In just a couple of weeks my youngest son will turn 3 years old. While his very existence fills me with joy beyond compare I will not be throwing him a birthday party this year. Now that might seem strange or even mean to many but in fact it’s actually far kinder for him that I do this. See a part of me would love to do the whole “NT kid birthday party” with lots of cake, balloons, and silly games and copious amounts of children running around. But the truth is, there is only one child my son has ever taken to as a playmate. Typically with children his own age he either ignores them or he gets outright upset that they are in his space.
Yesterday morning was a perfect example of that. We were at Art for Toddlers, it’s a special program for children ages 2-4 years old at our local art gallery. While there were other children there, he had no interest in interacting with any of them, instead for the majority of the program he was in a corner playing with different colored magnets. So into his own world was he that when the lady running the program would ask him things he’d often not answer her. By word, and action he gave no hint that he could even hear her or understand what she was asking of him. Yet while out with him I’ve seen him point to different colors when I ask him to show me something red, or orange or green etc. So while it hurts sometimes to think of how he has only met one child that is not related to him that he actually likes, I love him enough to accept him exactly as he is and give him the birthday he deserves instead of just a typical one.
To that end there will be cake, but not at the end of a typical children’s party. Instead we will fill his birthday with his favorite activities like riding the city bus in a loop (the bus drivers around here are lovely and totally accepting that we’ve no specific destination, he simply wants to sit on the bus as it drives the same route over and over). Or going to the mall to go up the escalator, and then back down, and then back up, and then back down, over and over. When he’s done riding the escalator we’ll sit, eat McDonalds and I’ll watch as he peels the paper off of all the crayons in the box I buy him specifically for that purpose. As I watch his eyes light up and see how happy he is doing those simple things as many times as he wants in a row I know I’ll cry. Not tears of sorrow, but of joy because making him happy does that to me. Knowing that I “get him” and that I’m giving him a day of exactly what he truly wants and not what mainstream society states he “should” have on his special day matters to me. After all, it’s his special day, so I’ll do all the things that will make it special to him.