Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's almost Bitty's birthday...


... and he couldn't care less. He doesn't seem to have any concept of what a birthday is, or why it's anything he might want to get excited about. I was hoping that this might be the year that he started to care.

I guess not.

He likes cake, sort of. But cake on his birthday has no more meaning than cake any other day. He doesn't really have a concept of being a "big boy." I ask him how old he is, and he just blurts out numbers, "fie! fwee! two! foe! teh!" He's going to be four this week, but age doesn't mean anything to him.

He likes presents, sort of. He doesn't care about opening them and usually leaves that honor to his big brothers (they are more than happy to oblige). Until the presents are freed from their colorful constraints he isn't interested in them. Once they are unwrapped, he'll come along and check them out to see if anything looks interesting. To him it doesn't seem to hold any more significance than getting a new toy, book, or puzzle, any other day of the year.

Today at church the kids sang a birthday song for him. It's supposed to be a fun way to make each child feel special when their birthday is coming up. He wouldn't go up so I carried him, thinking he might be more comfortable if I held him. Nope. He screamed through the entire song. Luckily it was a short song. Maybe I should have just politely declined.

Sigh.

I know in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter if he gets excited about his birthday or not. I suppose it doesn't matter if he doesn't seem to know it's his birthday or even what a birthday is. Still, we want to do something special for him, but we're at a loss as to what to do.

He doesn't interact much with other kids yet, so a party doesn't really make sense. Every year so far we've just had a short, simple party at home with a cake and some presents, with just the five of us. I think that's what we'll do again this year.

Sorry if this is kind of a downer post... like I said I was kind of hoping this would be the year it "clicked" and he started to care and get excited about it. Maybe next year. Maybe I should stop waiting for that and just be pleasantly surprised when / if it happens. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one that has felt this way...





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7 comments:

Rebecca on March 22, 2009 at 10:54 PM said...

((HUGS))

I don't know what really to say in regards to advice or any such thing, but I can understand how you feel with just hoping that it would click this year. Here at our house, well this was last year at Bug's birthday he just didn't seem to understand why everyone wasn't getting a present - I guess in his mind if it was his birthday it should have been everyone elses too.

Maybe next year Bitty will get more excited. :)

Maddy on March 22, 2009 at 11:26 PM said...

Hmm. I'd like to say 'been there and done that,' if you know what I mean. Couldn't unwrap the presents [paper] didn't want to anyway. Not in the least bit interested in what's inside. One kind of cake and not particularly enthusiastic. People? No thanks. Songs of any kind? Are you quite mad. Yes, it is an odd place to exist in.

I admitted defeat when he was about five and just invited two of his fellow therapy victims for a 'play date.' More of a 'see if you can remain in the same room' kind of an affair.

I found it very, very hard to imagine anything remotely like the typical kind of birthday affair that most children long for.

We still have a way to go yet but on the plus side, he can open a present now. Sometimes he likes the contents. Often, during the following year he may attempt play especially if it's a preferred 'toy.' We take him to the local indoor racing car track and he and his class mates race the remote control cars with greater enthusiasm each year. Things do change in the most unexpected ways, just...well,,,,,,as you already know, very, very slowly. Most important of all [how could I forget to mention THAT = he's very happy]
Best wishes and many happy returns.

Kim on March 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM said...

I know how you feel. Meechi doesn't get excited either. I am like you and was thinking #4 might be the year, but I guess maybe not.

Julie on March 23, 2009 at 7:46 PM said...

I completely understand how you feel. Daniel is the same way. We wanted to do something, though, and decided to have a "lno expectation" party. We invited some friends, mostly adults and a few kids that he knows well. When we were outside, he played inside and when we all went in, he wanted to play outside. We had balloons, bubbles, treat bags, yummy food and drinks, desserts and rented a huge bouncy house. There were NO expectations where Daniel was concerned. Everyone could pretty much do what they wanted and our guests let him open his gifts after they left. He doesn't really care about gifts. I made him an awesome Nemo/ocean cake and he didn't want candles or the Birthday song. He hardly even ate it.

It was an awesome party. It was in celebration of him and we got to just be with friends and family and Daniel was allowed to just be himself. I would do it again.

He could participate...or not. He ate some cake (mostly just frosting)...after everyone left. He played with balloons...after everyone left...he jumped in the bouncy house...after everyone left. I helped him open his gifts. He peeled off the paper with a disgusted look on his face like he couldn't stand to touch the paper. I was going to send pictures of Daniel opening his gifts with the thankyou notes, but I couldn't with that face! lol! Oh, and after he opened a gift (markers) he didn't want to open anything else.

Sigh. Just gotta love em! The hard part is having NO expectations, which is so much easier to say than to really DO.

((HUGS))

rhemashope on March 23, 2009 at 10:10 PM said...

Oh my goodness. You put into words what I feel every year. Every year. Rhema's b-day is in 2 weeks (the big 5) and I am already trying not to get sad and discouraged that she still has absolutely no idea about birthdays.

Last year we had a party for her at an inflatable play zone. Why? B/c we knew she would have FUN, FUN, FUN. And the other ASD kids could have fun as well. It worked out great. Did she even notice the other kids or the presents of the GFCF cake? Nope. But she had a great time.

I suspect Bitty's big brothers will help show him how to enjoy/understand birthdays.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) on March 24, 2009 at 1:10 PM said...

i can completely related. my oldest (of 4 girls) is very severe on the autistic spectrum and bdays, christmas, anyday really is just like any other day. I used to get really down on her bday, and try to do something 'big.' then, i started to just do nothing bc she didn't care and it stressed her out. she'll be 14 in may. i don't really know what to do, other than to make her day as special for HER as i can... ya know, constant stimming, mcdonalds, and perhaps a longer bath to splash it. oh, that darlin' is so easy to please :)

goodluck with the party planning!

Jenny on March 24, 2009 at 5:27 PM said...

Wow - your Bitty and my Jackson must have almost the exact same birthday (Jackson turns 4 today)!

I can understand why you would feel a bit sad over his lack of interest in his birthday. It's natural to want your child to enjoy their special day. While we don't have the exact same problem, we do have the issue of Jackson being unaware of his birthday.

He just learned to say the word "three" about a month ago, so no matter how many times we tell him he's having a birthday and turning four, he keeps saying "thwee"!

We decided not to have a party this year, because it wouldn't really matter to him anyways. But we did have the grandparents come in town and we all went to the zoo. Jackson enjoyed that. I even ordered some silly animal caps and made everyone wear one at home, which he thought was funny.

I don't think he knew we were celebrating his birthday, but he liked having his grandparents here!

Is there some activity you could take Bitty to that he would enjoy? Something special that maybe you don't do all the time? Perhaps even eating at a favorite restaurant?

Hopefully you can find a way to celebrate his birthday in a way that he'll enjoy, too!

 

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.

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