My Bud’s birthday was this week and we did things different. Last year was the first year that we realized that he has some sensory processing issues. At the time he didn’t have the SPD diagnosis yet so we have had to learn a lot in the past year. Here are a few of the thing that we tried differently this time:
1. Themes are not necessary – I admit it this was hard for me. I am a party planner at heart. I love to pick a theme and plan a party, but last year I noticed that the whole theme idea was lost on Bud. He had absolutely no interest. This year we did no theme just a plan to have a laid-back fun meal.
2. Less is more – The party last year was for family and friends and there were a lot of them. There were youngins running around everywhere including Bud who was running laps around the tables as we ate. This year we only invited family and had a much smaller turn out due to illness, or work, or whatever. All in all we had about 15 people there about half of what was invited – we have a large family.
3. Play a game he loves to get a good picture – Bud doesn’t always look at the camera when you take his picture. I have tried and tried to get good pictures of him at parties with little to no success. This time around, I saw him and his cousin playing hide and seek (Thank you Aunt Di for initiating this play, as Wes generally doesn’t initiate play with other kids). He had the biggest grin on his face when looking for his cousin, so I hid with her got the best picture of them when he found her. It is priceless.
4. Planning ahead so you don’t have to rush – We planned his party for a Monday night – the night of his birthday – so that I would have the weekend to get things together. Bud is not one that you can rush. He has always been this way. In the past I have gotten so frustrated because I was trying to pull off a great party but I was constantly being slowed down. This year I started getting ready on Saturday. By party time Monday everything was ready for us to enjoy without ever having to rush Bud. This made it so much more pleasant.
5. Lower Expectations – Last year with all of the people and noises Bud was completely overwhelmed. He screamed when we sang Happy Birthday and refused to open presents with big tears in his eyes. This year – the smaller crowd and less noise helped. When we brought his cake to the table he said “You have to sing Happy Birthday to Me.” This is a far cry from the screaming episode last year. With the invitations we requested that there be no present so that he wouldn’t feel the pressure of being the center of attention.
All in all this party was so much more enjoyable that last year and most importantly Bud had a big smile on his face the whole time. That made it worth it all. Happy Birthday Bud!