Holiday shopping is so stressful and shopping for children with special needs adds additional challenges. Autumn Green shares her struggles with finding the right gift.
Christmas already! I cannot stand walking into a store to go doing Christmas shopping! Why, does it come so quickly…oh wait that was his birthday I was struggling with shopping for not to long ago.
I have two amazing boys. My oldest Austin, who is nine, and typically developing loves Science, Lego's, skate boarding, Tony Hawk, Wii games, and computer games to name a few. I can walk into the store and quickly fill a cart with gifts for him. Matter of fact for his 9th birthday I decorated his room using old skateboard decks for shelves. He loved it! Buying for him has always been easy and fun.
My youngest son, Yaakov, who is seven years old, well it is a different story. As I walk through the store you can hear me talking to myself. “Ummmm, what has he showed interest in this year? Stop it, it is easier this year than it has been in the past! He played Lego's with his brother twice this year. I could get him Lego's. He played connects with his brother five times this year. I can get him connects. What am I thinking? Whatever toy I buy for him will end up in his brother’s room being played with by his brother and not him! I hate shopping for him. Why couldn't I have a typical child? Okay, get over it, Autumn and shut up!”
From the time Yaakov was little it has been a struggle to find a prefect gift for him. I would buy him a present and he may hold it in his hands, but playing with it was hopeless. Instead, he would go get a washcloth out of the drawer and scrub the same spot on the floor over and over. Another dollar wasted.
It started getting better at five years old! He got into Pooh Bear, my mother had taken him to Build A Bear where he built his Pooh Bear. Pooh Bear became part of our family. He sat at the table with us during dinner, he wore all of my son’s clothes and my son also became interested in cooking so Pooh Bear cooked with us. I finally bought Pooh Bear clothes because my son would dress him in his clothes. Pooh Bear was quite a bit smaller and my son’s clothes would fall off and land on the floor somewhere in our house. Yaakov who has a lot of potty accidents would take off his dirty clothes and leave them somewhere on the floor in the house too. I finally got sick of not knowing which clothes Pooh Bear was wearing and what clothes my son wet in. So, I bought Pooh Bear clothes for Christmas one year along with cooking utensils for my youngest son.
Don’t misunderstand me… when I say I bought cooking utensils for my son that is what I actually did. I bought real cooking utensils, cake mixes, cookie mixes, pans, pots, and cookbooks. I did try to buy some toy cooking things, but that just wasn't acceptable to my five year old son. Oh-well I bought the real stud and he uses them, and for that matter so do I.
For his birthday this last year, once again I struggled. The only thing he is interested in is cooking and gardening. He has more things for the kitchen then I do. So that leaves me with gardening. Once again it was clear that the toys made for gardening weren't acceptable, so I bought real gardening tools, seeds, and flowers. He planted his garden and took care of it on his own for a while, but then he couldn't handle the watering any longer.
Christmas is here now, what do I do for him now that he is seven? He still enjoys cooking, but now he has picked up two new interests. SEWING and SWORDS! He already has four Nerf words, so I think I will have to consider a sewing machine. I guess it doesn't matter if there is a toy sewing machine or not because it will never be acceptable in his eyes. So I wonder where I can find a very cheap adult sewing machine for my seven year old son?
It has gotten easier buying for him, because he can tell me what he is interested in, but I feel so sad that I cannot just walk into a store and pick out a couple of toys and know that he will enjoy them. But, already he has adult cooking utensils and gardening stuff, and if I get him a sewing machine what is left?