I am here to report we had the easiest Christmas break with the twins that we have had yet. They are learning to be easier to live with than before, but we also know how to be pro-active.
I scheduled Missy's care-giver for two and half hours at least every other day which is VERY helpful. Steve spent as much time as he could with the twins... helping them do their chores, reading to them, playing with them... He had a whole week off. I pretty much do not give Missy opportunity for argument and crabbing. She follows her schedule and all goes as planned or she doesn't and life hands her natural consequences and I walk away. I don't talk about it or engage. Period. I also don't try and make her keep up with the family schedule. We eat with or without her and I don't fret if she skips meals, but I don't cater to her later if she does that because she really likes to play that card.
Missy had a major meltdown when she missed her ride to church last week. It was what we call a royal tantrum. I was alone with her and put her to bed which was not easy and it took over an hour before she finally calmed. She did not miss her ride to church this week, but Steve had to turn around and bring them home again when he saw both of them had food all over their faces and had skipped brushing their teeth. Not sure how they managed to get in the car that way... :-) Once back at church she tried to bargain with me over which class she would attend like she does every week. (We have moved her down to primary because junior is over her head and she is being a distraction to the rest of the kids). I just told her, "you go to Your class or I drive you home" - and then I walked away. I do not discuss anything with her in order to keep things from escalating. It's not ideal, but it is a way I can keep things peaceful.
We went skiing and we had snow for sledding so they spent large portions of the day outside. Missy is good at skiing, but doesn't sled so much. James is not as good with the skiing and sleds a lot. He had one major meltdown/ unreasonable screaming fit on the ski slopes for Vanessa. This is fueled by fear but not anything you can really put your finger on. She just walked away and left him where he was because that is the ONLY thing she could do. Eventually she went back to get him and he had stopped screaming and we put away his skis for the day. The next time we went skiing he did a lot better and he even learned to ride the chair lift with Missy instead of with an adult. It's kind of crazy to watch him bossing the chair lift guy around out of his anxiety. The chair guy is like, "Just get over here. You are fine!" lol
So, they had one major meltdown each for the whole holiday break and that is an excellent record for us.
I kept them away from sugar almost completely. I let them have a cookie on Christmas day and New Year's Eve. And we made snow cones one day. The results are calm, healthy kids. Missy has yet to be sick since her cold in September. James has missed a day of school - the last day before the holiday.
Steve has been having the twins watch a Bible DVD first thing in the morning for 15 minutes. They like it and it's working so far. I did find a large stash of dvd's in Missy's room. We have to collect the player or she will sneak more time on it. Fifteen minutes is all she needs of screen time... more is not good for her.