Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Done

I'm done.  I've had it.  It's just not worth the effort, the pain, the disappointment, the afterwards.  It's not worth the tears, the sorrys, the guilt.  I've tried again and again, each time with no greater measure of success than the last, and if I try really hard, I just *might* be able to go back through all of my blog posts over the years and perhaps find a post where things actually went well.  But I know for that one, there are at least a dozen of the others, detailing my determination not to do it again.  But I'm a glutton for punishment.  And yes, I feel guilty.

Some of you may laugh, think this is trite.  But I'm not laughing, and I know an army of you out there who are not laughing right along with me.  I'm trying to figure out how to make this sound like it's not a joke, because trust me, it's not. 

I'm done.  Done with torturing myself and Samantha with attendance at another child's birthday party.  It just never seems to end well.  If the party isn't at a playground or park, I think we'll just have to make our excuses and bow out.  She's completely overloaded.  I keep hoping it'll be different with each event, and, whether it's at someone's house, at a bouncy place (the bouncy part of the event is just fine, but she melts down when it's time to transition to the party room, and gets completely overwhelmed in the small room with loud voices, even when she's wearing headphones), or, as in last night's case, Chuck E. Cheese.  Her behavior is nothing like the happy-go-lucky child enjoying a party, but more like a stunned deer, caught in the headlights, not wanting to be anywhere near the other kids, refusing to move to do something fun, refusing to move to eat cake or pizza, even refusing to move if I tell her it's time to go home (oh, the meltdown!!!  You'd have thought she was being attacked!).  Gone is my happy, funny, loquacious, vibrant and engaging little girl, replaced by one even I don't recognize.

Child, what do you want

I honestly don't know.

But, for now, we'll take a break (not like she's been invited to more than a couple in the last year, but hell, no wonder!). 

And I'll hope that one day she'll be okay with it.  And will have fun.  And I will no longer feel guilty for forcing her to do something I should have learned a long time ago was not enjoyable to her.  I will no longer have to listen to her sweet, sniffly little voice from that beautiful, tragically tear-stained face, tell me she's sorry when it's me that was wrong for putting her in that situation.  I tell her again and again I'm so sorry she was so sad.  And last night do you know how she responded?

That's okay, Mommy, I still love you

Whoa.

17 comments:

Buffy said...

Oh my gosh...I just went through this last Friday with Bailey. A very wonderful girl went out of her way to make sure Bailey came to her party. It was outside and it was too hot for Bailey's liking. But the hostess did everything wonderfully well to make sure Bailey would not feel left out but Bailey refused to be pleasant and we left early too. I certainly am not glad that you had a terrible experience but do find comfort that someone else feels like I do.

TUC said...

OMGosh, tear-jerker. Masha acts totally different at parties too. Must be the noise and general excitement :-(

aprilanecdotes said...

One day she will be able to handle a party. All 3 of my kids with DS went through a 'can't stand the noise' stage along with the transition thing. One day, many years from now I will add, this will be a distant memory. Decline the party and take the birthday child out for some one on one time with your daughter. Keep it short and sweet.

Rochelle said...

A break sounds like a good plan. Heck I am with Sammi, don't really enjoy kid parties ever! Yep, never taken my kids to Chuck E Cheese and probably never will. LOL

Stephanie said...

I'm not laughing at all. I know it's not a joke. I am in the trenches with you. After the last party we went to, which was at the boy's home but complete with his older, louder, and very mean cousins, we won't be going to any more parties either. Owen can't handle it and he turns into a completely non-social, crying, mess of a child which is not who he is at all.

I felt the same way you did because I'm the one that said yes. I'm the one that decided he would be OK, knowing what I know. It's my fault, I take responsibility, and I will not do it again for the next few years. It just isn't worth it to me or to him.

I'm sorry this is happening to you and Sammi.

Anna said...

Im so so sorry for you both. I love the idea of taking the birthday child out one on one, maybe with cupcakes and a candle and just the two of you singing? Or not? Find what works and don't apologize. I myself LOVE the concept of "birthday week" just enjoying friends when it happens to work for them.

teal915 said...

Aww, I think you're making the right decision. Does she get excited before the party, or does she remember that she doesn't enjoy them? I don't think it's trite though. Madison played soccer last year, and the second game in, all the kids on her T&A, yelled at her after a goal went in. She was done! Not just done with that game but done for the entire season. Most games they only had enough players to fill the field, so if she did t go out, the other tea, had to play down. So it wasn't just affecting her and her own team, but the other. It took a huge amount of coercing just to get her to stand in the field, and then she would stand, frozen like a statue and not move from her one spot. It was horrible. I didn't really know what to do. She was fine a practice, though. Just games where she shut down. It sucked. The last games were a tournament where they played like 5 games in one day, and she finally came around. It's hard to see your child like that and know if you are handling it right. It sounds Ike you've given it enough tries that you're fighting a losing battle, so I get you : )

Tara said...

Thank you for sharing so that we can know we aren't alone. Hugs!

Karrie said...

Oh, I know how you feel!!! Madi gets like that every time we have our Ds community group over to the house. It is so frustrating because she acts completely different than the sweet, funny little girl I know. Even her own birthday party she shut down and ended up going to bed during the last bit of the party. I'm sorry you are going through this, too!!

Mardra said...

You are so right to get the lesson I think you ended with, Your child's wants and needs.
Is she having a good time? Does she even like these parties?
Marcus is a homebody and, dare I say of a person with Down syndrome, an introvert. Gasp!
No. It's true. It took them about 12 years at school to realize, "Marcus is shy."
Uh, Yup.
He'd rather watch the party than be in it. Unless there's dancing.
Then move over. Seriously. Move or you may get hurt.
Thanks for sharing this, parents need to hear it's ok to say no to the party. It's not exclusion, it's personal preference.

Nan said...

Overload. Overload. Overload.! Even now I still sometimes forget that Jessie is operating, on a regular same old same old day, at a much higher level of stress than any of us might imagine doing (and still being able to hold it together) ... just to process even what are daily tasks and occurrences. So, party and noise and a gazillion people talking and moving and you have SHUT DOWN (except, like Marcus, if there is dancing). Quite honestly, it never really go "better," I just got less insistent and now we have a whole party-load of friends whom she loves to hang out with and who are just fine with her retreating up into a bedroom or on the couch when it gets too much ... and then they always keep inviting her back in at intervals, and she joins when she is ready, OR they (being girls and in their 20s and still huggy/tired/you rub my feet/i'll rub yours) will come over and snuggle on the couch and just keep her physically in their circle.

Gosh I am glad THOSE parties are over! Altho we always moved in a pretty small circle, one that grew from preschool on and all us parents were (still are) friends and partners in crime and used to all our children's foibles. Altho I do remember asking for which party games were going to be played and then practicing at home. Boy, oh yea... we did a lot of practicing so-called spontaneous and fun activities at home before trying them out for real! And visiting locations, and .... oh my. I think I like forgetting!!!!

Anna Theurer said...

Oh sweet Sammi! Not laughing here either. I, myself, find these kids parties overwhelming and over-stimulatiing especially Chuck E Cheese. This year we just started to decline a few parties. I am sorry that you and Sammi are going through this. Hang in there, Becca.

T McCallan said...

Thanks for sharing these kind of things.. Helps me see what may come...

Becca said...

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your own experiences! Some amazing advice here, and it *is* good to know we're not alone. I sometimes debate whether or not to write posts like this, about a negative in our lives. There aren't many, thankfully, but I feel that writing about the few are cathartic to me and useful for others.

Cindy said...

Oh my goodness, what a terrible thing to go through! Our hearts ache for our kids, watching them experience things like this. You tried, she tried, that's all you can ask for. Maybe next time you can still shop for a gift (shopping's half the fun, right?) and bring it to the house the day before the party.

out One Ear - Linda Atwell said...

I thought it was just my daughter that was overwhelmed by birthday parties (parties in general) and was rarely invited back. As sad as it is that this is happening to your daughter, I do appreciate you taking me back down memory lane and how hard these were for Lindsey. Another thing that was extremely difficult for Lindsey was CHANGE. Any change. Especially traveling. I love to travel and wanted to show my kids the world, but Lindsey didn't respond well to traveling. In the end, we couldn't take her. It just caused her to have unnecessary meltdowns. Thanks Rebecca for sharing this. I'm sorry. But I'm glad. I hope you know what I mean. http://outoneear.com

jackie said...

Birthday parties are so tough for our kids. A friend of mine who is an adult with autism explained that it's like going to a loud hard rock concert (or think of a kind of music you don't like) where you've never even heard of the band. For a while, we stopped going to parties with my son. He's older now and can handle them so it gets better.