Birthdays were always something I dreamed of celebrating for my kids. Having friends over and going to parties is a staple in every childhood, so when parties are an overwhelming mess for your family you do what you can. We have some of the most unstructured parties ever. And they are quite successful. "Child-led" parties may be a good description for them. No games, no pinata, just fun and cake. Unfortunately, this year's party ended with B telling everyone it was time to go. His dogs were at the neighbors' for a visit and he wanted them back home. But it was so fun.
Then going to peoples' parties is always a new adventure. I am so grateful that we get invited to parties, and all of the kids are figuring out the social "acceptabilities" of birthday parties. Tator is the "cake destroyer". She got to hers this year and has ruined 3 at other people's parties. (ruined may be strong, but took fork or finger to the frosting). Lu is learning the ends and outs of "it's not for you", she is still very much the center of her world. And B is learning it all over and over. Plus the whole boundaries thing, not going into every room of other people's homes, and just because you CAN climb it doesn't mean you should.
But then the challenge of the holidays is one we never thought of before. Trick-or-treating is something I always looked forward to with my kids. First door B ever knocked he immediately went into the house. That's what you do knock and go in, so why on that one night a year are we not going in? We just aren't kiddo. And the whole concept of putting candy in a bag was scary enough. He was newly turned 4 years old and they gave him candy and we wanted to throw it away??? We even bought a cute little Toy Story treat bag, and he stood in the road and cried that we were getting rid of the candy. It was quite funny to watch him try to carry it all though. There's all sorts of things that don't make sense about that night.
Thanksgiving is not too bad. We don't have local family, so it's just another dinner for us. He never gets why we make such a big fuss about it. But he does love turkey.
And Christmas........One day everyone that has kids dreams of. From how to make it perfect; the perfect tree, gifts, day at church, family experience. From wake up to bedtime. Santa to The Nutcracker. And for us it took a whole new turn.
Santa was a hard concept to "get" at first, but now he is sold. Little elves and reindeer and all the magic. I am always afraid someone will ruin it and break the news about Santa, but since we can see Santa at the mall he is real. Opening presents was not a fun thing until this past year. We have had full on Christmas meltdowns. It's overstimulating for me so I can't imagine what he is experiencing. We learned to adjust our expectations, just like every other twist and turn and learned to take breaks and go for walks, when the weather permits, or somehow stick to our routine of every other day. And had to accept that sometimes opening presents can last a week or so. Not saying they get that many gifts, it just takes a little more than ripping paper for these kids.
It truly is a learning game and a game of give and take. We may not get the postcard perfect holidays and birthdays, but they are perfect for us. It may not look like everyone else's day, but that's okay. It is ours.