It Wasn’t My Kids…Wahoo!!
I am sure I have earned a special place in parenting hell for thinking those words. The fact that I did a little happy dance in my head as we left the birthday party will certainly seal my fate.
It’s not that I don’t sympathize with other parents, believe me, I sympathize. But, for once, it was not Blue Boy or Beany that was melting down or throwing up at an event. Yes, I’m afraid that has become my measure of success for outings with lots of unfamiliar people, activities, and food. To have fun seems like asking too much. But, this past Sunday afternoon, they did have fun…we all had fun. It was not without drama on our part; but, the drama was mostly only noticed by me or Mommy.
Blue Boy and Beany were both excited to say happy birthday to fellow twins – we had seen the birthday boys recently so they were excited to go and play. We discussed the possibility that there might be “special treats” at the party…a term we usually reserve for something sweet and baked. Beany threw out a hopeful bid for sugar plums (purple, sugar covered gummies they had memorably received from Santa) as we left the house. We were off to a good start.
As we arrived at the party, Blue Boy ran (yes, literally ran) to the birthday boys’ mom – he’s had a special thing for her since he was a tiny infant – it made me smile. But, then he caught sight of a “daddy” and stopped short, turning back to me with a decidedly unhappy and anxious look on his face. Somewhere in his second year Blue Boy developed a fear of men. We took an ill-fated approach and tried to explain that men were just like Mommy and Mama only we called them daddys or something botched-up like that. Now all men are “daddys” and he still doesn’t like (most of) them….we think it might be the big, deep voices but it’s hard to say. Mommy and Beany worked their way into the house, Blue Boy refused to go inside. We sat on the front steps for a while and I tried to work him closer to the front door. A “daddy” (the birthday boys’ uncle) came out of the house and started to talk to Blue Boy…uh-oh, here it comes. But it didn’t. Blue Boy listened to him, answered a question and accepted an invitation to visit his dog who was taking refuge from the party in the back of a car. I helped Blue Boy stand on the back of the car and pet the dog…he was thrilled. I was thrilled.
We moved back to the steps. I asked if he wanted to go inside…’no’. The birthday boys’ aunt asked if he wanted to come inside for a balloon…’yes’. He marched right inside, moved through the crowd and to the back of the house where there was a beautifully set kids table with a balloon at every tiny chair. He said ‘I want light blue’. Blue Boy also asked for the dark blue balloon for Beany…will wonders never cease. I was dumb struck and giddy.
Beany had a moment when she realized the party’s hired entertainment was leaving. She had yet to screw her courage up after an initial attempt to participate was abandoned..it was a bit raucous and she is very sensitive to noise. I told her she had been very brave to try and that I should have told her they would be leaving so she could have another go at it. She was disappointed but I also recognized that this was more about control than anything. She has this burning need to control resources. Her head was tipped towards the floor and I could see her trying not to cry. I was braced for the meltdown. It didn’t happen, she accepted a hug instead. Um, now I know these are not my kids – I had a fleeting body snatchers moment.
They sat/stood right behind the birthday table. Happy Birthday was sung. The candles came and were blown out. Still no tears, no screaming, no terror over the fire, no meltdowns. I was so happy for them and, yes, relieved for me. A boy whispered a secret in Beany’s ear – she’s not telling or can’t remember what he said. They ate a cupcake – Blue Boy actually ate it, he didn’t just lick it. The last bite was dicey, but I cleared his mouth and gave him his sippy cup. Yay, no throwing up. He didn’t panic. He asked for another. We quit while we were ahead. They drank juice out of a box using a straw. They were happy. They were kids at a birthday party.
There was crying, there was throwing up. But, it wasn’t my kids.
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