In my little boy’s head, everybody’s birthday HAS to be perfect. The pressure that this puts upon both himself and us is enormous! The day has to run according to plan otherwise he can get extremely upset. He particularly struggles with the emotions attached to these special days. The excitement, the anticipation, the joy, the apprehension, the worry. The waiting for the day to arrive. The unknown of what might be wrapped up in those intriguing packages. The disappointment if the day doesn’t go as planned. I can only begin to imagine how hard it must be for him to deal with all these thoughts and feelings with his anxiety-driven need to be in control.
Then there’s the logistics.
Presents have to be carefully considered and must be wholly appropriate for the recipient.
Cards have to be handmade. Shop bought cards are not personal enough, in his opinion.
Decorations must be put up the night before, with fastidious care as to where they are placed.
The day itself must be carried out with meticulous planning. Who is coming to visit, what time will they come, what will the cake look like, who will give out the presents, what games might we play……. the list goes on! His mood can vary greatly on the day from being hyper, to angry, to frustrated, to happy, to excited. We find ourselves treading on eggshells as we are all so eager for my little boy to cope with the day as best he can.
It’s his 8th birthday next week. He is anxiously counting the days down. He has asked us not to mention the word ‘birthday’ before the day itself or to talk about how old he will be. I suppose this is his way of trying to keep control of his emotions. In some ways I think he finds his own birthday more difficult than others as he can’t be in complete control. He may receive cards from people he didn’t expect or open a present that he doesn’t like. Over the years we have learnt to involve him in present choosing as much as possible and even tell him who might buy what, as we feel this goes some way to helping him feel in control. We ask him what type of cake he’d like and generally try to minimise the level of surprise. It’s his special day after all and our priority is to make sure he is able to enjoy it as much as he can.
Fingers crossed we get everything right for him next week. I’ll let you know!!