I think this was one of the best Christmases we've ever had.
I loved all of my presents (even though I chose all but a small few! *grin* ... or maybe because I did! *grin!!*)
The best present ever? Grandma and Poppy gave us a new (to us) van!! We finally have a vehicle that seats the whole family!
My dad and his wife gave us several hundred dollars before Christmas to buy presents with, so the kids had a great Christmas too. No one got iPhones or iPods (except the one Bear stole - but he doesn't get to keep that one), but even if we had a ton of money they wouldn't have gotten them anyway. The kids are tough on electronics and I don't think they need that kind of stuff anyway.
The second best present? I think we've finally found a med combo that works for Kitty.
Her behavior wasn't perfect, but she's doing great. On Tuesday, her doctor bumped up her Abilify and the difference is astounding! No meltdowns, no whiny fits that someone got a better present (see last year's hair highlights meltdown). When I forced the kids to do a deep clean when doing their chores (sometimes sending them back five times or more - which in the past has triggered mega meltdowns), Kitty was able to handle it with no more complaining than any of the other kids did. Usually something like this is perceived by her as a criticism and she just can't handle it.
She's been genuinely affectionate. She's seeking me out. She offers to help even though there is no direct reward. She lets me touch, hug and kiss her without her express permission! She takes redirection and criticism (she put dirty clothes back on after a shower and was really stinky and I told her so). She even handled washing dishes! by hand! when it wasn't her job! just because I asked! without screaming, crying, or meltdowns!!
Developmentally she's still about age 7 (yes, I've bumped her up from 4-6 yrs) so she is still delayed, but this is not a bad thing attachment wise. 7 year old girls can hold Mom's hand in public (well, not at school or where her friends might see her but still!). She's nowhere near caught up to Bob, but no more line of sight supervision. Right now the girls are down the street visiting with a neighbor girl.
Perfect timing on the new car and Hubby starting his new job. Now I can work a little longer while Grandma deals with the little kids and I can leave work in time to pick up Kitty (and Bob) from middleschool. This gives me another 45 minutes at work, and saves Grandma a ton of driving (we'd decided that she would go to our house and pick up Ponito from elementary school -and three days a week she picks up my niece and nephew, then she'd have to take all the younger kids with her to meet the girls at school, take the girls' friends home - aren't they sweet to volunteer Grandma to drive all over the neighborhood?, then come pick me up at work and take us all back to the house).
Now Grandma can stay and hang out with the littles and I'll go pick up the girls. That way I get the after school chatter. You know that time when they have their guard down and they're stuck in the car with you so you hear actual stuff, without having to wait for it all to come out in therapy.