Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday Song Breakthrough

Aaaaaand...we have progress, by way of an easy fix!  For those of you who have been following along, Samantha has a few, uh, issues when it comes to attending birthday parties.  Within the last year I began to piece it all together and have determined that the three major issues, not in any particular order, are:  a)  participating in group activities, like games (so no pinata play or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey for now), b) having to wait for a piece of birthday cake to be cut for her, and c) hearing "Happy Birthday to You" sung by the group, no matter how softly.  Now, that birthday song thing always makes me scratch my head - she loves to sing it at home, and loves hearing us sing it, but just can't deal with a group of people singing it all at once at someone's party.  Whatever.  For  while there I swore I would never take her to another birthday party again, but that would just be me burying my head in the sand and would never fix the problem.

This weekend we had two birthday parties to attend.  The first one was at a playground, always a good location, as there is enough unstructured play to keep Sammi happy.  We politely declined offers to play the pinata game and the pin-the-cherry-on-the-ice-cream-cone (a nice variation!).  When it came time to sing Happy Birthday, I volunteered my hands to cover her ears, which she readily accepted.  Hands firmly placed over her ears, I asked her if that was okay, and she nodded.  She began to scrunch up her face for a cry a few times, but kept hold of herself and pushed through it.  Then she picked out a cupcake, tucked in, and carried on happily. 

The second one, outside at someone's house, was also in a perfect location, as they had a big swing/slide set and a bouncy house with a slide.  While it was pretty difficult to pry her away from the swings, I was surprised when I told her that they were about to sing Happy Birthday and get cake, and she said, okay, and got off the swings.  Like, really surprised.  As we walked over to the table with the cake, she said, "Hands on my ears, Mommy?"  I can't really describe how proud I was.  I know it seems weird, but that's just huge to me.  I promised I would, and when we got to the table, before anyone even began singing, she forcefully pulled my hands onto her ears and pushed them tighter every time I made any move to pull them off.  And I am thrilled to announce she survived the ritual with flying colors!  Then I told her to stand at the table with the other children and wait her turn until she was handed a piece of cake, which she did, with the patience of an expert.

I have received a lot of amazing comments offering support and advice on this topic, both here on my blog and on Facebook, and I have come to realize that this is not so unusual for children, even typical children, and that most often they'll outgrow it eventually.  And I have come to the conclusion that I should accept it rather than fight it, seek a solution, rather than wallow in self-pity and frustration.  It's all a shift of perspective. 

And it works.

13 comments:

Penny's Peeps said...

Way to go, both mama and Sammi!!!! Awesome progress!!! Be PROUD!!!!!

Tara said...

My "typical" nephew Matthew is almost 6 and will NOT have anything to do with the birthday song! AND..when he had to stand up with his pre-K class and sing, he just stood there with his hands over his ears and wouldn't sing! It's a kid thing!

Rochelle said...

Yahoo, that is such great progress. Way to go Sammi!

Alicia said...

way to go!! mommy :) is always rewarding find a way to help those situations. dont you feel much better?

hugs!

my family said...

good job mom not skipping out on the parties and look what progress was made that one day! Good Job Sammi too :)

Catherine crawled under the table as we sang happy birthday on her fourth bday ( i was mortified but that is how she coped with the loud singing)lol

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

that is AWESOME!! so proud of her and you!! you rock!! and so does Sammi...have a wonderful 4th! smiles

EnriqueFreeque said...

My girl has very similar issues, though for her the candles are a big trigger. I think part of the reason we have kids with special needs is that we needed to learn how creative we can be! She has been watching a lot of birthday songs (candles and all) on Youtube - I think she's trying to systematically desensitize herself. We'll see how she does at the next birthday party - which very well could be her own.

Carrie said...

Woohoo!! Way to problem-solve!! Hopefully singing "happy birthday" will actually be happy from now on!

Lori said...

That is so great! I am so glad to hear that you have found a something that works so she, and you, can enjoy the party.

RobMonroe said...

That really is progress - go Sammi and go you!

Crazy Beautiful Love said...

Yay Sammi...and Mommy :)
I swear if you knew how many moms I told to just do that simple thing and they gave me a look like I had lost it...oh well. See, you are proof!
Simple answers work so well. Now, if I can only remember that when it's my own kiddo facing sensory issues...
:)
-erin

Zoey's mom said...

Bay steps feel so beautiful,don't they?Yeah for Samantha and mom too.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you found something that is working for you and for Sammi! That has to make the parties more enjoyable.