The Birthday Party Game

The Monster’s birthday party is Sunday.

The Monster has some concept of what a “birthday party” is, insofar as it obviously involves birthday cake.  Aside from that, I’m not quite sure he’s aware of what it entails.

I suppose, to him, it’s a vehicle for providing children with birthday cake, really, and he’s aware of the rituals that surround it – the song, the blowing out candles – but only peripherally so.  He has no apparent cognizance of his age (he’s just turned five, but has little concept of being anything aside from himself), nor do the presents necessarily mean much to him at that very moment.  The first part isn’t too different than a lot of kids his age, but the latter is.

This is, perhaps, an opportunity for us to work on appropriate behavior around candles.  He likes to blow out candles – we need to work on his recognizing the difference between his birthday candles, another child’s birthday candles… and holy day or Hanukah candles.  He hasn’t shown much interest otherwise in fire, thankfully.  It’s likewise a chance to work on leveraging his OT skills with a fork in cutting the cake piece that’s given to him.  (And at least I know he’ll eat it.)

Gift-giving occasions are really hard for us as well, since it’s not so easy for us to answer the obvious “what should we get him” question.  He rarely expresses a want – commercials register as little more than musical interludes for him to memorize, and he really does seem fairly lacking in loyalty the idea of his toys except when R decides he wants to play with a given thing.  He bounces from activity to activity without really displaying a preference when he’s playing.  He’ll just as happily work on a puzzle as he will play with blocks or musical instruments or electronics, and I’ve yet to actually hear him ask for something in specific that he doesn’t have.

Contrast that with most NT five year olds, who probably have lists made out in their head weeks before their birthdays…

On the other hand, though, it makes planning the actual party easy.  He doesn’t have a laundry list of what he wants for a theme, and it’s a good opportunity for him to have parallel and cooperative play interactions with other children his own age.  Now, if the weather holds out and I can re-inflate his kiddy pool….

(The guest list, though, I’ll save for another post…)

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