Bittersweet birthday party


Dinky will be 6 tomorrow and in celebration she wanted a party. She has had a party every year.
Last year was not too bad. Dinky invited 20 kids, 6 came and I had to ask one of the parents to bring a younger sibling so the party could go ahead.

This year Dinky invited 20 children again.
Within a week I had 2 who couldn’t make it. So I asked dinky to pick 2 more children. I heard back from 4 parents who said their children were coming. The other 16 I wasn’t sure of. Dinky’s friend with PDA was too anxious to come bless him. So it was down to 19.

Last night dinky was up at 1am singing the ‘everything is awesome’ song from the new Lego movie, which, if you have heard it, one of those super catchy but infuriatingly annoying songs!
She didn’t go back to sleep until well past 2.30am. Was back up at 5.50am and was running the length of the house. She was jumping on everything and just seemed a bundle of anxious and excitable energy.

One of the parents I know through the local autism group kindly gave us a lift to the party with all the bags, as her child was coming too, as dinky knows her from the old school and the SN group.
I had enough food for 20 children including Dinky, and some nibbles for the parents. So before the party started we got all the food in to the little boxes, sorted out all the party bags with sweets. Instead of horrible plastic bits of tat, I brought each child a small toy- either a squidgy glow stick, sand filled animal, or stretchy toy. Dinky had stuck a ‘thank you for coming to my party’ sticker on each one.

Just before the party was due to start we had 2 guests, a lad from the local autism group and part of Dinky’s SN group, and his step brother, who I said was welcome to stay, as we had the lad with PDA drop out for definite this morning bless him.
Then we had another guest from the SN group, and another, then someone from the school.

That was it. Out of all the children Dinky invited, 5 came. Although it was lovely of the SN group leader to come for most of Dinky’s party!
There were more adults than children.
This was really horrible for me as a parent. I do not know what made it so bad. The fact that these children didn’t come? Or that their parents were rude not to let me know that their children wouldn’t be coming? Or that everyone keeps saying she makes friends, yet none turn up for a party? Or that I had spent over £150 on a party for 6 children and could possibly have done something much more exciting with that money?
I don’t know, but it felt horrible. What was worse… Dinky didn’t ask where anyone else was. She did say that she wanted to give the lad who dropped out this morning and the lad whose family had a holiday booked a party bag. Which was really sweet, but she didn’t ask about any other child.

It felt empty in the SN clubhouse. We had the use of 4 rooms and a massive garden. Most of the time the children were spit up as all but 2 of the kids were autistic. Dinky did play with her friend from school for a bit, then the lad she talks about sometimes from her SN group.

The kids all seemed to be having fun, then all of a sudden Dinky wanted to have some of her birthday cake. We were only mid way through the party and she went into meltdown. She was throwing stuff, punching me and my dad, screaming and was so upset. I knew from how she was in the morning that very little would need to happen in order for her to go off.
The SN group leader was shocked as she had never seen dinky quite like that before. To give my Dad his dues, he really did well with her, and between us we calmed her down. Then she still wanted the cake, so we did the cake. She didn’t want anyone to sing.
Again a tradition falls at the feet of autism.

I think I’m quite good now at rolling with the tide with Dinky now. None of the other kids battered an eyelid about the cake.

They had their snack boxes and they raided the unopened ones for swaps and extras. Most of the adults got a snack box too.

Then when I cut the cake, dinky didn’t actually want it! If it wasn’t her party I may have screamed… Not at her, but in general! As it was the cake probably wasn’t the issue, she was just extremely anxious and had reached boiling point.

It was at this point the SN group leader said that apart from the kid from school, the girl we came with hadn’t been to a party in over a year, and two of the three lads didn’t get invited to many parties, not wanted to attend, so it was lovely to see them at Dinky’s.

I felt much better. Those three kids had really made such a massive step by coming today 🙂 I am so very proud of them, and of Dinky.

The kids continued to have a good time, and everything went smoothly and the party ended without incident.

We got a lift home and that was the end of that.

Tomorrow is Dinky’s birthday! We are heading to the cinema to see tinkerbell and the pirates (I know pretty girly for dinky!), followed by a trip back to the SN clubhouse, although I’m not entirely sure she will be up for it.


2 thoughts on “Bittersweet birthday party

  1. You are right, it is SO rude of the other parents not to reply. I always reply to any invite we get, whether we can make it or not, almost as soon as we get the invite. Parties take planning, and the cost! Sorry for you but wonder if a smaller party was nicer for Dinky in the end. Hope her birthday went well x

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