< Upheaval: All wrapped up in Christmas

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All wrapped up in Christmas

"Every kid learns differently."

"Teach them in their 'learning language.'"

"There are different modalities for reaching kids. Try, then try again."

That is all stuff I know. From my background in early childhood to the challenge of teaching those with learning disabilities, I know this.

One of primary ways kids with autism learn is visual/spatial. These are kids who can do a 300 piece puzzle at age 5. They can reconstruct Lego buildings they have seen once. They memorize words and signs at a very early age.

Not me.

I am not visual/spatial.

At all.

This becomes painfully obvious around Christmas time when my joy in giving is replaced with utter anxiety of having to wrap all the gifts.

I hate wrapping gifts. The paper is always too big or too small or too thick. I have been known to do the "Tootsie Roll" with gifts, but I cannot even tell you how ugly it looks under my tree. I have "patched" places on wrapped gifts with OTHER kinds of wrapping paper.

To deal with this issue, I do several things to reduce my stress:

1) I wrap a few gifts a day. (I have tried doing them all at once, but that is usually followed by a couple of miserable days in bed, where I dream about tape and paper and sticker labels.)

2) I try to buy rectangular gifts. Clothes? Nope. Not unless in comes in a cube. Football? No way. Books? Yep. Decorative boxes? You know it. If it is a weird shaped gift, I wrap it "as is." So if you see a suspicious gift with your name on it that is shaped like a teapot, guess what? It is most likely a teapot.

3) I lay out everything in an assembly line and make my children watch television while I tackle my daily quota. I can wrap four gifts in the length of one cartoon off the DVR (22 minutes). They don't look great, but they are covered.

4) I use the same two rolls of paper for all gifts. Christmas or not.

5) I use tape. (GASP! I KNOW!!! Fancy people use glue sticks or adhesive strips, but not me. Tape. Scotch, if I have it. Masking or duct if I don't.)

6) I chop at paper. If one end of the gift has too much paper, I will chop it off and then fold the paper around the choppy part. This is not only efficient, but it relieves stress.

7) I don't even try to do ribbons. Puh-leeze.

8) I put sticker labels on the gifts and write on them with a Sharpie. No crafty printed cards or "gift adornments" for me.

9) Finally, I drink. A lot. While I am wrapping. So there are several days in December when you probably don't want to try to have a conversation with me. Cause it isn't that I am drinking alcohol. But I am sucking down sweet tea and Coke like there is no tomorrow, and the sugar buzz drives ME crazy, so it probably drives other people crazy.

Those are my handy tips with dealing with a visual/spatial deficit. Of course, there are always gift bags. But those will be recycled from my last baby shower and my name will be marked out.


Blogger Jennboree said...

*sigh* We are related, right? I loooove wrapping and adorning. I love doing all the gifts at once. I like the thick wrapping paper that requires glue to hold it in place. Ribbon makes me happy. I love stuffing stuff into decorative boxes or gifts inside gifts to surprise the receiver.

I guess that makes me more craftsy than anything else since I STILL couldn't do a 300 piece puzzle without yelling and shoving the ones that don't fit together just so I could be done.

I still love you, used gift bags and all.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha! That's great. I used my son's newsprint colouring paper for wrapping, how is that for cheap-o?

I am sure you do a great job. OH my sister works with autistic kids and she gave my just-turned-two son a huge gigantic what the heck puzzle that makes me crossed eyed and said (I quote her) "the kids at work just love it!!" that's right, because they are spatial/visual genious children!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

I cant say I feel your pain. There is something methodical about wrapping gifts for me. I do feel like it's a bit of a puzzle sometimes (with odd shaped objects) but love wrapping them all. I'm just realizing that too many in one night, and my simply becomes unhappy from being on the floor bent over and then screams at me when I attempt to stand back up. Therefore, I too take it in small doses. ;)

10:36 PM  

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