What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Birthday Party Survival Story

I guess I'd better report on how Mister Determined’s recent birthday party went.

As you may remember from a previous post, we were a bit worried about the whole thing. When he comes home from school, he pretends to be his teacher and shouts at his kids, telling them what to do, what not to do, and when they have been naughty. Alternatively, he does one of his “shows” which also involved lots of shouting and talking that makes very little sense.

This birthday was the first one where he actually invited his classmates, and he had dreams of bringing his daily routine into reality – imagine, being able to actually have all his friends here and boss them around. We tried to explain to him that they wouldn’t like that very much, and they would not want to ever come again if he did that. To no avail.

So we decided to splash out and ordered a clown to come. You pay them, and they come in and do the whole party. They organize the kids, play party games, herd them towards food at appropriate times, and even do a 15 minute magic show. Can you believe they even came with their own wrapped up parcel for pass-the-parcel? Brilliant. All we had to do was provide food, and off course, manage our children. We knew Mister D. would need some attention, Boo Boo would not let go of me, and Possum would most likely be intimidated by the whole bunch of his brother’s friends descending into his space and not take too kindly to that too. So the idea of someone else doing all the party work seemed a bargain to us.

Mister D. was pretty excited about his birthday party. About a week beforehand, he started waking up early each morning (about 5 o’clock, not funny) and got progressively more hyper-active. Then, on the day before the party, Mister D. completely lost it. I’m glad the nanny was here to see it, no-one would have believed me otherwise. He kicked, screamed, thumped his fists – all over me asking him to wait a minute for his afternoon tea. I ended up picking him up and carrying him downstairs to the laundry (while the nanny took a very frightened Boo Boo and Possum out for a little walk down the road). He threw himself on the floor and shouted, no screamed, “just leave me alone, leave me alone”. So I did. I told him to come up when he was ready, left all the doors open, and went back upstairs to prepare dinner. About 20 minutes later, the little man came trudging up the stairs, telling me in a little voice “I feel better now Mamma”. I gave him a big hug, and we had a bit of a chat. He told me he was just very frustrated, and apologized for being rude and frightening Boo Boo. The next morning, the morning of the party, he had another little melt-down (this time over something his Daddy said), and I was getting very worried about how the party would go down.

But, surprise surprise, it went well. As soon as the first kids started to arrive, he settled down a bit, Soon after the clown arrived, and as luck would have it, he had an apprentice with him, and we got two for the price of one! The clowns were great (if a bit noisy, despite my requests to “tone things down a bit”) and kept all the kids amused. They were ok about letting Mister Determined be the MC, and involved him in their magic show – Mister D, got to do the final piece de resistance trick, where fire was turned into a dove. He was a bit frightened, but rose to the occasion, and loved it.

Turning a fire into a dove - note the shock on Mister D.'s face!

20 kids, one birthday boy, and a birthday cake with 7 candles

After the party, we had a light lunch, and then Oma and Opa came to whisk him away to the Schools Spectacular performance in town. It’s the final performance of about 3,000 school children, and off course Mister D. absolutely loved it. The rest of the day, Daddy played trains with Possum, Boo Boo slept after her exhausting time at the party (she was both intrigued and frightened of the clowns’ painted faces) and we went and voted – I took some quiet time by spending three hours at my local polling station handing out “How to Vote for The Greens” leaflets. How wonderfully relaxing and peaceful after all the stress and worry and noise and excitement of the party.

We were so relieved the whole thing was over. By the time Oma and Opa brought the birthday boy home, a Thai take-away dinner was on the table, and we all ate together, and then chucked the tired kids into their beds early.

After that, the evening got better and better. We watched the election results come in, and went from hoping for a new government to elation at a landslide Labor election victory. Yippeee! We went to bed late that night, waiting for the current Prime Minister, John Howard (defeated in his own seat no less!), to come and make his final speech and the new guy, Kevin Rudd, to come and make his victory speech. Wonderful! Of course, we paid dearly for staying up so late, but I would not have missed that night for the world. To slowly see this conservative government crumble, and new hope seep in, it’s precious. Among the first things the new government will do is issue a formal apology to Australia’s Stolen Generation (Aboriginal children forcibly removed from their parents) and sign the Kyoto Protocol. How good is this? It seems we have our “fair go” Australia back…

1 comment:

manfred.fabig said...

Oh je, wat een opwindingingen voor een verjaardag!! Wat gaat er toch soms allemaal in dat koppie om? Daar hebben jullie het toch soms erg moeilijk, en soms ben je dan toch ook eens een beetje raadelos. Maaar ja, ik weet wel dat jullie dat allemaal in de grepp hebben en bekomen.
Gelukkig waren dan als gerusttelling van die hele opwindingen de resultaten van de verkiezingen!!!!!