The Hill I Won’t Die On: The Christmas Tree and Perseveration

O that pretty shiny Tannenbaum! Lovely branches full of things that draw the eye of young and old alike. When the boys were little it was a constant battle keeping toddlers away from the tree. I was so relieved when they finally started leaving it alone. Back then I was still under the influence of a person and philosophy I bitterly regret, so to me it looked like a disobedient kid and a battle I MUST win or they would forever be a horrible person. I know better now.

Perseveration is something that I had never heard of before joining the world of autism, and even now spell check is protesting against it’s use, but Google assures me I spelled it correctly. Wikipedia will give you a medical model definition (as opposed to the social model) but what it boils down to is the brain getting “stuck” on one particular thing and even if it’s not a good time or a good thing for you to do, your brain can’t transition to another activity. I do not know for certain if that is the reason behind my small children’s perennial fascination with the family tree. But whatever the reason, I have finally figured out that it’s just not worth fighting my kids to keep them away. That just stresses everyone involved out and makes what should be a happy time miserable.

When Lady Bug was a toddler, having learned my lesson from the boys before her, I tried making an intentionally interactive toddler friendly Christmas tree; with mixed results. I honestly don’t remember at all what we did last year. But this year the most I am doing is reminding Lady Bug “be gentle” when she gets close, and putting fallen ornaments back on the tree. The tree is no longer a source of stress, and usually some gentle touches are all she wants to do. She also has her own ornaments to play with in her learning area. And all is merry and bright.

One thought on “The Hill I Won’t Die On: The Christmas Tree and Perseveration

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  1. Only this year yours truly broke some cheap ornaments from pressing too hard [I forget how powerful my grasp and finger tips are].

    Love the idea of ornaments in the learning/play area for Lady Bug.

    I learnt about perseveration from the Learning Disability article in the World Book 1994 Commonwealth edition where it is mentioned under the effects of brain injury. So, yes, it touches lightly on the medical model.

    It might also have appeared in Barthe deClements’ Sixth grade can really kill you.

    There is something about pines and wood and stars and decorations which is very tactile in process and product.

    When I was small my grandmother and my mother kept the tree behind a fence. It was an old tree which could be constructed.

    All is merry and bright, Wibbly Wobbly!

    Liked by 1 person

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