I read a little article this morning: http://specialneedsparenting.net/dealing-holidays/ about the holidays and how they effect special needs kiddos. What she wrote really hit home because Maeve tends to have difficulties especially around this time of year. Josie handles everything fine and enjoys participating in all the goings on and infrequently has difficulties. Maeve, on the other hand, will initially get overwhelmed when we decorate the house; but warms up and becomes curious about all the decorations after a few days. We have to make sure that we use non-twinkling lights because the twinkle lights tend to agitate her and set off her seizure activity. Shopping with her this time of year is no fun for anyone! Just this morning we had to pick up a few things at the shop and we walked into a throng of people that even I didn’t expect. I could instantly feel Maeve’s anxiety ramp up. Her compression vest, chew tube and joint compression didn’t even help. By the time we were in the check out line she was rocking in the cart and emitting a constant stream of yells. Once we got out to the car she seemed to settle a bit; but it was just too much for her. As far as gatherings go, she tends to get overexcited but seems to handle the event fine. Afterward is when the finally-processing-everything-oh-my-goodness-that-was-way-too-much-for-me-to-handle meltdown happens and I know it is just her way of dealing with all the stress of the day. I notice an increase in all of her stims during and after gatherings as though she is trying to calm everything that is going on around her by focusing her mind on: flapping, tearing, plucking, sifting, spitting, chewing, jumping, spinning, etc. Though others may view our way of celebrating the holidays as atypical to most families we have our own modified traditions that suit us just fine.