On Wednesday I started talking to Punkin about his birthday party. "It's going to be your birthday. We'll go over to Oma and Opa's house and have a party. We'll eat food with our friends and open presents. It will be a birthday party for you."
I talked to him about it again several times throughout the week, specifically when he cried because I wouldn't drive him to the store for "kank you my more markers peas."
"Maybe you'll get some at your birthday party."
"NO PARTY! NO BIRTHDAY!"
Well, good. This should be fun.
Birthday parties are a tightrope walk. It takes practice and some failures to figure out what works best for a child with autistic behaviors and sensory processing disorders. I've come to learn to just give Punkin space and not expect perfection. I can't force him to eat cake, I can't force him to want to be around lots of people, and I can't force him to sit and study each present he opens before tossing it aside and tearing apart the next one.
Today went pretty well. By this morning he wasn't completely opposed to the idea of the party, even if it was mostly because of presents. And even though he doesn't eat cake, he was excited to see his cake on the table. He was TICKED OFF when I was helping prepare for the party instead of hanging out with him, but he recovered quickly. And the picture above is him delightedly attempting to blow out his birthday candles.
Did I tell you about the candle thing? He loves candles. You know how churches have candlelight services on Christmas Eve? Punkin spent the entire service this year asking when we were going to light his candle and figuring out ways to steal other people's candles. All of a sudden he wanted to sit with my mom; all of a sudden my mom's candle was missing. Then he wanted to sit with Auntie, then Opa. Pretty soon Punkin has three candles. He even convinced a complete stranger to give him hers after the service was over.
What I don't understand is why he couldn't blow out any of the candles today, because at that service on Christmas Eve, he blew his candle out during Silent Night several times. "OH NO, what happen my cannel? Uh fix it? More cannel?" And when I lit it for the third time and told him, "No more or I take it away, " he fake sneezed to extinguish it.
But anyway, the actual party was fine. He loved opening his presents and seemed excited about them. It was after the birthday party ended and the football party began that things got a little tense. I let him watch movies on his portable DVD player and eat all the chips and cheese his heart desired, but it just wasn't the SAME.
See, Punkin basically owns the basement at my parent's house when we visit. He gets the recliner and the remote. He also gets to control the lighting. Not so much today. This caused some anger, most of which he held back until everyone left and he decided to beat up Oma. And then he cried because I wouldn't let him color anymore due to excessive marker throwing. And then he cried because I wouldn't take him to buy a hot dog. And then he cried because it was time for bed. Oh, the horror.
Parties are fine, but really I think they're more for the family and for me than for him. I definitely don't know that he'll have a typical party with other kids any time soon seeing since he needs to take frequent breaks from the action and can't handle the pressure as well as other kids his age. That's okay, though. We just want to have fun. And I'm pretty sure that as long as he has at least one balloon, we're golden.