no one will be disappointed



click to enlarge


Little Einsteins

Isa plush doll

(1 Mary Magdalene* doll

2 Marys*

Benny plush doll

(2 Amaricen Girl doll

(3 Tico Plush doll

Moose and Zee

(4 Blocks

(5 Tetty bear

(6 Jeffry* doll

(7 Matthew* doll

(8 John the baptist* doll

(9 Mary Carson* doll

(10 betty Lou

(11 cat

(12 game

(13 Jessie lynn* doll


My baby girl wrote her very first Christmas list.

All by herself.

The upside is that for the first time EVER, she gets it. Jesus’s birthday, Christmas, Santa, presents, all of it.


And the upside is absolutely monumental.

The downside is that she gets it.



She has told me a minimum of two hundred and sixty-one times that she will “tell Santa what I want and then no one will be disappointed.”

According to her sister, I don’t have to worry because that’s just a line from a My Little Pony movie for which she’s seen the preview on a Dora DVD “at least five thousand times.”

With all due respect to my older daughter .. Hello? Katie? Have you been paying attention, sweet girl? EVERYTHING in Brooke’s world comes from a movie. That doesn’t make it LESS real to her, it makes it MORE real to her. Haven’t you heard? So shall it be filmed, so shall it be done.

Brooke is unmoved that the only Isa the Iguana plush doll that I could find so far was $125 on eBay, putting it squarely in the category of “not a chance in hell, my love.” Incidentally, I’m convinced that there’s a special place in said hell for people who buy six-dollar beanie babies and hoard them in order to sell them laterΒ for a hundred and twenty-five dollars to some sucker like me whose kid wants some random character that sold out long ago but is not otherwise actually valuable in any shape nor form whatsoever. Just sayin’.

Nor is she at all impressed by the fact that *Godspell* dolls, well, you know – DON’T ACTUALLY EXIST IN REAL LIFE and even though Mama is getting some awesome help with Mary Magdalene from her new best friend in the whole world (see diary’s Facebook page for explanation), that does not mean that I can make a doll for EVERY BLESSED CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE, so help me sweet [Victor Garber in the role of] Jesus.

It makes no difference to her that Moose and Zee are cartoon characters and cannot actually tuck themselves into boxes nor show up under the Christmas tree in our family room.

And she apparently couldn’t care less that no one in this house has the slightest inclination to get a cat – particularly, I’d imagine, the dog.

I’ve told her time and again (in fact two hundred and sixty-one times and again) that while she will certainly get SOME of the things on her list, she will assuredly not get ALL of them. To which she has responded, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE TIMES, “But I will.”

Because you see, as long as she tells Santa what she wants, NO ONE WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.

Mall Santas, Bank Santas, Salvation Army Santas, ANY HUMAN BEING WALKING AROUND IN A RED SUIT AND BEARD, consider yourself on notice. You so much as look in my kid’s direction between now and Christmas, you’re toast.


Yes, my baby wrote a Christmas list.




70 thoughts on “no one will be disappointed

  1. Awesome. Love it! This is so encouraging to me. My son on the spectrum just turned 3 and it’s been so hard to explain birthdays and Christmas. So far for him birthdays are called birthday cake (his favorite) and Christmas is about Christmas trees (he’s got a kind of anxiety about opening presents). This encourages me than in time he WILL get it!

    • OMG, Deb, please, please, please keep the faith. when Brooke was 3 (or hell, 4, 5 or 6 for that matter) we were nowhere NEAR this.

      I remember the circles above all – and even they were a breakthrough from the time before we could even get that far:

      Brooke, what would you like for Christmas?

      A present.

      What would you like the present to be?

      In a box.

      When you open the box, what would you like to find in it?

      A present.

      And so it went. And it broke my heart.

      But here we are. And so too might you very well be. πŸ™‚

      P.S. If he likes cake, how about baking Jesus a birthday cake?? Brooke LOVES birthdays, so we bake Jesus a cake and we sing and light candles – the whole shebang. If that’s something that’s meaningful for him, go with it!!!

  2. Hmmm….can I say something coherent at this early hour? 1) Yes, I agree – MONUMENTAL!! and 2) isn’t it ironic that Brooke’s progress toward having these kinds of Christmas expectations dovetails with all of the typical holiday issues we parents face – wanting our children to be thrilled with the gifts they are given and struggling with their wants vs our ability/willingness to fulfill their lists? I spent time last night trying to console my 14 year old who was in tears after a discussion with her dad about Christmas – with him being unemployed this year it’s not going to be a HAUL (nor should it ever be) but she was trying valiantly to explain how much she wants to “be like her friends” (read – have a COACH something and some Hollister jeans) when she returns to school but she doesn’t want to sound spoiled. Parenting = always challenging. πŸ™‚

  3. Yea! This is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, part of “normal” is wanting everything they see on tv, too!

    As for the scripting, that gives our babies language, right? Our Bells wouldn’t be able to talk now without it. We have started to get spontaneousm, original statements – I think!

    Merry Christmas to you all! God bless us, every one. gail

  4. I so share in this with you. Our son with Asperger’s just wrote his first list. When he finished I swear that lights were shooting from it πŸ˜‰ And, my husband and I, I mean Santa–is trying to come up with the 4 very specific things he requested. So do we “do all” making for an easier Christmas morn, or is this a teachable moment?? Have we gotten that far??? Is it possible to “teach” from this??? Or, simply, just enjoy that marvel that is our children and their INCREDIBLE BREAKTHROUGHS?
    How is it that something so wonderful can also bring about the evil “parent of special needs panic”?– is nothing safe from it? πŸ™‚

  5. Ben hates Santa with a passion. We had always gotten the traditional pic, even though it was Ben scared out of his mind and crying. Last year… we said forget it. Why put him through it?
    This year we’re trying to tantalize him with wanted items. Ben. Do you want santa to bring you a drum set?… moments thought, then ok.
    Ben. Would you like Santa to bring you a toothbrushe? Eyes start to shine… OK!
    Ben… Let’s go tell Santa what we want so he knows…
    No hesitation.. NO WAY!!!

  6. How much does she want Moose and Zee? Would she notice if they were slightly used?

    Because 2-3 years ago when my ASD, TV and movie character obsessed, script-taking son was obsessed with Moose and Zee (they were all he would draw for a solid month – we had to buy extra yellow and blue crayons) I went and bought those overpriced handmade Moose and Zee felt dolls on Ebay.

    Now he is so over them, they’re in the bottom of the stuffed animal bin, forlorn and forgotten. I will gladly send them to you, just let me know. In pretty good shape.

    Good luck with the Isa. If I see one here in the city anywhere, I’ll let you know.

    (Us autism moms have to stick together, help each other out)

    • I think I just saw those. The seller is offering them for about $40 but they are hand made- am I correct?
      Jess- do they have to be individual? Because there is the NickJr version with Zee on MaM’s head with a buy it now price of about $16.
      I’ll also keep my eyes open for you. I’ll hunt for patterns too. I want to help you. I remember getting ( insert vulgarity here) on eBay when in search of Corduroy the bear. It was my first foray into the eBay world and like a complete idiot, I put in my profile that I was looking for that bear for my child- as this was all that was requested for Christmas. Ugh! Needless to say I’ve learned the hard way.
      Anyway- I want to help you. Please PM me on FB and lemme see how I can help, ok? I’ve been known to make a thing or two. ;oD

    • thank you!!! problem with the biblical figures is that they don’t actually look like the characters in godspell, even though they may share names πŸ™‚

  7. Loved this post!! I almost want to learn how to sew so I can help you make all of her beloved dolls!! Good Luck, enjoy the list!!

  8. I’m sorry but on one hand I’m thrilled that Brooke is so into this. I find myself smiling as I’m writing this but I do also realize the problems that go along with this.

    It sure will be an interesting Christmas. I can’t wait.

    Love you,

  9. Hmm…I had to look at eBay…since the Isa eBay seller is “christ-eternal” maybe there would be some Christian charity in reducing the price to a reasonable amount?? Seeing as how Isa would be joining Jesus and Mary Magdalene under the Christmas tree? Egad.

  10. You can make Moose and Zee stuffed pillows. A little felt, cotton batting and fabric glue are all you need. I made them with my spectrum boy that loves the crafts on Nick Jr. They have actually held up pretty well over the past year, though I am sure if they were sewn rather than glued they would be even better.

    Good luck! That same boy and I have been discussing how the 76 items on his Amazon wish list will not be under the tree on Christmas morning, but some of them will–every day!! Always important to try and prepare them.

  11. ha ha ha! my kid wants a Jango Fett Lego Minifigure (and I mean WANTS it and is expecting it from Santa)! It’s 2 inches tall and it’s selling for $140! Yay!

    Can you say that Santa only gives three gifts, so she needs to choose? Some very specific boundary but gives her the flexibility to choose?

    My creative brain thinks that maybe an incredibly cool gift would be a gift book with a story about her and all the characters she talks about. You get the screen caps/pictures of them and put them together in photoshop. That’d be sweet. You know, like those books where they put your kid’s name in a book about Santa? Well, it would be a story (you might sneak a social story in there) and have her gallavanting around with the characters? She’d dig it. Or make a poster with her & all her beloved characters?

    XO R

  12. That is so AWESOME!! While you’re shopping and making dolls, I could use a Shanti doll from Jungle Book 2. Yea-they’re easy to find too. I have been searching for weeks and while I did find out they actually do exist, there are none to be bought at any price!! Once again, it’s nice to be in this boat with you.

  13. Grinning over here.

    I think there should be some special eBay store for Families With Autism. There, they couldn’t jack up the prices of Isa the Iguanas, that rat from Bear in the Big Blue House, the Count (the bane of my life for several years) and Baboon #3 (nonspeaking) in Jungle Book 2. People could just sort of sell or trade things as needed, and as kids moved on from one perseveration to another, or beyond, those things would just be there for generations to come.

    Cause let’s face it. Autism ain’t leaving any time soon.

  14. Wow! Yeah. My 4 year-old doesn’t quite “get it” yet in regard to what the holiday means and all, but she does unfortunately (kind of) “get” the whole Santa thing. She’s been making a list which basically consists of everything, I mean EVERYTHING that she sees on commercial on Nickelodeon or Disney. I literally have to threaten to, and actually change the channel to PBS because it drives me up a wall. And regardless of how many times I explain to her that “Santa can’t bring everything on your list,” she either just doesn’t get it, or refuses to accept it because she is 100% convinced that if it is on the list she’s getting it. Ugh. It literally makes me want to claw my eyes out. Does that make me a bad parent? Does it make me a bad parent that I just told her that she’d better be happy with whatever she does get? That she shouldn’t expect too much because Santa’s having a bad year in a down economy and Mrs. Claus has been out of work so she’ll be lucky to get ANYTHING? Yeah. I kinda lost it. This just happened too, Like 2 minutes before reading your blog. Ugh.

  15. That list is a beautiful thing. Even if it comes with a script fraught with pitfalls, and all manner of parental dilemmas.

    Still beautiful. And yes, monumental.

  16. GO BROOKE!! Um my supermarket has every Dora charecter Beanie Baby if you wanna hit me up I am game and I also think they are $6.99 much better deal then the swindlers on Ebay.

  17. We informed our two that Santa would pick from the list- so they could star the things they really, really wanted, but he could only bring two things from the list- and they had to give choices. We would get things like “I really, really, really, really, really… want a ____ (obsession of the moment), and I guess if you want, you could bring a:…..”. It helped…

    Does Katie still believe? Maybe she could help explain this limit-making process?

    • Katie did exactly that .. made a tiered system. And she’s in on it now, which is a double edge sword, but you’re right – it might be helpful to conscript her into Operation Management of Yuletide Expectations. πŸ™‚

  18. mine wrote a list too, at school, and the teacher informed him that he could not put any girl items on the list, to which he replied “You’ve got to be kidding me” in THE most adorable of ways. Today I thanked the teacher.
    Oh and there will be “witch” dolls put on the list, after all ‘Wizard of Oz’ is his most favorite of all times, and damn it, he will have a witch, or 6.

    • I love it Sheila! My mom gave my 6-y-o son a Dorothy and Toto music box when he was focused on the Wizard of Oz this spring…it’s very pretty and he was happy. πŸ™‚ I think it’s awesome that our kids challenge us to focus on things that actually matter (like the ability to interact with someone else and communicate wishes and wants and preferences, while learning the other person’s wishes and wants and preferences) rather than the things that don’t (OMG, my son wants to wear a pink shirt!).

    • why on earth would the teacher limit him?????? i’m with him – he should be asking for whatever HE wants, not what the teacher deems gender appropriate. gah!

      and oh, how i love the witches! go to town!!

    • thank you SO much! she has the figurines – actually many, many different versions of them. The plush dolls are a whole other slice of pie πŸ™‚

  19. Brooke’s list brought tears to my eyes. I’m thrilled for you and for her! Now, of course, there’s the challenge of getting her some of what she wants and helping her deal with the disappointment of not getting all of it. But WOW!!! I know in my bones the longing we share for our little ones to be able to tell us what they want and need. So to you my dear… Merry Christmas a few weeks early!

  20. fantastic. i am right there w/ you. my little guy sat on santa’s lap for the 1st time in years and told him what he wanted for christmas. the photo tears me up every time i look. merry christmas to you!

  21. Hi Jess,
    I’m not going to write much here, but I would really, really appreciate it if you could email me. I think I can help (I can sew).

  22. ALL –

    Can I just tell you all how very much I adore you? How much i love that you love my girl? How much it means that you would search for dolls and send (awesome) ideas and offer to SEW for us? I am a puddle of gratitude for this incredible Internet family that I’ve found.

    You all ROCK!



    P.S. I am (mostly) sticking to my guns on the ‘Santa won’t bring everything’ plan. There are some things already in the works, including some pretty nifty surprises like a homemade Godspell ‘book’, an original poster advertising the movie from the seventies and, of course, Mary Magdalene.

    She’ll get some of the rest – Benny’s already on order (thanks to our awesome sitter, Julie) and it sounds like, thanks to y’all I might even have an Isa πŸ™‚

    But a cat? Not so much. And Moose and Zee? Well, you see, as grateful as I am for your suggestions and incredibly generous offers to send yours (my heart be still, seriously) she doesn’t want the stuffed animals – she wants Moose and Zee. You know, like fer real. Uh huh.

    So, call me Scrooge if you will, but I’m definitely not feeling the need to try to get her EVERYTHING on the list.

    I’m thinking that a social story might be arriving from the North Pole any day now πŸ™‚

    Thank you again for all your love!!!

      • just what I was thinking. for someone like you Jess who gives us all so much, you deserve a little in return.
        Your “Moose and Zee” for real cracked me up. My little guy keeps asking when “The Backyardigans” will come to visit. When my husband tells him they come to the house every night before bedtime, he says “No! Come to the house! In the driveway!!” love that blurred line between reality and fantasy πŸ™‚

  23. Same thing at my camp.. my son’s birthday (7th) is today and we did the party part of it last week cause we already had all the family over and his actual Bday fell on a weekday.. So all day today he refuses to acknowledge when ppl say “Happy Birthday”, telling them “My Birthday was last week”. But just like Brooke, this is the first year that he GETS IT about Xmas and Santa and it all… he made his list about 4 months ago, adding more stuff as time went on. This has been such an incredible year in his development and he is doing so good in school that I have bent over backwards (the rest of the family too) to make sure he gets everything on his list. Unlike Brooke though, his wish list contains actual items that can be bought easily (though not so cheap). Good luck!! πŸ˜›

  24. We can all relate to having to adjust our expectations of what holidays, birthdays and the like would be and what they are. My little guy just celebrated his 4th birthday in October and while he understood a bit more this year it was still difficult for me. I think over that day and the week afterwards I re-lit the cake’s candles and sang about 100 times!!! πŸ™‚ Which is why this post (and SO many others that you share!!!!) give hope and reaffirmation to me and I know every one who reads your words. That the “little things” that most parents take for granted are not out of the realm of possibility!! Thank you so much for your honesty in sharing both the setbacks and the milestones!!! Can’t wait to share in the next one!!!!! πŸ™‚
    PS – I would be MORE than happy to send you one of our 3 cats! haha

  25. Aw, this is so bittersweet for me right now, Jess. But I love that she gets it (um, I mean the whole Christmas concept, not the finer shades of grey about the gift list. Lol) and that there a so many awesome people who want to help. I can’t wait for the day we see this development in our household. xoxo

  26. I love this Jess!!! It is monumental!

    ps–I very much think the dog WOULD like a cat…they are so much fun to chase says our naughty little boston terrier…

  27. ahh how different we all react! i was going to suggest finding a kids movie where the kid makes a huge list and doesn’t get everything (and just make sure she doesnt see miracle on 34th street).. unlike the others who want to help you with the list LOLOLOL!!!!!!

  28. I know you don’t know me, but I honestly mean it and I really want to help.

    If you will let me, I’ll be on it tomorrow. I have Asperger’s and might even be able to throw in a bit of the message, don’t-ever-lower-your-expectations.

  29. I know this is late, but I want to tell you–YES. First list this year too. And, my boy watches the Pixar movie “Cars” and pauses individual frames of the race scene. Guess what is on his list?! I think someone is going to be sorely disappointed come December 25th!

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