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Birthday blues

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

As hard as I try to remain carefree and relaxed, I still feel major anxiety surrounding the kid’s birthdays and other special occasions. Their knowledge and expectations have improved but most of the hype created is still prompted and encouraged. So, for me it tends to feel forced, fake and unauthentic.

I struggle with the thought of people and presents. What to do? Who to invite or whether to actually do anything at all?

We celebrated our son’s eighth birthday yesterday with just a couple of his closest friends to keep numbers and proceedings to a minimum to help prevent meltdowns. At home where he is comfortable, free from public sensory overload. We debated even attempting to sing the happy birthday song after previous bad experiences but it’s just kind of expected. We sang it very softly with him hiding behind my legs and ran off after the song without blowing out the candles.

We prepared the days before by filling the house with balloons, verbalizing how old his was going to be and exciting him with the thought of receiving surprise presents.

He was genuinely excited about opening his presents and knew it was his birthday. Which is major progress in itself.

We hope that one day he will be able to request wanted gifts, people to attend, a specific theme or an activity to do.

Previously, we ditched the whole party pressure and took him to the zoo because of his love of animals and dislike of people and parties. Which really was a huge success.

It’s hard to know what to do?

Again, it’s that constant mental battle for a special needs parent. Questioning your parenting. Worrying about how your child is going to feel, cope or react? Whether they will know or care about what is going on? All being completely oblivious to the lengths that you consider all of the above for them.

Sadly, I’m relieved that it’s over again for another year. I hope that he felt loved and had fun!

Thomas 8

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I can relate to this Monique, Harry at Thomas’ age hated the whole birthday party experience except for the cake. So we kept it small and put all my efforts into the special cake, in time he started to enjoy his birthdays and now at 19 loves celebrating his own and all our birthdays. He still likes it small and loves a cake and singing happy birthday, he is happy with one or two presents relating to special interest, but overall birthdays have become happy family experiences. Hang in there, it changes but I remember the stress and disappointment of those early years. Alison x

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