I can barely believe that in a few short weeks my boy S will be turning 7. SEVEN. My God. How can that be?
He’s been counting down to his birthday pretty much since the school year started – actually, to be more precise, since the first birthday party he was invited to, which was about 2 weeks after school started.
The party was at an indoor play centre, and as I had expected, I spent most of the party climbing through tunnels, helping him down slides, helping him eat and drink and generally making sure he was OK. And of course, somewhat longingly watching the other mums as they sat around drinking coffee and chatting. I had of course known how I’d be spending the party, but still, it would have been a nice opportunity to get to know some of the other mums.
Fast forward to the second party S has been invited to this year, which was at the SAME indoor play centre, but about 2 months ago.
The little girl who was having the party adores S. So much so that she had specifically chosen to hold her party at this venue because she knew that S had been there before and enjoyed it. He was at the top of her invitation list and her mum checked with me that S could attend on that date before confirming the booking. That was how important it was to her that he attend.
And so important to S that he had a good time at the party, he asked me if we could go to the play centre a couple of weeks before the party so he could ‘practice’. And practice he did. The whole family went along and I could barely believe how much more confidence, strength and agility S had gained since we were there at the start of the year. He definitely still found it all quite a challenge, and there were plenty of impatient kids either waiting for him to clear the way (or more often pushing past him), but he could DO it. So much so that he told me to go and sit down and watch him from one of the tables. And so I did. I sat at a table and ordered a coffee and felt a warm glow inside (which was more than just the caffeine kicking in!).
On the day of the party, the birthday girl squealed with delight when S arrived and told me that she was going to help him for the whole time of the party.
I thought that was a very sweet thing for her to say, but also felt confident that she’d get bored pretty soon of him being a bit slower at making his way through the play equipment and that she’d take off with some of her other party guests.
I was wrong.
She stayed by his side for the whole party, coaxing him through some of the trickier sections, holding his hand down the slide, making sure he sat next to her when the food and cake were served. It was such a lovely thing to see.
S was exhausted at the end of the party. He’d kept up with his classmates for the whole 90 minutes and the physical effort had completely worn him out. He was in bed by 5pm that night, fast asleep.
And now, it’s just over 2 weeks til his birthday party. I wasn’t all that surprised when he insisted on having his party at the same indoor play centre venue. He also asked if he could invite his whole class and a few kids from the prep class next door. He spent ages choosing which room, which food, which cards, even which envelopes would go out with the invitations. And he patiently helped me write out all the invitations, hand writing (with assistance) all the kids names on the cards. He even asked to invite his young male classroom aide. He said he didn’t want to invite his older female classroom aide because he couldn’t invite her kids, and they would be too jealous .
He’s also asked to have a SECOND party for his other friends during the school holidays. We’re still negotiating that one!
It’s the first year he’s been so passionate about his own birthday in terms of his friendship groups. It’s hard for me to believe that this time last year, when he attended a birthday party for one of his kinder friends, he only remembered the names of 3 of his classmates and didn’t really engage even that much with them during the party, preferring me to be the intermediate for all communication.
Now, he’s keeping a list on the fridge of all the RSVPs. He’s told me that he keeps asking the kids who haven’t replied yet if they know if they’re coming or not. He knows all their names. He knows most of their mum’s names. He even knows when most of them had (or are having) their birthdays. Importantly too, he hasn’t been upset about the parties he hasn’t been invited too, which I think is equally important.
So now, we are all excitedly looking forward to his birthday. And I can honestly say that for the first time, his birthday isn’t looming at all as a time of remembering his birth with dread. Last year there was a dull aching memory in the back of my mind, but this year, it’s all about the celebration. The celebration of his birth and the day he joined our lives. Even a celebration of the fact that despite his crappy start to life, he’s doing so well, he’s so happy and confident and such a great kid.
There’s just one small dilemma that I have. And happy for any advice.
He’s chosen what he wants for his birthday.
Help. How. How on earth am I going to get him a kick along scooter like his brother has that he’s going to be able to use???
Going to chat with the physio about it next week, but for now all I see is a great big fat question mark above my head.
But even that isn’t enough to dampen the birthday spirit building around our way.
I’m able to laugh about his choice of gift and his absolute confidence that he could ride a scooter if we buy it for him.
And I know he’ll be happy with whatever present he gets. He’s just that sort of kid. And we’ll work something out with the scooter. We always do. That’s just how things are around our way. .