What I want for Christmas is.... a #specialsaturday post

I get very angsty about buying presents, for everyone, not just the kids.  I love it when I get it right and find something that I know will surprise and delight, but that happens only rarely.

Buying presents of any kind for Smiley is now a huge problem.  At 15, she is too old for most children's toys - and she knows it - but intellectually she is stuck at about the 2 year old level, and there are no companies that cater for that unusual combination!  So I give her time, treats and special outings as I did for her recent birthday, as well as DVDs, new clothes and pretty bags.  Last year Santa got her an an iPad, which we both share.  It has been fairly successful, but again I have the problem that most of the APPS for her intellectual level are too babyish*.

I have this need for things to be age appropriate for her.  So no bibs, no soothers and no rattles - and I've seen them used with her peers.  Ok so I know I have her in an adult buggy instead of a wheelchair, but that's because we live in Ireland.  It rains here.  A lot.  It gets cold.  The pavements and paths are bumpy.  And Smiley likes to go out, at least once a day.  Our lives would be much poorer if we only had the use of a wheelchair.

So back to the presents.  When she was younger, the best presents had some sort of cause and effect:

...Pull out jigsaws

...A telephone

...A box of small musical instruments

...A tea set including pots and containers in which to hide real food for her to find

...Picture/story books - she can listen and turn the pages

...A dolls house

Smiley chose this herself

 ...Pop-up toys

...Something to hold - every child is different, mine likes brushes, combs, tennis rackets and the upright bit from the Connect Four Game - don't ask...

...And for when she is bored with everything else: her portable DVD player.

My best advice?  Take your child on a tour of a toy shop and ask them to 'show' you what they would like from Santa.

As for aspie boy, his anxiety now means that he cannot make a decision.  He will nag and nag and nag until he gets me to order the latest game from Amazon and then five minutes later he will start to backtrack and say he doesn't really want it after all.  With the number of cancelled orders on my account I'm surprised they haven't blocked me yet!  

I need to make Christmas special for him too, but at the moment I don't know how...

*I'm drafting a post about her favourite iPad APPS


  1. I found you through the comment you left on my blog. I came to find out why you are overwhelmed atm. I am humbled by the challenges your family face. You have my greatest respect.

  2. My oldest does the anxiety thing too--"I want it, I want it, NO DON'T GET IT." So I listen to him then go behind his back and buy it! It works for him, although I can see it making some mad.

    The hardest to buy for has been my more affected middle son. The best sign of his progress? I can now pick out presents for him. Before he was too random, picked things apart, broke them before he could enjoy them.

  3. Christmas is hard work I think. My aspie daughter is similar to your son with anxiety over presents. Because she wants perfection, she gets worried about not getting her present list right. As for my son, he has more narrow interests which is all he wants. Easy to buy for in a way but he can't cope with a lot of presents and gets easily overwhelmed with the whole christmas thing. Meltdown season I call it. Anyway, hope the christmas shopping goes smoothly. Deb xx

  4. I totally get the whole running out of options thing re the Christmas presents for your disabled child. In fact for a long time it used to totally depress me! I have learnt to not be so hard on myself and just try my best.

    It sounds like you do do your best but I totally understand how stressful it is to just get it right. I am now in the way of thinking that if people don't appreciate my gift then ce la vie :)

  5. I hate the anxiety over presents & the indecision. Creates so much stress! Hope Xmas is as stress free as it can be. X

  6. Great advice here. Chrissy loves her portable DVD player too. The dolls house looks marvellous!
    Hard to please everyone sometimes though isn't it? Never more so than at Xmas..x

  7. C, I think you are marvelous & I have the utmost admiration for you. When I read your blog, I am truly humbled. You are one courageously special lady.

    Love Trich

  8. I think the iPad/iPod option is brilliant because it is always evolving, you can delete and add apps as you please at relatively little cost so no need to worry that you got the wrong ones. It must be a challenge x

  9. I get all anxious choosing gifts for everyone, and I mean everyone as I get to do 4 people's Christmas shopping! I hate it, really I do. I limit myself to time and certain shops as I don't do well with too many choices. It must be extremly difficult for you now that Smiley is older and Aspie Boy is Aspie Boy! You do a wonderful job though and I know it'll all turn out right;-)

    xx Jazzy

  10. ditto what lindylou said.

    Is there a saving route by talking w/ your aspie boy about changing expectations - one large gift or several very small gifts? (Probably have to change your expectations, too.) Is he able to understand the feelings of the giver (himself) and prepare for Christmas as a giver (himself)?

    Would it help you to have him tell his best Christmas memories - getting a clue of what is meaningful to him?

    I am confident you will do just fine. Barbara

  11. Hi!! Oh..I feel your angst..I do. Present buying makes me anxious..I don't know if you have this service over there..but here in the states we have "gamefly" it is a game club in which you pay for a years subscription-and you have access via mail to any game you want to play..kind of like video rental for games. Perhaps a years membership to this sort of thing would work for your boy?
    I'm glad you have a way to take your wonderful smiley out everyday..Do you have Nintendo Ds there? I'm sure that you do...perhaps because she likes the Ipad so much-you could try one of those? You might find that you have more choices of things for her to do...just grasping at straws here-I'm so not good in the gift dept...

  12. I completely forgot to mention that this post was my contribution to this week's Special Saturday online campaign to raise awareness of children with special needs. More information at:

    Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday

    Twitter – follow @Specialsat and use the hashtag #specialsaturday

    The Blog – http://specialsaturday.org/

    Wendy at the Savette Gazette – http://www.savette.com/category/special-saturday/

    And thank you to everyone who commented...

    @Midlife Singlemum - thank you so much for popping over and for your lovely comment :)

    @spectrummom - that sounds tough, especially toys always being broken before they can be enjoyed ((hugs)).

    @Deb - yes, meltdowns have been a feature here too. Here's hoping we both have a more peaceful Christmas this year x

    @lyndylou - c'est la vie is what I'm aiming for x

    @jontybabe - it's a pity that Christmas seems to be so much about anxiety and stress.

    @Jane Gregory - It's just a high street dols house but with lots of easy to open doors and windows and other bits and pieces to play with :)

    @Irishminx - thank you Trich xx

    @Actually Mummy - I agree x

    @Jazzgal - glad it's not just me xx

    @TherExtras - Thank you so much, I think you mean stepping back and looking at what Christmas means to my kids and what is really important to them, which I know I should do.

    @kathleen - 'game fly' does sound interesting. I don't think it is available over here, but I bet there is a gap in the market for it x

  13. Oh and one more thing, I will pop over and visit you if I haven't already, just having a crazy busy week xx