But, but, theotherlion, in that last post about Christmas you didn't even mention a meltdown. What gives? Do we have to kick you out of the special-needs club?
Uh, no. He still broke his brand new red truck from Santa when he threw it down the stairs, woke up between 5:00am and 6:00am every morning, and melted into a giant puddle of tears and face-slaps on New Year's Eve over being temporarily denied the privilege of wearing his pajamas.
Honestly, though, he did awesome. Every year gets easier and we have several things working in our favor. The first is that our family is extremely relaxed. The second is that we stay in the same giant house each year with space to either be with other people or be alone. There's also the part where I bring about 5,000 comfort items from home to help him feel safe.
This year those items included the following:
Two packages of hard salami, a loaf of bread, and mustard for sandwiches
A 64oz bottle of Welch's Grape Juice
Chips and cheese sauce
Generic Lucky Charms
Two cans of Very Cherry Fruit Cocktail
A beach towel
His toys (a rocket ship, several trucks, markers)
A portable DVD player and a variety of DVDs
His iPad with newly purchased episodes of his favorite shows (the place we stay does not have internet)
Clothes that were mostly pajamas and sweatpants
The book "No, David"
I don't know about your child, but mine does not like eating or using the bathroom when we travel, hence the grocery list. He also becomes very anxious around large groups of people; there are at least 24 people who attend this gathering, sometimes 30 -- so he gets full access to his own media and comfortable clothes. I refuse to spend three days arguing over movies and wardrobe; I want to enjoy my time with my family.
Last year he ONLY ate chips with cheese and maybe two hot dogs. This year, he still finished off the special groceries I brought, but he also tried some of the other food that was made at each meal. He also only had one and a quarter meltdowns, which is pretty good.
And the early wakings? Well, that's what the nachos are for, duh!