...and then I remember...
For years Christmas parties have been hard for us, and now they kind of aren't any more. He can cope, mostly.
He says hello to people, he has conversations with them. He knows what he can eat and what he can't. He plays with the cousins. He swims in the pool. He's mostly self-sufficient and doesn't need 'times-out' watching a DVD. He doesn't explode for no discernible reason.
He has a great day, says he has a great day and obviously enjoys himself. It almost feels normal.
And then we get in the car to go home and he starts fighting with me. "But I missed having my TV pick last night. And it's my night to watch Brum. I have to have my pick when I get home. Can't I? Pleeeeease? It's not fair. But it's my pick. I ALWAYS get my pick."
And then the kicker comes. "We should NEVER have gone to the stupid party. It's all your fault."
That's when I remember that he still has ASD - that he's still not flexible and he still struggles with change and not being in control.
This next year, we need to work on flexibility. We need to work on the fact that he will still talk his head off to any semi-assenting conscious child nearby. We need to work on his rudeness at home ("LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE NOW, YOU RUNT!"). We need to work on his picking on his brother. So there's still a lot to do.
In the meantime, I'll enjoy the Christmas parties and try to head off at the pass the inevitable arguments about TV on the way home.