Dear Santa,

I assume you’ve been tracking my gift list this Christmas – the perfume and earrings, the festive socks and fuzzy sweaters, the iTunes gift card and Tuscan wine basket. Easily wrapped presents that are generally satisfying and non-offensive. Well, I’m writing to tell you it’s all BS.

Forget about that list. I chose those things to gratify my relatives, sort of like when I put the crystal candlesticks on my wedding registry, though in reality I just needed a box of votives and a lighter. But, you know, who over the age of five wants to give a present they can pick up at the 99 Cent Store?

The point is, my real wish list is not so pretty and PC. It’s a little unorthodox, which is just what my family has grown to be. You could describe my son as a bull in a china shop, only he’s also waving a lightning bolt in each hand while grinning infectiously. His little sisters are identical twins, and they don’t miss a beat of their brother’s behavior modeling. We call them The Thugs. My poor husband is ready to pepper spray the next person who gets me talking about biomedicine, and our constipated dog has more accidents than a toddler.

So what do you expect? I spritz a little Chanel No. 5 on myself, and suddenly I’m bulletproof? (Not a bad idea, by the way. Can your elves create that?)

Between you and me, Santa, here is what I really wish for this holiday season:

  1. A date night that doesn’t gut us financially. There’s only so much we can budget for when we’re paying $18 per hour on top of the dinner bill. Can you please move in a dependable teenager down the street, or whisper into the ears of my single friends when they don’t have any other plans on a Saturday night? Our kids go to bed early, our fridge is always stocked, and we stream Netflix, Apple TV and HBO NOW in surround sound. Babysitting does not get any better than this.
  2. An android tablet powered only by physical exertion. Your elves will definitely need to help with this one. Can you program it so that my kids must do twenty jumping jacks before it will switch on? Then it should go into screensaver mode every thirty minutes, and stay that way until it tracks them running a full lap around the block. Finally, the Minecraft app should be tweaked so that no new worlds can be stored until the kids have clocked in 10 minutes of exercise on our play gym out back. Oh, and a shatterproof screen, please.
  3. A year’s supply of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day spray in Iowa Pine scent. Voila, my answer to perfume. Forget that it’s a great all-purpose cleaner, this stuff is like Prozac in a spray bottle. It makes me inexplicably calm and cheerful every time I clean my countertops. You know that first whiff of a freshly-cut Christmas tree entering your house? This is that, exactly that. Over and over again, and without the mess of loose needles. Heaven.
  4. A playdate at someone else’s house. Granted, it’s easier for my son to be in his home environment while we ask him to pretend-play like a typical kid, and I do understand that my three aren’t the quietest crew, and the furniture at our place is far more child-friendly (i.e. permanently stained)… but it would be just amazing if someone else stepped up to host once in a while. Don’t be bashful, now. I’ll bring over some chicken nuggets, my Prozac spray, and a bottle of wine, and it will all be ok. Really.
  5. Separate tracking devices for my keys, my wallet, my iPhone, my favorite NARS lipgloss (Chelsea Girl – Mrs. Claus would love it), my bottled water, and my bra. Remember the inconspicuous, self-adhesive little devices you gave me last year so I would stop misplacing the kids? Well now I need them for everything else I own.

That’s all. It’s a short list, and I’m not going to lie, Santa, my hopes are high this Christmas. I’ve been really good and nice all year. And just to demonstrate, I’m putting extra chocolate chips in your cookies, which will pair well with a glass of your favorite scotch while you’re here – I stocked up. So please feel free to take your boots off and relax during your late night visit. ☺

Just don’t wake the kids.

Yours truly,

An Autism Parent

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