Monday, December 6, 2010

Sensitive Santa @ Lloyd Mall: A Review

I found myself bellowing up the stairs at 8:30AM on a Sunday, something that this Heretic does not do on a regular Sunday -basis, for everyone to get up and at 'em: it was time to visit Santa.

For Olivia this would be the first time. Sure, we had peered around the corner at various Mall Santa's over the years, but despite my nudging, neither child was all that interested in standing in a line to sit on a strangers lap. And to be honest, I didn't have the greatest memories of that experience as a child - either I was scared and crying, or I felt uncomfortable and wished it to be over soon (Oh God, sounds like I am describing my first sexual encounter!). I never pushed THAT hard.

Isaac had been once before, under the power of a determined grandmother, when he was an infant. I don't even know where that photo is - good mothering, huh?

So we threw on clean, non-clashing clothes and hustled down to the Lloyd Center Mall. It had been going on for an hour already (I recommend going at the start of it - apparently 8AM was fairly empty, but we had a 30 minute wait).

The mall was empty save for the families, music was off, lights were low, and it really was a calmer experience for the kids. For the parents, not so much. There was a lot of checking out other families, talking about our experiences (where do you go for speech was a common question asked), soothing, distracting, and primping of children. And ages were across the board - from toddlers to teenagers. I am glad we went. But we will only go next year if the kids ask to.


Gonna sound bad now. Oh, I am not a bad person, I swear. But it was a bit scary for me. I looked at the older kids and wondered if that was going to be my future. One teenage boy had such a hard time that when it was his turn with Santa, he just dropped to the ground and had a tantrum. He was so large, trying to physically moved him would likely have hurt either him or someone else, so he was allowed to calm down on his own, a sight that agitated many others in line. But then, that was the beauty of it all. We got it. Each one of us. We knew that he just needed to find his calm space again, and all would be right with the world.

But still, is that going to be Isaac and I in 5 years? Are we going to hit a wall in our progress and not be able to hurdle it? I look at him-here he is doing his homework, fractions for crying out loud, he is not severe, he talks and shares and cares. But his anxiety can be a deal breaker, and will the hormone surge of adolescents see us out in public managing through a shut-down?

I don't think so. I hope not, anyway. Joining our little community this Sunday, nay, our Band of Brothers, reminded me that there are no guarantees.

And it freaked me out ever so slightly.

Will see about next year.


  1. Hi K. We were there. I looked for you. We probably missed you by 15 minutes. Tessa had a good time, I think. I was surprised that she was the only one who ran the escalators in sheer delight 20 times. She did a hop-skip dance for the lollipop prize. When she looks at the finished photo, she points to the spot, off the photo, where the lollipops would be if they were in the photo, and says,"lollipop". I was thankful that there were no tantrums while we were there. Tessa does not stand for that kind of display of emotion. I thanked Heather, the organizer, because this was our 1st St. Nick experience as well. How wonderful to make it free for asd families. I think I cried just feeling appreciative for someone getting it. For one kid, Santa actually got up and the dad sat in the chair with his son and Santa stood to the side.
    I know those moments when you see another family and you worry that you are looking at your future. I find it worse when I look at "typical" tween girls being giddy and gossipy with their arms around each other and I think, "will my girl ever have that experience?" But we also need to keep in mind this: how terrifying would it be for the pregnant me to think about raising a child with special needs? But I'm doing it. And I adore everything about her. Eight years ago could you possibly imagine the idea of raising two (fabulous, btw) kids on the spectrum? But you are! And you're doing great. One day at a time, my friend. ODAAT.
    PS - Tessa still has a doll named Olivia. :-)

  2. This post made me equally joyful and sad. and Meg's comment too. We didn't go. Maybe next year.
    and yes I feel all of those things over and over and over.

    Meg, are you pregnant? or am I so tired I'm misreading that?

  3. Thanks Meg - I wouldn't change my kids for anything. I remind myself that we might be taking our "road less traveled" to get to our destination, but we are still getting there.
    I always say this, but I would love to get together, even just with the moms. After the new year, we should try to set up a "date" for wine and whine.
    How are Ruby and Tessa doing at school?

  4. No, I'm not pregnant. I had my big Bon Voy-ovary event in October. And I'm okay with that. I'm happy to be here and healthy. I think we are going to get a puppy. ;-) I was referring to my past pregnant self.Yes, let's have a mom's night, shall we? XXOO M