Ever since Nate arrived, our holidays are not like usual holidays. Especially after Nate’s diagnosis, Chad and I go a bit overboard with gifts because our little guy works so hard each and every day. But with autism comes a fear of the new, a fear of change, a fear of change in routine. And what are holidays? Anything but normal. Think about it. On Christmas day, some guy magically breaks into your house and leaves you things. On Easter, a bunny does the same darn thing. And your birthday? Well, it’s a present bomb that really comes out of nowhere.
This past Christmas was the first time Nate actually opened presents. When he was younger, the sound of paper ripping terrified him but he seems to have moved past it. It also helped that, this Christmas, he realized there were things he wanted in those packages. While he usually takes three weeks to a month to warm up to new toys, we made sure that there were highly engaging items under the tree that he would want to play with from the start.
But Easter? It doesn’t make sense. America has americanized something yet again, associating a bunny with eggs (which can turn into the nonsensical phrase of “the bunny laid some eggs in our yard,” which did come out of Chad’s mouth this morning) and a rabbit hopping into your house while you are asleep and leaving you a basket of goods. In Nate’s case, this is what the bunny left him.
There’s not much candy in there because sweet treats are what Nate works for in therapy. We didn’t want to confuse the situation so we went with two big candy items — a handpulled lollipop (which looks nothing like the lollis he gets for potty training) and dark chocolate bunny ears. Most of his gifts are books (lots of Richard Scarry ones, which are full of images and name the items in each drawn picture), big coloring books ($3 each at Big Lots!), and stomp rocket to build gross motor planning and strength.
This is how Nate responded to his Easter loot when he woke up this morning….
I’m writing this post at noon. Nate woke up at 8 a.m. (he was up for a few hours last night….). The basket? Still unopened. What Nate did enjoy immensely was his Easter breakfast.
My friend Alexis posted this on Facebook and I accepted the challenge of making them. It’s a bunny from behind (note the fluffy whipped cream tail). I made the ears and feet using a squeeze bottle full of pancake batter. Super simple and Nate loved them. In fact, I’m pretty sure the whipped cream is his favorite part of the day because he found the bottle in the back of the fridge, brought it to me, and said, “Opa.”
We thought that this year Nate might get the concept of an Easter egg hunt. The Bunny was in a rush and just left us a basket of eggs for Nate, so I needed to go hide them in the front yard while Nate watched some Curious George with Chad. There were two kinds of eggs: the regular small ones, which contained caramel eggs and Reese’s peanut butter eggs, and bigger eggs, which held Hot Wheels.
I placed a bunch of the Hot Wheels eggs near the front door. We figured once Nate realized something awesome was in the egg, he’d get into the spirit of the event. Instead, this was the reaction we got.
In hindsight, we realized that Nate may have never gone outside through our front door. It’s original to the house, very hard to open, and rarely used. So that threw him off a bit. But seeing me in the yard hollering at him to come pick up some fake eggs was a bit more than his mind could handle today.
Eventually, Nate got into the spirit. Once he realized there was candy in the eggs (and he didn’t have to work for it), he was game….sort of. While I would have gobbled all of the candy, Nate only ate one mini caramel egg.
He also bit into a Reese’s peanut butter egg but he thought it was gross and left it for the squirrels.
Nate later took to throwing eggs on the ground so they cracked open (but didn’t care about the contents). He also played a spirited game of “catch the egg” with Chad.
Even so, we are excited for a lovely family day–a rare day with no work or no homework. Chad has even suggested that we go for teppan yaki for our holiday lunch. At the rate we’re going, it would make perfect sense.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Spring!