Friday, February 02, 2007

It's party time again

When I opened Bud's backpack after school today I pulled out an envelope addressed to him. It was an invitation to Carla's birthday party.

This is Bud's first invitation since he went to Clay's birthday party more than a year ago. Despite the fact that Clay's birthday was a smashing success, I've got some anxiety about Carla's party. I don't know Carla's parents. I don't know if they know who Bud is. They may have invited everyone in the class. They may not know about Bud's autism.

The invitation doesn't say specifically, but I imagine that this is a drop-off-your-child party. Bud is not a drop-off kind of child.

All of this ran through my head as I read the invitation and my brain jumped to the easy out: Maybe Bud won't want to go.

I broached the subject with him.

"Bud, Carla invited you to her birthday party. Do you want to go?"


"The party will be at Carla's house, with all the kids from school."


"You want to go to Carla's birthday party at Carla's house?"


Unequivocal. He's going.

I'm rehearsing the telephone conversation I need to have with Carla's mom: about Bud - that I'll need to stay with him - that I'd be happy to lend a hand with serving cake or doing crafts or whatever, and is there anything I can bring, and oh-my-goodness is he looking forward to the party.

And then we need to go shopping for a present, even though I have no idea what one buys for a neurotypical seven-year-old girl whose favorite word is underwear.

My stomach is in knots just thinking about it. But I'll make the phone call and I'll do the shopping, because Bud's going to the party.

Bud's going to the party with his friends.


Steve said...

Go Bud!
My son is 5, so we haven't come across these "drop-off-your-kids"parties yet, but they are right around the corner. Please let us know how it goes. I'm sure a good time will be had by all. Since I am a new visitor to your blog, can you answer: Is Bud in a mainstream classroom? If so, how is that going? I'll browse some earlier posts to see if I can discern the answer. I have read the last three posts and I must say - your writing skills pale only in comparison to your parenting skills.
Best Wishes,
Steve D

Anonymous said...

Awe! This is just wonderful! I am so excited for both of you. And how wonderful are you that you face your anxiety in order to allow your Bud to go and have a great time with his friends at Carla's party!!!

Susan Senator said...

This is all good. Really. Leave them your cell number, explaining that he might get anxious (or something else that makes sense) so that you'll feel okay. Then -- go have some fun!!! Hooray for you both!!

MOM-NOS said...

Thanks, Steve! Yes, Bud is in a mainstream first-grade classroom. There is one other child in the class who gets special ed services, but he is not autistic. There's a classroom aide, but the school's philosophy is that although she is in the class because Bud is there, she is the aide to the teacher and not the aide to Bud. Their belief is that too often when there is a "one-on-one" aide, the aide (or, in other words, the paraprofessional who is among the least trained and experienced person on staff) is the person who does the bulk of the work with the child who has the greatest need. Ms. Jones (the aide in Bud's classroom) does work with Bud a lot, but she also works with all of the other children, giving time for Ms. Parker (the classroom teacher) to do a lot of one-on-one work with Bud as well. Bud also works with an OT, an SLP, and a special educator, mostly in small groups.

I can see why it wouldn't work for everyone, but it's a great fit for Bud. It has been a terrific experience, and so far he's thriving in the public school system.

kirsten said...

funny, my kiddo has a birthday party to go to today (i'm staying).

as for what to get carla, just head to one of those PINK aisles. you'll do fine. :)

MileMasterSarah said...

That’s so awesome that Bud got invited to a party! I’m hopeful that Sandis will one day get an invitation to a party. His relations with the other kids isn’t all that great right now. I know it would do WONDERS for him to be invited and get to go to a party. I’d have to be with Sandis at a party as well, I can imagine the tummy gut you get from thinking about that phone conversation. Sandis is, for the most part, the kind of guy that needs 1:1 at other people’s homes…..It is just safer for everyone that way! I hope it goes well and Bud has fun!

Another Voice said...

I hope Bud has a wonderful time. Remember a camera, not for posting pictures but for your private memory book.

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

Oh that's wonderful news! I find it best to just let Sarah pick out the present and include the gift receipt --- the very prominently displayed gift receipt ;)

Have fun! I'm sure Party Mom will love an extra set of hands :)

lizziehoop said...

When my son goes to parties I always call and politely asked if they know about his autism (believe me other parents talk to each other about everything) and if they could handle it. They always say yes. (Maybe because they are a. fools or b. enjoy challenges or possibly c. they are better parents than me!). We would go to the door on party day - Dan would walk in the door and I could tell right then and there what his reaction would be. If the children are running wild when we get there he will not stay, if the house is too cluttered he will not stay, and if the music is too loud he will not stay. If he stays I give my cell phone number. If he can't bring himself to stay I thank them for inviting him, hand over the present and go home. Simple. I only stay if the parent asks me too or the party is at the pool. Girl parties are always calmer than boy parties. I always ask what the child would like present wise and go from there. If the parent says they would like just about anything I give them cash. Cash is good. They like cash - even when they are not quite old enough to understand that they can use it to buy goods and services - their parents will be more than happy to explain to them!
This is going to work out great and it gives you a great opportunity to meet Carla's mom. Anybody who has a little girl whose favourite word is underwear can't be all that bad!

mcewen said...

So is that a right of passage for you or for him? Well done. I know that we're a long way away from the 'drop off' stage of development ourselves, but it's good to know that it's a real possibility.

VtBudFan said...

Wowee! This is great! I like that Carla. :)

I don't hesitate to ask other parents if I can stay for play dates or parties if my kids are uncomfortable without me, and my kids are NT. The other parent can always say no, and then we just wouldn't go. No hard feelings. (Or we might invite the kid to our house instead, or make some other plan - and parents are always welcome.)

For a gift, you can always find nifty craft supplies. They make lots of kits these days. Have you seen the Klutz Press books? Believe it or not, we almost always make our gifts, though. I like to give a photo of my kid and the birthday kid together, maybe in a frame made or decorated by my kid. Sometimes, for kids we REALLY like, we make up stories featuring the birthday kid on some great adventure, and make it into a little book, hand-written by me and hand-illustrated by my husband or our kids.

:) Happy Carla's birthday to you!

Anonymous said...

All we are give Bud a chance!

Mary Beth said...

My NT daughter is in third grade and we have only been doing drop off parties starting this year. I as a Mom who gives birthday parties appreciate it when parents stay. They lend a helping hand and I get to know the parents. I would never drop off my child and leave if I had never met the parents and did not know their lifestyle. Another thing we always ask about drop off parties is if there is a firearm in the home. Just today my first grader went to a party and all the parents stayed and hung out.
Good luck and I hope Bud has an enjoyable time!!!

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

We always buy cool art stuff like glitter glue, stamp markers, stickers, pads of paper (colored and white) changeable markers, overwriter markers. It always seems to be a hit and Boo loves to pick out what is the "in" craft at school.
He sounds like he is more ready than you this time :o) And that's a great thing!


Linda Humphrey said...


I'm starting a new Yahoo group for this April's autism awareness month. The idea is to get people to send photos (like at Christmas time) to political leaders, media, etc. to put a face to autism. Do you mind if I post a link to the group?

MOM-NOS said...

Sounds terrific, Linda. Post away!

kyra said...

that is so exciting! i feel nervous and tingling, as if I"M going to the party! i can't wait to hear how it goes!