This year, we did it Jack’s way. That’s the best way to put it. My little boy turned 7 last Sunday. SEVEN!! I know, right? Every year since he was born we have done a party of some sort- one year was just his play group and cupcakes but it was still a thing. As his birthday approached this year I found myself not wanting to have a party- not because Jack did not deserve to be celebrated, as that is the furthest thing from the truth, but because every year we have to put all of these contingencies into place, for the birthday song, the crowds, any games, any toys Jack will not want to share. There is a reason for that right? Parties are overwhelming for any kid. For a kid with sensory issues, especially auditory? It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe parties aren't too fun for Jack. Last year was pretty good since we were outdoors on a farm and riding horses, but we just could not afford to do that this year.
So I did something crazy- I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday (and gave him a few options). He wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian), one of his favorite places ever. So I arranged for my mom to watch Nate, and John and I took him for a special day with mom and dad. This was something for HIM- we spent hours looking at bugs in the bug zoo, quite awhile looking at Lucy the Australopithecus, and lastly, almost an hour at the temporary exhibit they basically hide in the basement because no one is interested in it. Right now it was “Birds of Maryland”. Jack ran back and forth between the cases and as people came down the elevator for lunch he pointed out the cool birds to everyone who would listen. That exhibit saw more action last weekend than it probably ever has. But hey, what can I say, peregrine falcons do rock!
Jack has a sensory playgroup led by an extraordinary OT- Miss Sam, who he has worked with since he was 3. It is every Sunday afternoon, and consists of about 5 little boys, all the same age, and all pretty similarly functioning. It’s so great for all of them- think water balloons, shaving cream, finger paints, obstacle courses, and getting smushed at the bottom of the playground slide in mats. Heaven to these kids right? I asked Miss Sam if we could bring cupcakes to the group last weekend, since food items are not allowed for birthdays in Jack’s school, and I also thought it would be a good low pressure situation for all of the kids. Trust me, Jack didn’t want the birthday song sung, it’s one of his least favorite things ever- in fact we went to a party later that day at the bowling alley and he wisely hid in the bathroom when it was time to sing. He’s learning though right? We got to the play group and Miss Sam had put up a Happy Birthday banner and cut the fruit into 7’s. Seriously, there are days when I just sit back and wonder how we got so lucky- this journey is tough, yes- but some of the people we have met? Just absolutely amazing. We are very blessed. Jack had a great time
On Jack’s actual birthday I made a cake and we had the grandparents over after dinner for cake and gifts. It was a bit overwhelming just with the few of us, but he handled it pretty well over all . I think the grandparents are adjusting to the whole idea of no birthday song, and more importantly no cheering. I will admit that it feels odd to have a kid blow out their candles in stone cold silence- but it is HIS day right? Did he sleep that night? After getting presents? Hell to the no! He woke up for the day at about 2 am. Some of you out there may think I exaggerate- but nope, I don’t. The kid can go on virtually no sleep, so he was up playing with his macaw, praying mantis, and peacock, and looking at bug books for most of the night. But I will say this- my boy had a great day!