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The Birthday Monsters

posted Friday February 7th, 2014


The birthday monsters are in town. (Apologies to Sandra Boynton.)

I got an email last week from Sophie’s aide:

[Sophie's teacher] and I wanted to let you know that we had a talk with Sophie today about her birthday. There have been several occasions recently where Sophie has told a student she was not invited to her party. We have used positive reinforcement in trying to resolve this issue but it has not worked. We feel that having a consequence may help this situation. We have told Sophie that if this happens again she will miss her lunch recess and we will be calling you. We think this will help. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this.

You need to know two things. First, Sophie’s birthday is not until May 21. Second, this is totally my fault.

I have created a monster. A birthday monster. Sophie is obsessed with her birthday, and I have no one to blame but myself. Birthdays are a huge deal in our house, and the discussion about Sophie’s pretty much starts the day after Christmas. (And the discussion of Christmas begins the day after her birthday — but that’s a different blog post.) Now, that said, I do not condone using a birthday party as an instrument of torture — of course I don’t. And Sophie and I had a Big Talk about that note when she got home from school the day it was sent.

“I’m not allowed to talk about my birthday at school,” she said a little sadly, hanging her head.

“Good,” I replied. “That was really mean. In fact, if you keep doing it, you may not have a birthday party at all!”

Sophie and I both know that will never happen. Neither of us can resist, and sometime soon, we’ll likely come up with theme and create a Pinterest board and start planning that party, as we’ve done in years past. Unlike Sophie (and to be fair, she doesn’t spend all her time uninviting party guests) I have always seen birthday parties as a chance to invite people into Sophie’s life — both those who are already good friends, and those who might like to be included. Play dates are (increasingly) awkward. But who doesn’t like a birthday party?

(Consider the name of this blog.)

This year I think we’ll hold off a few weeks on the Pinterest board and the color theme decision. But first, we have a very important birthday to celebrate today. It’s Sophie’s best friend Sarah’s birthday. She is 11. Sarah loves Neapolitan ice cream — you know, the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry striped kind — so when I saw a Neapolitan cake online, I had to screen grab it. There’s no time to make one from scratch, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Along with getting those layers to stack up and stay put. I’ll spend the morning fighting with three different boxes of cake mix, a lot of frosting and a pile of toothpicks, cursing and making a mess and having a blast.

I can’t wait. And I can’t complain about Sophie’s birthday obsession.


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

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