In just over a month Talia’s having a birthday. So the party planning conversations are beginning.
Me: “So Tal, do you want to invite lots of friends or just a few?”
Talia: “Just a few. Maybe Matthew and Haley.”
Me: “How about those nice new girls in your class? Want to invite them?”
Talia: “Um…..don’t think so.”
Me: “And what do you want to do at your party.”
Talia: “Maybe go to a movie…maybe bowling.”
In the early years I took the lead in party planning. And we always invited kids with their parents in tow. When Talia was 6 she went through her Franklin the Turtle phase. So we borrowed home-made turtle costumes from a neighbour and I decorated a cake with a decent likeness of Franklin. Sadly that was the beginning and the end of my cake decorating days. To top it all off we even bashed a piñata and played games with a giant rainbow parachute in the yard.
Guess that’s when I had more energy! These days parties are mostly pizza at home and an outing. We’ve taken party guests to: a kids’ play at our local theatre, the movies, bowling, an indoor playground, and glow in the dark mini golf.
So our annual quest for a party that works begins. As always there’s the complicated issue of trying to get phone numbers for her friends who also have special needs. Then we need to ask parents if there’s anything we need to know to keep their child safe and happy at the party. Then there’s finding an activity that everyone can actually do and enjoy. And of course Talia has to love it, because it’s her big day.
Often our kids don’t fit the mold when it comes to birthday celebrations. One friend’s son hates opening presents since it’s stressful for him. So she always requests that people NOT bring gifts. A lot of parents I know forego kid birthday parties completely and instead invite family and their child’s support workers out for dinner to celebrate.
Party planning can be bittersweet. Sometimes we realize that our kids really don’t have friends to invite to a party. Or we can’t remember the last time our kids were invited to someone else’s birthday party.
This year Talia and I need some new ideas for a super celebration. What birthday parties work for you?