Jack was invited to his self-declared best friend's birthday party. Kimberly is one of the older kids in Jack's class. She just turned 5 and celebrated her birthday at Pump It Up. It was really a blast.
Jack is growing up fast. Here's the look he gave me as we entered the inflatable area where a few of his classmates and other kids were already running around.
Are you really going to follow me around with that camera?
We started out jumping with everybody else but then....
You've seen pictures of this place before and you've seen this car before. Jack seemed to remember it although it's been quite a while since we've been back.
Why, hello, old friend!
Let's go for a spin!
Once he saw the car, Jack really wanted to drive the car more than anything else.
Umm...will somebody please get Jack out of the car now?
With Kimberly's encouragement, Jack did get out of the car again and joined the rest of the party. He was a bit reluctant but really got into the jumping again. Then it was group picture time.
Notice that most of the kids were looking to their left. See Jack? Guess which side I was standing on?
So here's where we get to the Seeking Sensible Sensory Sensitivity Solutions Speedily.
After the group pictures, the children
are herded fall in line and run like wild animals walk over to the celebration room or whatever they call the place where they do the food, the cake, and the presents.
I was concerned about how this part would go because:
#1 Jack would prefer to be in the great outdoors at all times (well except every now and then he would like to go inside and watch a dvd). If he must be indoors, he prefers open spaces. Jack does not like small crowded rooms. I don't know if they are too visually cluttered for him or if it's just too hard for him to navigate or he's just claustrophobic but on a bigger scale than his Mama.
#2 Jack does not like really care for pizza or birthday cake so there was little incentive to entice him to go to the room and stay. Well, I shouldn't say little incentive. He did like being around all the other kids. That's how I got him into the room.
#3 The song Happy Birthday makes him cry. It's not as bad as it used to be. In fact he seems to be trying to get over it by singing the song himself. Once he started saying Happy Birthday, it wasn't long before I found him singing Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. I joined in and sure enough, tears, lots of real tears with the matching you hurt my feelings/I'm so upset face to match. He seems to be okay with it if you only sing the first couple of lines or if you sing the song really low.
At Jack's birthday party last year, we didn't even sing Happy Birthday. This year, we sang quickly and no loud clapping or cha cha cha was allowed. Then I quickly distracted him with Hey, let's have some cookie before he could get upset.
At church this past Sunday, Donna had a birthday and since everybody knew how Jack is we sang it really low so he would not get upset.
Those kind of accomodations don't occur at another kiddo's birthday party and I wouldn't expect it. So everybody sang Happy Birthday to Kimberly and Jack made it through to the very end when he just bawled. I was able to calm him fairly quickly then we said goodbye and made a speedy exit.
Jack likes to watch You Tube Videos of other little kids singing or being silly so I just knew that he would LOVE watching a video of Rachel's daughter, Ali. Adorable Ali was singing to make her mommy feel better. As I predicted, Jack loved it UNTIL Rachel in her delight over Ali's skillz exclaimed, "Yay!" It was short. It was practically not even said but sure enough first he made that face that tears my heart to pieces and he cried. He did not wimper. He did not sniffle. He cried hard. The kind of cry that leaves you gasping for air.
This absolutely breaks my heart for him. There are just certain sounds that he does not tolerate from the human mouth. It's not even that he does not tolerate them. It appears as if he is physically/emotionally/psychologically hurt by them. And "Yay!" is the all-time favorite expression of adults everywhere when children master something. I try to remind everyone not to say it to Jack and if they do I brace myself or try to rush over to Jack to cut the tears off at the pass. Sometimes that works but most times...
Please please please somebody out there on the world wide web, tell me a story to give me some hope. Did your child or you do this? What helped them/you get over it? All you sensory experts, are there exercises, desensitizing, anything that we can do to help Jack with this?