Birthday Parties: An Addendum

October 8th, 2011

Allow me to add one more comment to the “why I’m in no hurry to organize a birthday party for Miss Mouse” conversation — she doesn’t always do well in social situations.

Let me be clear.  My girl is bright and verbal and social and fabulous (of course).  But I’m learning that there’s a specific type of activity which is hard for her.  It’s the “structured activity led by someone she doesn’t know.”  This includes story-time at the library, camp at the botanical gardens, and — as it turns out — birthday parties.

We went to our first true birthday party today.  A friend from school was turning three and invited Miss Mouse to a party at a local gymnastic studio.  Trampolines, parachute games, zip lines, and pits full of foam cubes to launch oneself into.  Oh, plus cookie cake.  Should have been an absolute blast, but I’ll let the picture speak for itself.  There were ten kids playing happily together and one kid who looked like this…

Yeah.

Honestly I’m not quite sure what goes wrong in these scenarios but poor Miss Mouse just really struggles.  At less structured events, like our trip to the pumpkin patch or a play date at a friend’s house, she’s fine.  But in classes, camps, and other programs, it’s a different story.  Usually she just gets quiet and withdrawn and a bit petulant.  At story time she’ll refuse to participate, or she’ll pretend to be super shy when someone asks her a question.  Today, it was a full blow meltdown.

I almost took her home, but we stuck with it and she eventually perked up when one of her best friends from school arrived late.  The two of them formed their own little party and basically ignored the rest, but at least they were happy.

But I realized today that she would almost certainly have responded the same way at her own party, had I been so foolish as to organize a similar one, and I felt a huge sense of relief to have dodged that bullet!

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