You may have thought that New Year was a time for celebration. You’d be wrong there. Bobby isn’t that fickle. Every New Year, before he rings in the new, he mourns the passing of the old.
“I will never see 2015 again!” he sobs and for once I can’t argue with his logic.
To Bobby, time is an easy continuum to follow until it gets to December 31st. Then it seems to feel like walking off a plank. I tried to resolve this by explaining to him that:
a) Time is constant, it’s the years we assign to it to make sense of it that have start and end dates. In other religions for instance it isn’t even New Year.
b) Time is more like a wheel than a plank and there’s no gap between December 31st and January 1st.
He thinks for a bit about my little pearls of wisdom and then announces that he’d prefer to call tomorrow December 32nd and we'd better not wish him Happy New Year or else.
This isn’t exactly what I'd call a solution, but temporary measures can sometimes act as a perfectly acceptable sticking plaster, since by January 2nd Bobby will be heaping praise on 2016 being the best year yet – and I know it. This is because a new Pokemon something or other is coming out in January and the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game is due out in February.
Right now, Gav and I are in the middle of a film with a 15 certificate (funnily enough it's Ex-Machina, fittingly about emotional intelligence) and it’s on pause whilst we settle the New Year’s Eve grief, so I’ll readily agree to anything that seems to work for him.
“It was my last year at Outwood in 2015!” Oh no, everything that’s final seems to have reared its ugly head again, including sad primary school farewells.
I suggest that Bobby makes a diary for 2016, so that he can relive every moment of it on New Year’s Eve next year. Finally, having written in his new diary ‘RIP 2015’, Bobby settles down to sleep.
It is so much easier now that he’s 12. I can usually gauge the level of distress and what sort of attention it needs. We ignore the impending signs of meltdown at our peril. A little sob over something you think is silly can easily be brushed aside with some comfort when you’re dealing with a child who isn’t autistic. If you brush Bobby’s cares away in this flippant manner, they flare up like flames, even worse than before. Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry and I can’t be bothered to sit and analyse, I do try the wet tea towel method. Occasionally it works.
“Do I look worried?”
“Does dad look worried?”
“Well then, trust us. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Most of the time unfortunately this doesn’t work. "Just trust me," is a hugely unsound logic.
So, have the conversation. Think of it as an investment.
It’s a case of a Stitch in Time Saves 90,000.