Things have changed so much since Anna was a baby 8 years ago. During Anna’s first Christmas, she was only 9 months old and couldn’t crawl yet, but she liked to sit in her exersaucer. Imagine my surprise one day when I found her right next to the tree (still in her exersaucer and quite a way from where I left her!)
She had figured out how to rock the exersaucer back and forth to move it inch by inch and she made her way over to the tree. This was just before she started wearing her glasses so it probably looked like a giant, colorful blob. She also put everything into her mouth so those pesky tree lights were just too tempting. This was the first of many Christmases where we had to watch her like a hawk. By the time she was three, we almost didn’t even put up a tree. She would take all the ornaments off, put them in her mouth, throw them on the floor, etc. We tried putting a gate around the tree, we moved all the breakable ornaments to the top, but still it was a battle and almost not worth the hassle.
That was the year I got smart. We got a pre-lit tree (my mom’s brilliant idea and MUCH easier to deal with) and I found unbreakable plastic ornaments at Walmart that looked like real glass ones. We bought loads of them and we found plastic hooks too. Safe!!! She could have at it and we didn’t have to worry about her hurting herself. I also found some red bows that had twist ties and those added a nice touch. I did feel sad that I couldn’t have the tree *I* wanted, but when you have a child with special needs, you find ways to adapt and be happy.
This year, I went back to my artificial tree without lights and lit it myself. There are 1400 white lights! We put breakable ornaments back on the tree this year too. Anna understands the danger now, she doesn’t put everything in her mouth anymore, and she appreciates the beauty of the finished tree. She was so helpful in decorating it, as was Dominic. I had to make sure they had an even amount of duties since Mr. Pickle is quite aware of equal shares right now. But they were charming and we really did have a lot of fun.
Here is our Christmas tree for the 2009 holiday season! Since I’m staying with my mom right now, we combined some of our ornaments and some of hers to make a silver, gold, and red tree. I think it turned out beautiful! It is just a magical feeling to plug it in that first time with all the ornaments on and see their faces light up with wonder.