Happy Easter! I hope your family is celebrating today in its own unique way.
We are enjoying our Easter rituals, which conclude today with an Easter basket, egg hunt (with real eggs we colored instead of plastic eggs – a first this year!)
and a visit to Dad’s great-grandma’s house to (hopefully) eat ham, bread and cupcakes per our social story. I probably should have confirmed the ham part ahead of time, but we’ll deal with that later. The most important part is the cupcakes, which we are bringing.
To family reading this blog post, rest assured we are bringing a plate of cupcakes that aren’t covered in little boy saliva.
Like everything else, we do our Easter morning a little differently than most families. The biggest thing is the Easter Bunny – he isn’t a part of our holiday, just like we don’t do Santa at Christmas or the Tooth Fairy. Tosh just doesn’t understand a magical being who shows up at your house overnight and leaves things. And even if he did, he freaks out when you tell him things are a certain way, then backtrack and present a different truth. The revelation that the Easter Bunny or Santa aren’t real wouldn’t be worth the fun, even if he did play along. But that’s okay with me. There is plenty of real magic to explore in the world.
Tosh’s Easter basket contains the same things each year: gummy bears (the only candy he likes), paratroopers and wind-up toys, a new tradition this year because he’s old enough to play with them without breaking them, and he is pretty obsessed with wind-ups these days. The paratrooper ritual began a couple of years ago when I included some in his Easter basket, and ever since, any discussion we’ve had about Easter usually includes him playing for me old videos of him dropping his paratroopers from the stairs on Easter, his way of making sure I know that’s what he wants as his holiday gift.
Both the paratroopers and windup toys came from Amazon, and were pretty inexpensive. As always, the key to success for our family is disposable. Eventually, or maybe even immediately, these toys will break. And that’s okay! Thankfully, Tosh isn’t attached to toys. He definitely has his favorites, but if they break or are lost, he just shrugs and moves on.
It’s tempting to wallow in all the ways autism makes parenting more difficult, but sometimes it makes things easier. This is one of those ways. I’ll take it!
He also receives a chocolate rabbit, and it has to be the Palmer one. He doesn’t like chocolate, so he doesn’t eat it, but he learned in a book or video somewhere that you’re supposed to get a chocolate bunny, bite off the ears and then laugh because he can’t hear. So that’s what we do.
The Easter egg hunt is a long-haul commitment, because once he finds the eggs, he wants me to hide them so he can find them again. And again. And again. And again. Thankfully, the paratroopers and cupcakes are a good distraction.
I hope your Easter is filled with fun and your own unique magic! I’ll leave you with this wonderful passage from The Velveteen Rabbit, which I think is especially applicable to special needs families.
Heather Anderson is a blissfully happy autism mom and lover of life in Southern California who is on a mission to help autism parents rediscover their happy place.
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