The holiday season is upon us once again, which means Connor's grand Christmas tree obsession is once again displayed in full force. Our local mall puts up 30 foot tall trees the week after Halloween, and Connor believes that we need to buy all of these trees and set them up in our living room so he can stare at them all day. You can track our progress through the mall by sound alone; the closer we get to the trees the louder his excited shrieking becomes.
Connor has a love-hate relationship with Christmas. On the one hand, he adores the lights, the music and of course the decorated trees. But by that same token, all of those things are extremely overstimulating for him. To a kid with sensory issues, the crowds, music blaring and blinking lights can quickly become a nightmare. We do our shopping in about fifteen minute intervals; any more than that and he starts spiraling towards a meltdown.
So when I take Connor shopping, we end up spending a lot of time hanging out in the bathroom. It's a pretty ideal place for Connor to calm down; the walls are smooth and white, the music isn't piped in nearly as loudly and I can turn on a faucet to muffle it further if need be, and there are no flashing lights or bustling crowds. When we go to a new mall or store during the Christmas season, the first thing I do is scout out where the restrooms are. That way I can make a quick retreat there if Connor shows signs of becoming overwhelmed.
Needless to say, we stay home on Black Friday. I'm pretty sure we'd get there, run to the bathroom and never emerge.
I'll be doing as much of my Christmas shopping online this year to keep Connor out of the mall. But we will make at least one trip there, though it probably won't be for shopping. I've promised Connor we'll go and see the trees.
Jess writes daily at her blog, Connor's Song.