Monday, January 16, 2012

The Day Has Arrived!!!!!!

So, I've been talking about planning the twins' birthday party for a while. Well, yesterday (Sunday) was the day.

They woke up excited and looking forward to it. They even took the change in routine and enjoyed their baths so they would be as fresh as possible for the party. Daddy had already finished decorating the cakes (but Music Man had already damaged one of them) but we were still nervous. We were expecting (at that point) 10 kids (including my 3), all but one with special needs attending a party in a gymnasium (that's designed for young children). There would be noise. There would be meltdowns. Would everyone have fun? Would Ballerina and Music Man (in particular) enjoy themselves?

We have an early lunch and arrive at the gym about 5 minutes before the party is scheduled to begin. Ballerina is so excited -- she can't wait to get into the gym and start playing on the climbing wall or swinging on the rings. She's slightly disappointed that the air track isn't already inflated, but accepts what's there readily enough. (Note, the air track is like a bounce house without the house -- just a large mat filled with air that is bounced upon, with a constant stream of air to keep it inflated -- it is typically one of the more popular things that they have at The Little Gym.) Music Man is a little more apprehensive right now. He is allowing himself to get ready for the gym, but he doesn't rush in with gusto like his sister.

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The guests began to arrive shortly after. A little boy came in and when he saw all of the equipment, he couldn't explore fast enough. He was chewing on a piece of Chewelry and really having a lot of fun. Then a couple of other kids arrived. Somewhere in this, Music Man also joined us in the gym and was playing on his preferred apparatuses (with Laurie Berkner Band music playing in the background). Before long, the party began. They sung Ballerina's favorite version of "Happy Birthday" and then the fun was on!!!!! They sung and danced. They explored. Sometimes kids stayed with the basic group. Other times, they wandered around to explore new things. They blew bubbles (Big Brother helped with that). They played more and more. And there were no meltdowns. And I mean ZERO meltdowns, not only by my kids but also the other 5 children there who are on the spectrum (there were 2 no-shows). Music Man really didn't want to join in with everyone else, but he did everything -- just on his own.

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Then it was time to pull out the air track.

This was what we were most worried about. Like I said above, the air track is like a bounce house which means there is a constant heavy flow of air. In other words, IT'S LOUD!!!!! I warned the parents ahead of time that we were doing it and pointed out some places within the gym that don't seem to be as loud, or invited them to step out into the waiting area. One of the parents decided to take me up on that offer and stepped outside the gym. Music Man couldn't get away fast enough. He went into the waiting area and found things to do there and refused to have ANYTHING to do with the air track. But everyone else sat on the white line across the middle of the track and were ready to ride it up. Ms. Katie, the party leader, threw the switch.

Yup, it was loud all right. But you know what? NO ONE WAS BOTHERED BY IT!!!!! I reached over and opened the door so the two boys who were in the waiting area (including Music Man) could become accustomed to the noise. The other boy came in after a minute or two and kept calling it "Vacuum". And you know what? That's a PERFECT description of what it sounds like -- a loud vacuum. I had never thought of that before.

These kids jumped. These kids bounced. Big Brother, who attends one of the advanced classes at this gym, demonstrated his flips (and he's really good at them). He also showed everyone how to do handstands and forward rolls. And the kids just jumped. And bounced. And laughed. And crashed. And got back up and did it again. THEY WERE HAVING SO MUCH FUN!!!!!! I couldn't take enough pictures. I couldn't believe it!!!! Not in my wildest dreams could I imagine this going so well!!!!!!

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The only part of this I wasn't 1000% happy about was that Music Man wouldn't join in. He had decided he wanted NOTHING to do with the air track and no one was going to change his mind. However, after the air track was done, Ms. Katie came out and talked to him and he came back into the gym to help stomp the remaining air out of the track. No one else had been able to convince him to come back. Not me, Dad, or his grandparents. But Ms. Katie did it!!!!!

Then it was time to start quieting things down. We finished the party in the gym and then headed to the party room to enjoy the cake. Even there, the kids were all so good!!!! Everyone was offered some cake and they were allowed to choose which one they preferred (standard yellow cake mix in the shape of a princess or a chocolate GF/CF cake in the shape of a piano keyboard). In some cases, the kids chose for themselves. In others, the parents chose for them (there were 2 kids there on a GF/CF diet).

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When all the kids left, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and myself were all just standing there in awe. It was done!!!! And, most important, IT WAS A SUCCESS!!!!!!!! There were only 2 meltdowns throughout the party, neither with my kids. And the mother of the child who had those meltdowns had them easily controlled and they were very short-lived and the boy still thoroughly enjoyed the party. In the meantime, all the parents who were there didn't think twice about it making the mom uncomfortable -- we have all been there and were expecting it from our own kids.

But my twins had a birthday party. And they had a birthday party that we can look back on with fond memories without any disappointment.


  1. I can so relate. Birthday parties are the hardest to plan. My b/g twins are 8yo and both on the spectrum as well. They are each at different social levels and in addition they go to different schools now so have entirely different groups of kids to invite.

    We always try to keep it small and at some place where there is physical activity to keep them occupied and so that parallel play is mostly what is expected.

    It is really thrilling when they go off well.

  2. Debra, you are most right about that. Right now we see no end of these two attending different schools (as much as I would like them to be together next year, it's just not a reasonable likelihood). We figured right now it's easier. And with only a few kids from each program coming, it was kept small. I don't know if it would have been a problem if it was much bigger, but this was good enough. And the success was definitely worth it!!!

  3. Yay!! I'm so happy for you. I love it when a kiddie party turns out great! Yay :)
    Fabulous post... thanx for linking it up to my Birthday Linky!