The birthday girl

We celebrated Frances’s 10th birthday this weekend, and there were no meltdowns during the two parties. 

She covered her ears during the “Happy Birthday” song both times, but we kept the numbers very small at both the party for friends and the party for relatives, so she didn’t get overwhelmed in general.

At the party for friends, in addition to a few classmates, she had two friends from horse-riding lessons which was really nice.

Guess what theme predominated the gifts that she received? Horses. She got every manner of horse toy for which a ten-year-old horse-and-doll-loving little girl could have wished, and it was really sweet.

But dinosaurs weren’t pink…Right?

I have two daughters (9 and 13) and the closest I’ve ever come to a non-girly themed celebration was the Backyardigans party that I arranged for Pink Cup Sister’s 4th birthday.

Now Frances, who is obsessed with dolls and horses, has just announced that she wants a dinosaur-themed party to celebrate her 10th birthday!

I’m glad that she has a new area of interest though I strongly suspect we are just going to be seeing dolls of the dinosaur variety.

Well, I almost don’t know how to have a party that isn’t just as pink and as glittery as can be, so this is going to be a challenge for me. (The photo image I’ve done in jest.)

In the past, I would have said that if I ever start blogging about dinosaurs, then I have been taken hostage and I’m crying out for help.

But, here I am arranging a dinosaur party that isn’t pink in any respect.

I will keep you posted.

Possible birthday card?

It’s epic…

One of the best things we’ve done in the past year or so has been to sign up for an ebook subscription service for the kids.

For a monthly charge (pretty minimal), parents can monitor what is being read and even set aside books that they want the kids to read. They also receive a monthly report enumerating the books read (which includes a printable certificate).

Each kid has her own account, collects badges for reaching reading milestones and can favourite books that she really likes.

Snowman

Winters are cold here. While I wouldn’t say that spring is in the air, today is actually quite nice at -2C with noticeable sunshine.

Increasingly, Frances asks to play outside on the weekends and after school.

She ended up making a snowman on her own this past weekend.

Party of one more 

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Whenever the opportunity appears, I promote self-confidence and my daughter’s I-can-do-it-by-myself attitude; yet there are times when this isn’t possible, when we need to take a more gradual approach to independence.

I dropped Frances off at a restaurant-based party yesterday to celebrate the 10th birthday of a friend that she knows from horse riding lessons.

The people hosting the party are great — such kind, loving grandparents. I knew that Frances would be safe with them in a party setting.

But could I do it? Could I just leave her with people she barely knows and go back across town to my home until it was pickup time?

No, actually, I couldn’t — not this time.

For one thing, she had never been to a party on her own before. For another thing, they didn’t know that she has ASD and that she could become overwhelmed. These factors, when considered together, told me that it wasn’t the time for her to try to go to a party alone.

So, I sat at a separate table across the room and around a corner, eating a meal, for about an hour before she knew that I was there.

For that one hour during which my presence was unknown, I could see that she was doing quite well without me when she went to a buffet. (I actually could only see her when she went to the buffet.) She always had the birthday girl with her.

I noticed a few times that the girl would put her arm around Frances’s shoulders in a protective way.

When Frances realized I was there, she was a little surprised, but I assured her that I was only there because I’d had nowhere else to wait. She really didn’t seem to mind.

Mostly, I read the news on my phone and ate my supper in relative solitude; however, at the end, I joined the group for a piece of cake.

But, as Pink Cup Sister noted, Frances still hasn’t gone to a party by herself. She’s right. Who knows? Frances did very well, so the next party could very well be the one that she attends without me.

Text support

Frances went to a sleepover this weekend involving two of her classmates. I was worried that she wouldn’t make it through the event, and, frankly, I waited for a call requesting that I pick her up. 

Fortunately, the sleepover parents were really good about letting Frances have her wifi-only phone in the room with her during the night.

This meant that she could text me which she did, at around 11:30 p.m., to let me know that she couldn’t sleep.

She asked me to text her a story about her favourite horse (as I make up a story every night at home) and I did. 

When I woke up the next morning, I checked my phone and found this text. It made me smile so much that my face hurt!


I’m so grateful for texting!

(I have to say that I’m also grateful that the host parents are very good with Frances! They have experience with Aspergers and high anxiety and are very sensitive to Frances’s needs, so allowing her to go to a sleepover hasn’t been as hard for me as it could be.)