Reine turned 6 years old on Nov 2. Oh, how I wish we could have thrown her a HUGE party filled with kids of all ages, family galore, millions of balloons, cake, ice cream, decorations everywhere, different kinds of party games. A celebration that most children dream of and parents cringe at. The excitement, noise, and all things geared towards the birthday child. The reality for us was far different then what many imagine.
First thing Reine did was pick out her outfit for the day. I no longer tell her what she can and can not wear. If she wants to wear a pair of hug pants with shorts over top and 3 hug tank tops and a long sleeve shirt then that is what she wears. If it matches great, if it does not, then it doesn’t. I want her to take pride in her decisions. Frankly, I have more important battles to pick then what she wears.
Two hug tanks, long sleeve shirt, leggings, denim skirt
Reine opened up her presents at about 6:30-7:00am. This was the only time that the entire family would be home at the same time while Reine was awake. Each present was hand picked with Reine’s needs in mind. We had no doubts that she would love each one. There were 5 presents in all.
Her older sister took the morning off of school to spend it with her snuggling and playing with her birthday presents. We worked it out so that when I took big sis to work, my Hubby would come home to spend the afternoon with Reine. Again in a very relaxed manor. The transition from one person to the other was seamless. We told Reine what was going to happen before it happened. This way she knew exactly to expect.
My Hubby and I took Reine to Toys ‘R’ Us (to spend a GC her uncle gave her) in the evening after we ate dinner. This trip we decided needed to be no more than 20-30 minutes long as we did not have Reine’s headphones and iPod. Hubby had the brilliant idea to speak with Reine on the way to Toys ‘R’ Us to see what she wanted to buy or any areas that she really wanted to look through. We chose to go an hour before the store closed as we knew the store would be almost dead. We moved into those areas of the store that Reine was interested in the most first. We kept a VERY close eye on Reine. We saw that after 15 minutes she was getting over stimulated. We began to gather her purchases and head to the register. I paid for the items while Hubby took Reine out of the store.
After Toys ‘R’ Us, we went to the grocery store. She and Hubby stayed in the car while I bought her an all natural ice cream she LOVES
and balloons. We chose ice cream instead of a cake as a way to still celebrate her birthday but to keep her as calm as possible. I promised her that I would make cake balls this weekend for us to enjoy. We sang “Happy Birthday” to her as she beamed at the 7 candles glowing in a small bowl of ice cream. Then it was off to bed where I rubbed her back, arms, and hands for several minutes before she drifted off to sleep.
Candles in the ice cream.
The entire day was planned around Reine’s needs. Every decision was done in such a way as to try and not overstimulate her. We had to explain to her all day that it was still her birthday and would remain so until she woke up when the sun did and that the next day still meant that she was 6 yrs old.
Despite all of our best efforts, the next day was a VERY hard and LONG day. Reine had meltdown after meltdown. I spent most of the day applying some form of deep pressure to Reine and trying to calm the beast that being overstimulated causes her to become.
Autism is not for the faint of heart!