though, get-togethers are not frequent. I try to fill in the time with trips to the playground, children's museum, etc. and since Aaron is very outgoing, it doesn't take him long to adopt a new friend during his play time. However, such outings and play time doesn't allow for much "child bonding" with regular playmates. I was secretly annoyed because a child's birthday party should have children running about squealing in excitement and giggling as the fun bubbles over. There should have been games and gift bags and balloons popping unexpectedly. I should have spent my evening cleaning bubble residue off surfaces and cake out of my carpet! I felt sad for Aaron and a bit resentful toward my son because this darling little boy has yet to experience a real children's birthday party.
He was surrounded by family, well loved and celebrated by my husband and I, his father, his uncle, his great Aunt and his great-grandfather. But, the birthday party experience just isn't the same for a 3-year-old when all of the guests are adults. Because his father is a resident of the youth detention center, there are rules that must be followed in order for him to visit home on a pass. One of those rules is that the only people allowed at our home when he is home on a pass are those already on his approved visitors list at the facility. That meant that in order for Aaron to have his Daddy at his birthday we had to sacrifice inviting any little friends or their parents. Since we're not wealthy, the option of having two separate parties for him was a bit of a stretch.
Fortunately, a 3 year-old doesn't miss what they have never had, and his day went well and happy (for the most part!). He had a couple of post sugar/lack o' nap melt downs, which I masterfully redirected. Plus, It was a source of amusement for the family to see me carry my screaming little Beastie to the quiet of his room to plunk my plump backside into his tiny little Winnie the Pooh armchair in order to cradle him and calm the tantrum.
Later, I had my own chance to be amused as I watched Aaron's father trying to accommodate him in an effort to end another tantrum. He has no experience with a 3-year-old's fierce need to be independent and "help" whenever possible. In this instance he needed to "help" Daddy get a him a drink, which Daddy did not allow him to do...Enter tantrum mode and Daddy's desperate attempt to "make it right". Aaron needed his special Sippy cup (so Daddy poured the already poured juice into the favored cup). This was not good enough, Daddy had to pretend to pour more juice into the cup (to give the appearance of starting over, of course). Aaron had to be in charge of opening and closing the refrigerator AND he had to twist the lids back on the juice and on the Sippy cup in order for all to be right in his world again. Watching my son's exasperation and attempts to please this demanding little boy made my heart giggle. To his credit, my son did a very good job for a man who has had little opportunity to be a Dad (I was also a bit smug in that it was a good reminder that if he doesn't want to meet these types of challenges regularly, he best not have unprotected sex when he is finally released in a few weeks!!).
Albeit, the day was marred by a touch of sadness and resentment over Aaron not being able to enjoy a true birthday party with other children, it was simply an underlying current and was not enough to ruin the day. His special day was overall a good day with family with all the important components according to Aaron's birthday requests....Cake, ice cream and a birthday hat. I don't recall my own birthdays prior to being six or seven years-old, so I am likely being overly sensitive. But, next year we get to invite some little friends!
Be sure to follow us on facebook!