“Real” party?

My son is turning 7 years old this summer. While this doesn’t seem physically possible, it is true.

Since he was three years old, we have had large birthday parties. I would think about a theme that was currently relevant in his life and would run with it! We would have lots of people and this party would require a master “to do” list that was two-sided and quite detailed. A month prior, we would begin to get into birthday mode, making sure that anything that was required for the date would be delivered on time and we would pick a date well in advance to assure that most invitees could attend.

After the extensive planning and money spent, I would find my son during the party to be overwhelmed and overstimulated.  My TBP was ready for the excitement to be over far before the scheduled ending.  Typically, he would go to his room and would be both surprised and annoyed that the guests weren’t able to understand that he wanted alone time.  There were too many guests, too many gifts, too many changes to his environment…all in all, just too much and too many of everything.

Surprisingly, it took us a few years to finally get it.  This year, we asked him what he wanted for his party.  I named off the usual attendants and he proceeded to say “no” to each name.  As he did this, I felt a sense of panic inside of me.  My thoughts started swirling around…How could we have a party if he didn’t want children?  He doesn’t want games, activities or music?  What will we do?  When I FINALLY sat and really listened, it became clear.  He wanted our adult friends that he is very close to and he wanted one boy that had the same passion as him…Mine Craft.

Just to be sure…I asked him more than once and on more than one occassion to confirm his birthday party desires.  Each time, he shared the same details.  A small list of adult guests, one Mine Craft fanatic, and a cake that resembled a Minecraft scene.  Okay…while this is foreign to me…I am coming to grips with the idea that this is not going to be MY idea of the perfect party but hopefully it will be HIS idea.

Instead of the long “master list” that I would add to and cross off for weeks, we now have a very short “to do” list.  We ordered both boys Mine Craft t-shirts (which we couldn’t have done with the lengthy former guest lists) and we are setting up both computers so that they can mine and craft to their hearts desire!  At this point, we don’t even know the food that will be served.

This was a great example of how we have learned (although it took us a while) to really listen.  We had to forget our preconceived ideas about planning a memorable children’s birthday party and had to focus on our sweet TBP’s wishes.  By listening, I am hoping that we have an engaged birthday boy…one that is involved and happy instead of avoiding all that was planned.  The party is scheduled for Sunday.  I will let you know how it turns out! 🙂

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17 thoughts on ““Real” party?

  1. Sounds like a great day!!! It’s so nice that he could express to you exactly what he wanted and you were able to give it to him!! So often we cannot change a situation for our kids they just have to “deal”. This will truly be HIS special day that he planned!! Good Luck!!

  2. I haven’t hit the 7 yr milestone yet but I can relate. My son always wandered off during his parties as a toddler too. When he was 4 he just wanted 2-3 kids at his party…this was a foreign concept to me, I thought how can a kid his age want so few kids at their party??!! I’ve decided that small parties are a blessing….less work and stress for us moms:-). Have fun!

  3. One more thing, this post made me think of the show Parenthood. The episode is called Amazing Andy and His Wonderful World Of Bugs. I think you can watch it online. Max wants to have Andy for the entertainment at his party and he drives the family nuts with how annoying and boring he is, but the party is exactly what Max wants. I think I am done now!!

  4. I am glad you were able to find out what he wants to do. Livi often gets overwhelmed when there are too many people around, so I make sure to keep an eye on it and to leave when it gets too much.
    We haven’t yet had a big birthday party for her since she is only 15 months old and we kept it simple for her first birthday, but I will keep your comments in mind for the next years.
    Happy Birthday to your son and I hope you all enjoy his special day! 🙂

  5. Happy Birthday! I’m sure the party will be a hit. It sounds like you’ve put together the perfect gathering for your 7 year old based upon his wishes. Such a great idea to ask him what he wants for his party and to really listen and not add any extra “flare”. I can’t wait to read about how it went.

  6. I can really relate to this. Too often, we as parents want for our kids what we like, rather than trying to truly understand what they would enjoy. We still make that mistake at times when it comes to vacations, outings, etc., but hopefully we are doing better. Kudos to you for listening to your son. I have a feeling he will enjoy the party more, and so will you!

  7. Okay everybody…balloons picked up, cake made and decorated, and my 6 yr old is reading before and will wake up a 7 yr old boy. I will take pictures and post after excitement is over 😉

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