Sunday, September 19, 2010

Party Hats Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Today we decided to take both kids to a birthday party.

You might ask me, "How did it go?" But there is no simple answer. There are, in fact, many answers. Ever since the word autism came into our lives, I have as many perspectives on events like birthday parties as I do hats to wear. It makes me feel a little dizzy and schizophrenic. I see each birthday party with the eyes a mother of two, a teacher, an OT, a behaviorist, of just plain old anxious me.

The birthday party was:

Fine. The birthday girl's family is adorable, and they have a lovely home. I managed the expected and unexpected obstacles with finesse, other kids melted down as much or more than mine, I had some adult conversations, some people barely noticed us, I remembered an alternative treat for the boy that pleased him, and no one got hurt. Wheew. I'm tired, but all-in-all, not a bad day...

Disappointing. It reminded me that no matter how far we've come, the other kids have come farther, and no matter how hard we work, we have so much more to do. My boy pushed a kid, called a child a "loser," flipped out when the face painter closed up shop before he got his painted, and screamed at our hosts, "I WANT A GOODY BAG! NOW!!!" My daughter lost her shoes, stuffed herself full of sugar, and instigated an argument with her brother the minute we got in the car to head home. Inside the goody bags? Contraband. Uh-oh... who knows what was in that candy Roo gobbled up before I could stop him, but it said, "Made in China" on the bag, and nothing else.

Terrific. I am so grateful. I know too many people for whom going to a birthday party is impossible or unthinkable. Every time I read the news, my blog reader, or Hopeful Parents, the shame I feel over my self-pity grows and grows. We had a beautiful day to be together and be with friends. Many of the people there offered us support and understanding, and I feel so appreciative.

Therapeutic. Roo could bounce in the bounce house, swing in the play room swinging chair, and pet animals at the petting zoo. A ROOSTER walked right up to him, so purposefully, I kid you not! Hey, with that kind of therapy, we didn't even feel the need to drive to horseback riding therapy afterwards... a good thing with temperatures in the 90s.

Just another day in the life of the Rooster's family. Ups, downs, smiles, frowns, screaming, hugging, fighting, kissing, trying, learning, teaching, working, growing, struggling,wondering, lather-rinse-repeating.


kristi said...

Yes, yes, yes. I totally get this!

shelley said...

Beautiful. Open to all that a moment is.

kim mccafferty said...

Hey, my definition of a good party with the kids is I leave with as many alive as I brought with me. Congrats!