With my TBP, birthday parties have always been a “cross your fingers and hope for the best” sort of thing. This is largely due to his sensory issues and how those issues are intensified during a child’s party. It makes sense really. I mean, even I have sensory overload when I walk into a Bouncy House establishment or a certain pizza place that also houses lots of video games. You have the ultra-bright decor and over the top noises and that’s before the hyped-up guests arrive ready to get wild.
Last year, was a bad year for parties. A classmate was having a party at a bouncy house place and my TBP expressed a lot of apprehension. “What if it is too loud?” “What if I get tired?” “What if someone tries to feed me dairy?” I guess I should have listened closer. He was trying to tell me that he knew himself and that this party was not for him. We were there only a short time before I saw all of the color drain out of his face. He was sweaty and he was kicking or hitting any of the children that invaded his space while he bounced. Before you could say, “Happy Birthday to you” we were gathering our shoes and heading to the car. A few months later, we tried another party at a similar bouncy house with a similar ending. However, before we made our exit, I was told by the birthday girl that my TBP was only invited because she HAD to invite him. If it was up to her he would NOT have been there. Ouch!
“You know…you need to have a minimum of 4 boys for a fantastic Indiana Jones’ party.” This is what our family therapist was saying in an attempt to convince my TBP that children were part of a children’s party. My son responded with “Hmmm. Well then I suppose a LEGO party would be okay too.” Sigh…
My TBP was invited to one party this year. When the e-vite came I was SO excited! I couldn’t wait to give him the exciting news. I knew he would be thrilled! When I shared the invitation, the response was nothing like I expected. “Sunday you say? I don’t think so. You know that Sunday is my ‘recovery day’. I like to relax from the week and stay home on Sundays.” In my mind, I’m thinking…Is there a 65 year old man in that 6 year old body?
When asking about this year’s upcoming party, my TBP continues to list only our adult friends as guests. Should I care? I mean… birthday parties are a lot of work & money. If he doesn’t want a kid party…why do I care so much? I guess I don’t want him to regret it or be disappointed. Maybe it won’t feel like a REAL birthday. Is it that I still think it’s what you are SUPPOSED to do and it’s my lame attempt at ‘normal’? What do you think?
Oh reading this breaks my heart to hear about the mean things people have said. Celebrate who he is and what he wants/needs. If he’s most comfortable without a large group of kids…let him. In time as they get older the type of party changes and maybe in time it’ll be a better fit for him. Have you given thought to having him pick one friend for a special day? Instead of spending a ton on a party, take the two of them to the Lego store and let them pick something out then maybe to lunch? Hugs to you all!
Thankful for your thoughtful response! You have some great ideas! Please keep reading and sharing your advice!
It does sound to me as if you’re trying to reproduce some kind of ideal world where kids have birthday parties with other happy kids. But this is not your son’s idea of fun.
What would HE experience as the most enjoyable way to spend his birthday?
I think most parents have an idea of what a birthday party SHOULD be and I know that I am guilty of that. I agree that letting go of my ideas and letting him plan it would be the best route. Thanks for your thoughts and reminder about the focus of this upcoming celebration! Hope you continue to follow and offer your thoughts!