until the Bumpus' damn dogs ran through the open screen door and knocked the turkey on the floor ruining Christmas!
Or possibly that last part was a movie. I told you it's been too long!