Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Best Gifts of Christmas

Imagine the scene:

A Christmas tree beautifully decorated with colorful ornaments and lovely tiny white lights.  Delightfully wrapped gifts spread around its base in a dazzling array, just beckoning children (and teenagers!) to come close.  The tantalizing sense of anticipation.  The pleasure on the faces of the adults, observing the children (and teenagers!) take joy in the gifts they lovingly selected for each recipient.  The sweet chorus of "thank you" mingling in the air with Christmas carols playing softly in the background.

Does this sound like Christmas at your house?

Mine either.

While my big girls do a great job of getting in the Christmas spirit, opening up gifts with the appropriate and truly sincere "oohs" and "aahs", and giving genuine hugs of thanks to the gift-givers, Lily doesn't quite catch the spirit of the season in the same way.

The post from yesterday gave you the low-down on how our actual Christmas Day went so I won't go over that again.

One of Lily's biggest issues with Christmas is that she really could care less about the gifts.  She just doesn't get all the hype and the drama.  For a child who will rip any remotely paper product to shreds and bits (especially those items not intended for tearing), she will not touch a wrapped gift.

So we wrap only a couple things, just to let her try and see if this is the year she "gets it".

And we try handing her a new toy, excitedly pushing buttons to show her how it lights up, plays music and generally does every thing she likes in life, except maybe throw dark chocolates directly into her open mouth.

Her response?

She won't even look at it.  Or she'll glance at it, press one single solitary button, and then look at us like, "There.  Are you happy?  This toy is dead to me."

Wow.  That little girl is a tough crowd, let me tell you.

I've finally sold her grandparents on the best method of giving a present to Lily.

Set the unwrapped toy in her general area with a vague announcement.  "Here you go, Lily!"

Here's the clincher, though:  Walk away.

That's the hard part.

But if you try to "push" a present on the Bird, she will not respond in the way you want her to.

Whether or not this is autism or sheer stubbornness on her part, I'm not 100% sure yet.  I just know that letting her discover the toy in her own good time is the secret to getting the thing played with.

It can take as long as two weeks for her to actually "adopt" a new toy into the fold.  Then I let the grandparents know that it finally "took".

This year though, both sets of grandparents hit the jackpot.  They each gave Lily a gift that she took to almost immediately.  Even I was surprised at how quickly she responded.

Wondering which gifts the Bird thinks are the bee's knees?

The first one is the Cuddle Me Sensory Tunnel.  Lily's OT highly recommended one of these for us to have at home since she loves the one at the clinic.

Pinned Image
I'll have you know we whipped that thing out of the gift bag and the Bird knew exactly what to do.  I held one end open and she ducked her sweet head and crawled right in there, all snuggled up with the iPad.  She emerged a few minutes later, grinning from ear to ear.

And the next gift....

Philips PET741 DVD player
a portable DVD player.  I know what you're thinking... in this iPad/Netflix day and age, she goes and gets a DVD player??!?  But the Bird loves it.  She's even traded me the iPad for it a time or two, and that's saying something.

Now, I've got a plan for this DVD player that I'll share with you later.  Something like, an "electronics intervention plan", so to speak.

The gifts Ryan and I gave her?  Well, we're still waiting for ours to "take".  Sigh...

But, at least this year, we had two sets of happy grandparents and one happy little Bird.


  1. That is the key word "just walk away"
    Had to comment here as this sounded a lot like my elder daughter when she was small :-)

  2. T also loves the sensory tunnel!! I kinda half looked for one but not really. I'm so glad Lily is really taking to her very own!! Yay! It's so funny how alike our kids are - T stole the DVD player I gave his dad for Christmas a couple years ago and loved it!!

    It's funny you bring up this whole present opening thing. I used to get frustrated like that with T also. There was no getting his interest in something. He hated unwrapping. Now, he'll unwrap but he still gravitates to just a couple items (2 or 3 at the most) and leaves the rest boxed up- unopened and no one is allowed to go near or touch them. Sometimes, he will take something out in the middle of summer that he got for Christmas and suddenly announce "Out of box!" - and he means NOW! It's become such standard practice that I don't think twice about it anymore. I've always thought it might be sensory overload and sensitivity to sound that makes them unable to play with all the presents at once...

  3. SHE IS SOOOOOO much like our Lily. Frightening.

  4. Oh yes, know how this one goes! Our son is just now starting to play with some of his birthday presents- which he received in September. I'm hoping he'll take to a few of the Christmas presents by Easter. :)

  5. Sounds like Lily got just the right gifts! That's fantastic....for everyone ;-) That sensory tunnel thing is a FABULOUS idea. My 12 yo boy (PDD Nos) loves all his pressies but he loves 'comfty clothes' and anything with a hood. We also love our sofa snuggle wraps.

    xx Jazzy

  6. I love reading your stories, Lana, and I'm always humbled at how I can get all out of sorts because my kiddo screams horrible things at me or gets angry that the presents he opens aren't quite what he was expecting.

    Then I read your blog and realize I can be thankful that my boy does scream at me because it means he has words, and I can be thankful that he's mad that he didn't open what he wanted because it means he loves to get new things. The blogging community helps keep my life in focus and be thankful even for the frustrations. :)

    As for that dvd player- one of the BEST things anyone has ever given to Parker as well! It is a life-saver! Can't wait to hear your plans for hers :)

  7. Haddock - Thanks for the comment. Walking away is key....

    Karen - One of the reasons I'm really glad we've got older kids is that we've cut way back on the number of gifts. We'll keep that up as Lily gets older, too. It's sensory overload for everyone when there's too many presents!

    Jim - Maybe a case of separated at birth???

    Christy - On the upside, it does make the gifts last longer, right?

    Jazzy - Those sofa snuggle wraps are a great idea! I'll have to try one out with Lily and see if it helps her to sit still longer...

    Suzanne - That's why I love making connections through blogging. There's always someone out there who understands exactly what I'm going through. It encourages me and helps me remember to be thankful for what Lily is able to do.

  8. It's amazing what they like....and what they don't like. I'm glad you're dialed into her and she was able to enjoy gifts because you guys knew what would work for her. YAY!! Our Alex opened his bag (no wrapping either) and got an App gift card. He was happy as a clam.

  9. Lizbeth - Oh, I can't wait to hear what Alex buys with his app card! He's been ready for an upgrade to the "real" (read: paid) games, right??

  10. Cameron actually enjoyed the paper this year but could have cared less about the boxes until we actually put the toys together.

    That tunnel is great! I'm so happy she loved it <3

    I understand the DVD player as a gift. Been there done that. Those things are lifesavers!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...