Tag Archives: parenting

All I want for Christmas

Does anyone else dread being asked what their kids want for Christmas?

The answer, in regards to my four year old girl, is easy. EVERYTHING. If there has been a commercial for it, she’s all about it. It doesn’t matter if she knows what it is – it’s on TV, and therefore she must have it.

With Katie, it just isn’t simple. Most ten year old girls want all sorts of things – makeup, nail polish, sparkly anything. Katie still loves to watch the TV shows she watched when she was two and three years old. I try to give her a chance to watch the latest Disney shows and boy bands, but her response is usually to start screaming. Smart kid.

Anyway, people ask me what they should get for her. I have to say, I hate this question. I hate it. I hate that I don’t have many good answers. I can tell people her clothing sizes. I can direct them to the baby toy aisle – anything requiring fine motor skills is out of the question. I can confirm that she still watches Sesame Street, and what videos she has.

I want more for her than this. I know there must be more out there that she would love. I hate that I can’t get it for her, but even more, I hate that I can’t even figure out what it is.

People mean well when they ask this question, but I’ve pretty much stopped answering it. I don’t have answers. This has actually led to a good thing. Now more people are brainstorming about what Katie might like. More people willing to take a chance on this or that toy. And that has resulted in Katie getting a few things I never would have considered picking up for her.

One year, her teacher gave her a singing dog. Like, LOUD. This cheesy critter dances in place and howls to the music. It has been adapted so that she can use a big switch to make it go. I never would have pegged this for something she would want.

She loves it.

So, this is what Katie wants for Christmas. She wants you to think of her, and to use your imagination. Maybe you’ll hit on something really great.

Thank you. Now shut up.

Shortly after Katie was diagnosed, I was given a copy of the essay, “Welcome to Holland”. Odds are, you’ve read it. If not, go here. I’ll wait…

So, the Holland essay gave me a little comfort in the early days, and gives the overall message that things will be a little different, but they will still be cool.

Later, I read a piece called Schmolland. Read it, right? If no, you should – it’s great.

This one also spoke to me at a time when I was really feeling like I lived on my own planet. Play dates? No! Stress! Invites? What are the circumstances, will there be an easy escape, will it be during nap time, is there room for a wheelchair, is there a place I can change a four foot tall person’s diaper?

I still feel like I’m from my own planet sometimes, but much less than in the past. I know so many parents now, it’s like we made our own country. I have learned, finally, that this is normal. Not “normal” (do you see air quotes?), but really, just normal. I worry about my kids. Both of them. I rejoice in both of them. They give me utterly different causes for stress, and also very similar ones.

Every once in awhile, someone thinks they are complimenting me by saying something like, ‘I couldn’t do what you do! You’re so strong!’. Have you gotten this?

If you’re one of the people who says this, let me just say 1. Thanks. and 2. Shut up.

Parenting is not for wimps, and it isn’t for people who do things halfway. Are you a parent? Do you believe you couldn’t do it if your kid needed something more, or different, or whatever? Give yourself more credit. If you are faced with a challenge, you will handle it.