Sunday, 6 December 2015

Why I'm Not Having A Birthday Party For My Son

Nathan is turning 6 this week- SIX!!!    He has come so far, and we are so very thankful.  And here's the thing, so have we, as his parents.

Thus, we are not having a birthday party for Nate this year.

Parents can all acknowledge that the first few years of our kids' lives, the birthday parties aren't really about the kids- they are about the parents, family and friends celebrating the child (and the act of keeping them alive lol).  But as kids get older, that all changes- the parties revolve around the child's interests, their preferred activities, their preferred friends.  And that's how it should be.  Two years ago, Jack's wish was to go to the Museum of Natural History with mom and dad.  So that's what we did.

What have we been doing with Nathan?

We have been guessing.  He "seems" to like Mickey, let's try that this year.  What should we do?  Who should we invite?  It has continued to be OUR friends, people we know through various organizations, autism causes, etc.  Which is fine of course, but was it about Nate and what he wanted?

Well how could it be?  He can't tell us.  It's very similar to how I continue to play detective whenever he is "fussy", trying to figure out what is wrong.  He still can't tell me, although he is getting closer.

He watches the same scene of "Frozen" over and over again- does he like "Frozen"?  Or the movement of the snow in that scene?  Or the noises?  Or the song that is playing?  If I did a Frozen themed birthday party would he love it?  Or wish for an avalanche themed birthday party (because that's the part he is watching on repeat)?  Let's take it a step further- does he want a party?  Does he like being in a crowd?  When do I, as his mother, know that he is actually happy??


Right Here is my happy son

Below is a situation that would make most kids ecstatic.  I took Nate to our local toy store today, just let him loose, and waited for him to "find" a toy he would like for his birthday.  There is a snip it of that situation in this video.  We were there for over an hour.  He sat on one riding toy, and played with the jingle bells.  I bought the riding toy- but only after making sure the toy store accepted returns.  

As with most things in our world, results are not typical.  So guess what?  We have decided birthdays will not be typical either!  I am not wrapping his presents this year, I am setting them up.  I have no expectation that he will play with any of them, at least not initially.  I have some new beads I will give him, because I KNOW that will make him happy, and it's HIS day.  He deserves to feel happy!  
We will have chick fil a for dinner.  I will make a cake, with a little hill and olaf rolling down it (aka the avalanche) and we will probably all say "what the what?? THAT happened" (if you've seen the movie you know).  We will get in our jammies, and cuddle in bed with one of the sweetest boys who has ever lived.  

And that is how we are gonna roll!


  1. Dear Jenny,
    I am touched, and educated ..and humbled.

    'Life' is sometimes like 'Math'...requires good 'counting' skills. I don't always 'count' well.
    I worked in VWOs...I considered unpaid overtime work as 'horrible'
    ..sometimes seeing the needs of the families I interact with, I know it is 'bad counting' when I am petty about overtime...
    ...sometimes from these families...I see MY OWN lacking and NEEDS and this is precisely when I need to 'count better'...."hat is important...what is of more value"....those that ar poor at 'counting' will never learn ..

    Thanks for sharing, and teaching me what is truly important.

    GOD BLESS YOU, all!! Merry Christmas!!!

  2. We don't do birthday parties either. It's an option in the future but for now we do outings as a family, one year a indoor trampoline park (they gave him a whole section to himself!) Last year we did Lazer Quest. I'm with you it's their birthday, let them have what makes them happy.

  3. If there is a cake, it counts as a party.

    Kids with Classic Autism do like toys, just not the age-typical ones. Play-Doh toys, meant for younger kids can gives hours of fun. Swimming pool toys and things to dive for can be great. A small indoor trampoline can give hundreds of hours of fun. Three wheeled scooters are great. When he is older, the simpler Lego toys are great. He can make them (with some help),break them, pick up the pieces. Much better than replaying videos, over and over and over. In the end he will make the Lego by himself and play with it.