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Party Hearty

 For as long as I can remember, when #1's birthday came around,  he didn't want a party. He didn't care about being with people, so he always chose some piece of electronics. We knew that he would benefit from the electronics instead of wasting the money on a party where inevitably he would wind up in the corner not engaging anyone.

Last year was a remarkable breakthrough for him. Two months before his birthday, we asked him the same question we did every year, "do you want a party or do you want electronics?" The answer was always some game, game system, or computer related item, so I waited for the expected answer.  And that is when he surprised me and said "a party." What? Did I hear that right?   Kids with Autism often answer with the last choice they are offered. So over the next few weeks, I asked him the same question phrased differently: "Do you want a party or an XBox?"  and then reversed the order. For four weeks straight, the answer was always "party", so he got a party. I attached a little note to the invitation explaining that he had autism and we invited the parents to come. 14 of his classmates showed up and some even chose his party over other commitments. It was an amazing party and he played with his friends and loved it. Watching him with his classmates, he blended. He didn't flap, he didn't stand out. He was just a kid having fun and it was awesome.

And this year, I asked him the  same question. "do you want a party or......." and before I could even finish the sentence, he answered, "party."Well, ok then. And then he asked, "Mom, can I have Just Dance 2014, too?" In my mind, I was saying, "YES, YOU CAN HAVE WHATEVER YOU WANT!! YOU USED YOUR WORDS!!!!" But I have been trying to get out of that mode, so I told him he could ask for gift cards and buy it with them. And with him, that is he ONLY present he wants. That is all that is required: a party and that game.

 What is great about #1, is that his disposition makes not caring about him impossible. His classmates are all tuned into him and on some level love that he is happy just being him. He sings and dances when he feels like it and is immune to others around him. He is happy in his head and it is contagious.

This year, we are returning to Ms. Becky's bounce house for another great party. It will be exciting and awesome, but knowing that this is his last year in elementary school makes me a little sad because this is the end of the class party era and he has only just started seeing the value in them. Once he hits middle school, it will be a different world.

But, I'm not going to worry about that now.
I have a party to plan and it is going to be awesome.


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