Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Christmas, and Welcome 2015

This year has flown by, and ended rather well for our little family. After several months of hard work, a company Big A's employers were taking public finally listed. Despite several delays, the buzz was good, and in two days Big A had doubled his investment, earning us a small nest egg at long last.

After years of living hand to mouth, mortgaging our flat to subsidise Little A's education and praying our good health held, it was a relief to relax and take a breath and a break.

While the amount earned might not equal a lottery win, it was enough to pay off the mortgage and set up the beginnings of Little A's trust fund. Big A and I decided not to have another child, for a number of reasons not just financial, and this means we need to think far ahead to our son's future. While we continue to hope he will be able to find gainful employment at the end of his school years, we do want to be prepared so that he can live comfortably.

It seems an uphill challenge, with most people assuming he is an idiot until we explain that not speaking does not mean lack of comprehension, and he surprises them himself with his communication using a keypad. It is disheartening, as we know our child understands far more than even we know.

Our wish then, for the coming year, is that more people become aware, and exhibit understanding rather than skepticism with regard to autism in general. Come on then, 2015, bring it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Elf

All the dress-up opportunities at Little A's school this past term had an end goal - the Christmas concert. Late in November, Little A's teacher handed me a piece of paper with a photo on it of a cartoon elf, and a note explaining that Little A needed to bring a similar outfit to school in a week's time.

November and December are my busiest months at work, when I get very little sleep and skip weekday lunches entirely. Social engagements are grudgingly attended, and usually spent partially on the phone fo work. Naturally I cannot neglect housework in this time, and must also find, purchase, wrap, and deliver about a hundred Christmas presents for friends and family.

Finding an elf costume on top of all that would be nothing short of a Christmas miracle, and the shops I managed to visit had none in stock for seven year olds.

Two days to deadline, I sent a text to my crafter friend, asking her to pretty please make a collar and buttons for me to sew onto Little A's green top, which would be worn with red shorts, a Christmas hat (from several Christmas concerts past) and stripey socks sold by McDonalds for a charity fundraiser.

My crafting friend did even better and produced cuffs and a belt as well, and the end result was perfect. Little A dutifully performed at both the dress rehearsal and the concert, to the delight of his grandparents. Big A and I were on the other side of the island attending a friend's wedding and missed the show, but viewed the videos proudly.

Little A too viewed his videos repeatedly, and tried to make the Au Pair and myself "perform" reenactments. The costume bits remain sewed onto his green  top, to perhaps be used another day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Let it Snow

A few days before Little A's end of term Christmas programme, the family went on a weekend trip to the mountains. It was our last for the year, and Little A spent most of it on a horse. We.managed a boat ride and bowling game in between horse rides, and because it was December there was the additional treat of the Christmas Village.

Little A, like his father, adores the Christmas season which in our part of world without winter begins in October and ends just in time for Valentine's Day. Father and son love Christmas trees laden with ornaments, twinkling fairy lights and the accompanying festive accoutrements.

The mountaintop country club we stay at sets up a child size Christmas village of wooden gingerbread houses, churches and castles for the month of December, but so far we have always missed seeing it as we normally visit in September or October and then mid- January.

This year, we finally got to pay a visit. At 6pm, when the gates opened, there we were, and to our great suprise, the lights went on, music started, and "snow" came flying from the tops of the wooden buildings!

This "snow" consisted of soap suds blown through a special machine, and it was quite magical. Little A, who knew that Christmas meant winter and snow, was beside himself with joy.

Upon our return home, he set up his own Christmas land on our sideboard. A train, little houses and shops, toy trees, all the stuffed snowmen he could find, some ornaments off the tree, and of course, "snow". He shook talcum powder over his creation (as well as our entire flat) and added cotton wool balls.

Every winter-themed store display in the shopping centers we visited was examined closely, and when one shopkeeper told us foam snow was available at the craft supply store we bought an entire bag, which Little A delightfully threw everywhere.

Bubble baths have also become a daily feature, as "snow bubbles" must be made at every opportunity until "winter" is over and the holiday season past. We look forward to revisiting the mountaintop snow village in early January.