The other day, I received an email from a parent asking if my son could come to a birthday party this weekend. And, rather than roll my eyes at the thought of having to go out and buy some kid a Lego set, or complain to my husband that it was going to cut into our weekend plans, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my son that he had been invited.
Oh, how times have changed around here. Just a year or two ago, my son was invited to dozens of birthday parties. I got to know every indoor playground in the area: which ones had the good pizza, the ones where the bathrooms were to be avoided at all costs, and those that had nice seating and coffee for bored mommies like myself. I spent hundreds of dollars on kids that I didn’t really know (and didn’t even get to see them open the gifts due to the “non-gift-opening-movement” that has taken hold of most children’s’ parties these days). Some days, we were even double booked. My son would come home high on sugar and loaded down with dollar-store tchotchkes. Most days, he was too full of potato chips to have dinner.
But now, he doesn’t get invited to many parties. His behaviour at school has become so out of control that he is no longer part of his regular classroom. His peers have seen him act out so many times that I think a lot of them are afraid of him. Plus, I am pretty sure all the parents know about him is that he is the “bad kid” at school. It breaks my heart, because I know what an amazing kid he is, and that he doesn’t have a lot of control over his reactions and emotions. He misses his friends. He cries and says he wishes he was “normal” like other kids. And every time, I tell him not to worry…that his dad and I are trying everything we can to help him and we will figure it out someday. And we will. We have to.
So this weekend, he’ll go to that party. He’ll stuff his mouth full of popcorn and run around playing video games and skee-ball. He’ll act like a typical 7-year-old boy, making “poo” jokes and talking gibberish. He will love it. And you know what? So will I.