What do you do when your kid doesn’t want to celebrate their birthday the way you do? You hush your ideas, listen to them, and just roll with it. After all, it’s their birthday. That’s what I’ve finally learned over time.
Fourteen years ago, my son was my birthday present–the best gift ever!! I love that we almost share birthdays. In years past, I’ve planned big birthday parties for him. We’ve celebrated with extended family after community parades. We’ve invited neighbors for homemade parties. When our son turned eight (a special birthday in our religion), we also invited our entire neighborhood for a nighttime pajama party and hired a professional magician.
This year, to celebrate his special day, I asked him what he’d like to do. Keep in mind that I work for a website where I sometimes trade advertising and reviews for free access to events or services. For my son, I was willing to hunt down another “memorable” birthday party experience. Did he want to invite friends to join him at a local movie theater? Maybe he’d like to have a video game party trailer come to our house? A special party with all the cousins? After researching options online, I gave him several great ideas.
So what did he choose? “Mom,” he said, “I just want to have dinner with our family and invite one friend.” I felt a bit deflated but touched that he loves us so much. Most teens don’t want to be anywhere near their parents. Still, I prodded a little. But he reminded me that all those things would make a fun party for someone else. He just doesn’t enjoy being around a ton of people in a possibly noisy environment. And so I quickly backed down and accepted his birthday wishes. Yep, we’re going out to dinner. The special friend has been invited, and my son is still thinking about which restaurant he’d like us to go to. For him, that’s the fun part–choosing the place.
So that’s what we’ll be doing on his birthday. I’m writing this before the BIG day, but it will post after. I gave my son the gift of being in full control of his own birthday plans, and we’ll be the ones he’ll surprise.
What have you done to make your child’s birthdays extra special?
Taking autism into account, what makes the party fun for your kiddo?