(It’s not exactly his birthday, but today was where the party had to fit in the calendar.)
It’s hard to believe he’s 3. Time really flies away on us. With him starting in the Pre-K autism preschool next week, this will definitely be an eventful and emotionally-charged week for us.
After having jam-packed events for his first two birthdays, we decided to keep this one low-key since he got a bit freaked out by the last two and the crowds. Most of our friends were out of town for the holiday, so that kept things simple, though we would have liked for them to be able to come.
I’m not sure there is a really good way to have a birthday party for an autistic toddler and still have any number of family and friends over. It’s hard to not overstimulate us as parents let alone him. We had to go well into our bag of calming tricks and manage a few tantrums, but it was still a lot of fun.
Mary found this excellent ‘cake’ at Target. It’s a bunch of cupcakes arranged into the shape of a monkey. And they were yummy too! Of course, he refused to touch any part of them. He never has liked any sort of cake. Unless they make birthday cakes out of chicken nuggets and tortilla chips, it may be a while before he eats his own birthday cake. (Obviously, his name is redacted.)
The big hit present-wise was, THE MINI-TRAMP!!
His occupational therapist had one of these in her office and encouraged us to get one for him so he could work on his balance and core muscle strength, both major issues for him and for most autistic kids. He was OK with it at her office, but it wasn’t his favorite thing. And he wouldn’t ever let go of our hands to play on it himself there. He got braver and braver with it here as the day went on until he got to where he was jumping up and down on it by himself to the point of exhaustion. Score one for bravery!
We also dragged out the little kiddie pool so he and his little friend could play in it. He really likes smaller bodies of water (bathtub, kiddie pool – not a regular swimming pool yet). The whale pool we have also shoots water out of its head, which he likes.
We bought him a number of ‘therapeutic toys’, i.e., toys that we hope he’ll play with at some point that also have some therapy purpose as well, such as a textured blocks and a dress-up doll. He’s not very attached to much of anything in the way of toys. He usually picks one or two things and sticks with them for a long time until he switches to something else. For now it’s wooden letter blocks and orange crayons. Go figure.
Like I said, it’s hard to get over how much he’s growing up. We’ll probably really feel it once he starts school. More about this then.
We’ll get back to more regular and informative programming here shortly. Between the IEP process and his birthday plans and preschool starting next week, we’ve been a little preoccupied.