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Elmo’s World. Still.

posted Thursday February 9th, 2012

There are some battles I’m just not ready to wage before 7 a.m. Particularly when my opponent is an 8-year-old armed with an iPad loaded with images of Elmo birthday cakes.

“Ray,” I called from the kitchen this morning, as he hustled to get ready for the day, “will you please explain to Sophie why she can’t have an Elmo-themed birthday party?”

“Sophie, it’s way too early to plan your birthday,” her father replied.

“But Daddy, it’s only three months away!”

Months ago (like, the day after her 8th birthday party) I gave up that fight. Sophie loves talking about her birthday, and really, for me, that’s a victimless crime. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been planning her 9th birthday party — which will take place at the end of May — for a while now myself. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to “Sophie’s Purple Pajama Party.” Weeks ago, she agreed to a purple-themed party. Cute, creative, appropriate for all ages. Most, anyway. Phew. Time to look for purple cocktail ideas.

But today Sophie wants an Elmo party.

“I loooooooooooove Elmo!” she said, (literally) stamping her foot and holding up the iPad to show off a beach-themed Elmo cake. This Elmo was on a surfboard, wishing someone named “Katie” a happy birthday.

I bet that Katie was turning 2, tops. But you can’t tell Sophie that. We’ve been having this battle (again, literally) for years. And I’ve grappled with it even longer. I remember throwing Sophie’s Elmo-themed third birthday party and feeling sorry for myself as I perused the offerings on and noted that most Elmo birthdays are planned for 1-year-olds.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re all about immature television choices in our family. As I love to remind her, my sister watched Sesame Street til she was 11. Annabelle (almost 11 herself) only recently stopped watching Oswald the octopus on Nick Jr. I fell asleep on the couch last night watching the Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” — and don’t get me started on some of Ray’s television favorites.

But Annabelle’s not asking for a Backyardigans birthday party. I’m not looking to shake it up for my 46th. Sophie loves Elmo and she has no concept of why her friends might not.

“I’m going to go to school today and tell Sarah I’m having an Elmo birthday party!” she said.

“Oh no, please don’t do that,” I begged. Just the other day I wrote about how well Sophie’s school sticker chart was working, and a couple days later I bragged that she gets along well with her peers. Two days later (of course) the sticker chart came home sticker-less, reporting that Sophie had hit friends at lunch. (!!!!) Yesterday she missed a sticker during math; turns out she locked herself in the bathroom, refusing to come out. None of this is easy and as I’ve written many times, I’m wont to focus on something silly — like the request for an Elmo birthday party — rather than the bigger, impossible-to-solve with retail therapy problem.

I adore my Girl in a Party Hat. I just need to convince her to ditch Elmo. I think I can do it. I’ve got three months, after all.

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Tags: Filed under: birthday parties, Down syndrome by Amysilverman

6 Responses to “Elmo’s World. Still.”

  1. Not to crush your Elmo-less dreams but I know a 13 year old boy who is still into Cookie Monster, and a 40-something into Tinkerbell still. Hey! Maybe ELMO will be Sophie’s tattoo that we were talking about. I think I’ve seen it.

  2. Don’t have an answer to the Elmo “issue”, but I do have a great purple drink I found on Pinterest! (If the link doesn’t work, search ‘purple rain’.) Good luck!

  3. My friend Jennifer got the most amazing sparkly purple vinyl fabric at SAS the other day — it would be an amazing table cloth/runner, anything.

  4. My soon to be 10 yr. old daughter loves Cookie Monster. She sleeps with a CM plush, and has worn her CM t-shirt to school. She also loves Hello Kitty and is slightly obsessed with gummy bears. My 13 year old son on the otherhand loves anything bacon! If either of them decided to have CM or bacon themed birthday parties I’d probably be a little disappointed and worried their peers would think it odd. (Still, I’d prefer a CM party over Justin Bieber any day!) In the end though – if “CM” and “bacon” reflects who they are at this moment in time then I’d roll with it – 10 years from now all I’ll remember is we had a great time making their childhood birthdays special. As for what the guests think? I don’t think the theme really registers with them – they are more interested in having fun, eating cake and being kids. If a kid is so bold to make a rude remark – remind him/her that it isn’t their party. Maybe Elmo could join the party in purple PJs? Or Red Elmo could jump in a vat of blue goo and turn all purple? I just know you’ll figure this one out!

  5. Umm..I’m pretty sure this is how my parents felt when I made them get me a Homestar Runner cake for my 14th birthday party. People deal with others’ oddities. It’s harder for kids because kids are mean…but teenagers are mean too and the people at my party that were into the homestarrunner cake are still the people I call when I’m feeling down. That being said, I have full faith in your ability to change her mind back to the purple party.

  6. This is how I feel when my “typical” 5 year old announced she wants a Barney party for her 5th birthday. To be fair that was then followed in the months afterwards with a stream of other characters and we finally settled on a Unicorn for the cake. What would Sophie think about an Elmo cake for the family- could you just flat out say that while she likes Elmo- her friends have told you they don’t and in a way we throw that party to entertain our friends but we could have an elmo cake at home on the actual big day? I get what you’re saying I think. It’s one thing for me to find it kitchy to have an elmo birthday cake for myself- (which I did in the last 8 years) it’s another thing entirely when you are trying to teach her socially to relate to others and you don’t want to enforce stereotypes. You don’t want to crush their spirit but you want to guide them. I’m pretty sure Dora will be our issue when Abby is Sophie’s age.
    Hey- also- I don’t know how often you are on FB- but I had showed your blog to my husband Charlie and he was intrigued especially in reading your bio. He went to CMC and I think really was touched reading your writing and having that in common along with the younger daughter with Ds in common. At any rate- he was going to send you a note on there but wasn’t sure that if you are on FB much. Just wanted you to know he’s with me. xoox

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