I do NOT think R really enjoyed his first 4 birthdays .
This had us sad because birthdays are so important and we really want R to enjoy them
Birthday 1 - we did a birthday party with a friend - who also had a baby on the exact same day as R - R seemed stressed
Birthday 2 - Thought he would enjoy more if we had a party at our place - R clung to me all evening and ignored everybody
Birthday 3 - we gave up on the drama - but my mum was visiting and not feeling well so we took her to the doctor's. Fortunately she was fine but we were too exhausted to do anything special
Birthday 4 - my MIL was here. We bought lots of presents for R which he sort of liked and sort of ignored- Plus I had gone for the Floortime conference in DC and we drove back that day( 500 miles from DC)
Birthday 5- But this year on his fifth birthday - I think we finally got it right !. ( Rachel he was enchanted with the gifts this time )
There are two reasons for why it worked
1. We finally figured out what to do
2. He was finally ready to enjoy it .
First, we started telling him about his birthday almost a month in advance
One very interesting thing we noticed is that he has been researching what a birthday is on the internet this past month .
Its so interesting that at the age of 5 he is already a pro at looking for info on the internet ( another thing we caught his researching is potty training - which he spells as "poddy")
He has been looking for you-tube clips on birthdays all this month
He has also been asking to see the TV shows that have birthdays in them - like "The Birthday Machine" of Little Einstein
We asked his teacher to do a little birthday party for him and we send cake- DH iced it beautifully and wrote a message on it -
This is a BIG hit ( all the you-tube clips he was watching appear to have cake featured as a key element in the birthday- so we really lived up to his expectations there )
His teacher is a darling and was more than happy to do this. Apparently his birthday party was a grand success
We got him a card shaped as 5 as well as a candle in the shape of 5 - which made him just ecstatic.To his mind this is not only logical but also includes his great love - numbers!
Even the presents we bought were all thoughtfully selected to be custom to his taste
The box of Dum Dums ( we bought a HUGE bag and I sorted through them all and picked out all the Blue Raspberry ones and the cherry ones which are his favorite ).
Plus the box which is in the shape of a present that is shown in most children videos - was a big hit
The other big hit was the furry ball
We also got him a scooter that he has been eyeing and the giant piano that we play with feet .
These - the more big ticket items have been met with lukewarm success. But his grandparents wanted us to buy some grand presents on their behalf. And so we did
Finally we ended with dinner at McDonalds . It was Monday night so the restaurant ( and we have a really nice McDOnalds next to us ) was empty so we let R climb all over his chair as we were not bothering anyone !
I think the three of us had the best birthday possible
It seems to me that - its like this with all of our life.
We have to abandon all the ideas of how things are supposed to be.
We have to figure out what works for us and we have to courageously and single-mindedly pursue our happiness - un-distracted by any preconceived notions