Monday, December 31, 2012

It's a Christmas Miracle!!!!

Some of you with young kids may be familiar with the holiday video, "Elmo's Christmas Countdown." In it, Elmo and Stiller the Elf* try to save Christmas by recovering pieces 1-10 of the Christmas counter-downer so that Santa will come. 

*I find it more than a little ironic that Ben Stiller, who I'm fairly sure is Jewish, plays such a prominent role in a Christmas video, but oh well. It's precious.

The video is a seasonal favorite at our house. Luke watched it a TON last year, and when we busted it out early in December, his smile lit up the house. Before too long, he was watching it at least once a day, and as often happens with kids on the autism spectrum, it became one of his scripts**, so we heard excerpts of the video often, even if we weren't watching it.

**Scripting is a form of echolalia. In short, many kids with autism engage in repetitive behaviors as a way of dealing with uncomfortable stimuli/overwhelming situations. So, scripting means Luke will repeat TV shows, songs, etc. that he knows well as a way to bring order to his external setting. That is my very unprofessional explanation. And while most recommend these repetitive behaviors should be minimized and redirected, frankly, when they take the form of adorable Christmas songs - and/or words when, for a long time, we didn't know that we'd hear Luke speak - we let him script. His little voice is the best. 

I'm writing a REALLY long preface here, but the long and short is this: the highlight of Christmas day to me was when we were at my parents' house for family lunch. Luke found some numbered blocks - 1-10, of course - and was getting US, his family, to re-enact the video! For example:
Luke (grabbing block #10, running up to one of us - not JUST his parents, which is UH-MAZE-ING, pulling our hands out, and propping the block on our hand): It's box number 10! 

Me/Jeremy/Chosen Family Member: Box number 10! 

Luke (singing) - Ahhhh....yahhhh***.... IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!! 

***Ahhhhh...yahhh = hallelujah =D

{lather, rinse, and repeat for boxes 9, 8, 7, 6 and so on, all the way down to 1.}

Did I mention that this included sustained, soul-gazing eye contact between Luke and each member he did this with?
It may not seem like much, but I wanted to document it here since, over time, I suppose the years may dim the memory. There was a time when I didn't know if Luke would speak... but here are words. And while they're a script, he engaged in INTERACTIVE pretend play. Progress, y'all. God is so, so good!
ANYWAY... Christmas. :) Let's get back to the pictures/bullet points. : ) 

Here are our cookies we left for Santa. Pregnant Me went a bit Pinterest recipe crazy.

When we woke up, we found our stockings all lined up on the couch!

And here is the tree and Santa's stash for Luke: a bean bag chair, a giant Mr. Potato Head, a keyboard, some books, and a puzzle... Luke was on the Nice List, indeed! 

Naturally, as kids do, Luke gravitated towards the cheapest of the gifts. (Seriously... why is that?)
Here he is checking out his Lightning McQueen keyboard.
He's opening a present from Mommy and Daddy...
Inexplicably, I failed to take pictures at my parents' house, which is where we headed next. I don't know why. :( Resolution for 2013: take more pictures at every event, and not just of Luke and his baby sister! 

We had a white Christmas, so when we came home from Honey and Grand's, we bundled Luke up to check it out. 

The verdict? Frankly, he couldn't have cared less. Poor little guy was about Christmased out, I believe. He was all too happy to come in and play with his familiar toys.

We hope that your Christmases contained their own share of miracles. I know I'm excited that this time next year, we'll fill another stocking and celebrate another little Roberts joining the team. 

I'll close with a line from O Holy Night that moved me deeply this season: 

"Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love, and His gospel is peace." 

Merry Christmas to you all - God bless you and yours always and in the new year!

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