Every year around this time I get the question, "Is your son excited about the holidays?" And I give the same answer, "I do not know."
Since he rarely shares his feelings in a way we can understand, it's hard to know what is going on in his head. I wonder, if he's like Tommy, and does not know what day it is. We do not know if he knows about the concept of Santa Claus. He is nine, and probably on the cusp, or past the time most kids start realizing the truth about Christmas.
A few weeks ago my friend Teri let me know about an event that was taking place at the local mall where she works. It was a Sensitive Santa event, in which special needs children could take in Santa's workshop and visit with him in an environment that is much more laid back and quieter than usual. It happened on a morning in which the mall was not open yet, lights were low, music was turned down and crowds were non-existent. The event coordinator asked me what snacks my son liked, what he like to do, and what could be done to make the visit enjoyable for him. I let her know about the only thing he might enjoy are lollipops.
We got to the mall at the designated time and Teri was waiting for us at the door and took us down. There were crafts they could make, coffee, juice and other snack items available. The coordinators really did a good job welcoming us.
We had only taken him to see Santa once or twice before, there is one picture of him at about the age of two or three screaming in Santa's lap, and we were wondering how he would do now. Here's a pic from his first Christmas, not with Santa.
When we got to Santa, he was seated and N. walked around a little, looked at Santa, put his hands on his eyebrows and gave him a kiss on his forehead. Unbelievably sweet. Santa got out a Tootsie Pop and he took it. He was not interested in sitting on Santa's lap, but sat on the floor at his feet. Santa pulled out a small footstool and my son sat on that.
The mall staff also took some pictures, showed me what they had an printed a couple of them out, for free. Send them to my mother, she's wanted a picture of him with Santa for years. Just wanted to say Tuttle Mall did a really, really cool thing for families of special needs children this year. I commend their staff and thank them very much.