"What do you want for Christmas?"
It's a common question that children are asked this time of year. And it's a question that Jaycee can't really answer.
We use total communication with Jaycee. That means we encourage Jaycee to communicate in any method she can whether it be sign language, gestures, words, or using her communication device that we call her talker.
Here's how our Christmas conversations typically go.
Me: "Jaycee, what do you want for Christmas?"
Jaycee: "Merry Christmas!" (on talker)
Me: "Yes, what do you want for a present for Christmas?"
Jaycee: "gift" (on talker) "me" (pointing to self)
We rarely get an actual answer to the question except when I cue her to the button on her device that says, "I want a singing Elsa doll, Peppa pig movies, and time with my cousin Gabby for Christmas." But I programmed that on her talker button not her. Does that count?
What Jaycee really wants is a mystery. She cannot tell me. The best answer I get is when I take her to the store. She loves to browse the toy aisle. The toys with characters she recognizes grabs her attention. She picks up toys, usually ones that makes music or noises, and then puts it right back on the shelf.
"You can have that. Do you want it?"
I gesture that she can put it in the cart if she wants it. But she hardly does. What does she put in the cart instead? Things she already has. A stuffed animal, movie, or toy she already has at home is what she gravitates toward, things she's familiar with.
"You already have this! Pick something else," I say in exasperation.
Then eventually, she will add a new toy to the cart. Success!!
And now there's a conflicting thought. I wish that Jaycee could just answer a simple question. Well, I wish she could understand the question. I wish she wanted something, and I wish I knew what that was.
On the other hand, Jaycee has a better attitude about Christmas than anyone I know. She doesn't care about the things she's going to receive. She doesn't sit around and ask me for toys advertised on commercials. Jaycee would be happy with anything she gets. She also loves going to family parties and cries when we leave. Her eyes light up when she sees the dessert table and enjoys everything she eats. She enjoys every minute of Christmas from the lights to the family meals.
That attitude is something we should all want for Christmas!