After watching her brother, Helen knows you’re “supposed” to have a party when it’s your birthday. Here’s how we make that happen and still have a happy day:
Simplify. Really, really simplify. She’ll have 1 or 2 familiar friends. The only decorations will be a few things she chooses for the dining room table.
Modify. We want to have as few transitions / activities as possible, but still want to have fun. So, gifts are optional. Maybe we’ll open them, maybe not. Also, we have a cake and cupcakes. I have no idea if Helen will be able to handle everyone singing to her and blowing out candles. But I really, really want that to happen if it can. So, I make a small cake just for her…and just in case. The cupcakes are for the guests anytime they like.
Practice. We’ll watch cartoons and read books about birthday parties. We’ll build lego cakes for her dolls and sing as they blow out the candles. We’ll host a party in her dollhouse. We’ll go through the order of events a thousand times. We’ll talk and talk and talk….
Recover. No matter how careful we are, the afternoon and following day are very likely to be hard. This year I’ll be ready by planning nothing… except everyone staying in pajamas and sitting as close as she’ll allow while watching too much tv. I might plan something for Matthew so he can leave the house for a bit. But Helen and I will stay put.
Celebrate. This should be obvious, but it’s usually the one thing I forget. I’m so busy trying to keep us all afloat, that I tend to miss all the good that’s happening. This time, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to see, really see.
She can eat cake, with a fork.
We have people who are willing to come to this “party” and understand.
She has people she can call friend (something I feared might never happen).
No matter what, I will look for all the good that happens that day. And I’ll remember to be grateful. And then, I’m going to have a very big piece of cake!