- Aspie hid when a lot of people showed up
- Aspie bit my hubbie to the point of breaking the skin when it was time to sing Happy Birthday
- Aspie put his fist into his homemade pirate ship birthday cake that his great grandmother made him
- Aspie had a great time running around with his friend J#$% (my husband's best friend's son), but when J$%* left he cried and expressed that he hated us
Now, let's fast forward to present. We started about a month ago asking our aspie what he wanted for his birthday. "I want my birthday to not be here," my aspie would say. Why, we would ask him. Birthdays are fun! Birthday come every year, we would reason with him with no avail. And each time our aspie would give us some logical explanation as to why he hated his birthday and was not going to have one. Here are the reason we have collected and can understand.
Our aspie likes the number 4. It's his favorite, as he would say. I have come to learn that many aspies like numbers and can get pretty obsessed on them. It also helps to explain why so many of them our gifted when it comes to mathematics, physics and things like that; the love of numbers. Being that he loves the number 4, and happened to also be 4 years old, it was the perfect combination. Turning 5 means that he is not his favorite number, and this is more than my aspie can handle.
The good ole birthday song. The song that most kids love to hear and have sung to them makes my aspie so uncomfortable that he usually screams, "SHUT UP!!" start swinging and runs away. At other kids birthday parties we will stay away from the singing until it is over and then try to rejoin the party, but on many occasions this throws my aspie over the edge which means a quick exit home. With him being the birthday boy, and hence the singing being directed at him means that he cannot avoid it. His worst nightmare. We did not understand that last year, mainly because he couldn't tell us what made him so upset. With him being older, and being able to communicate a lot better with him has allowed us to understand that it's not the song he doesn't like, it's the noise. A lot of people singing very closely and loudly toward him hurts his ears and makes his skin hurt. He literally tells us that when he hears loud noises or gets nervous his skin hurts and he runs to find a dark quiet place. That I get and can understand why that song scares him so.
People looking at him. People scare him in general and make him nervous, and really is the hardest battle he has with having Asperger's. Since it is a syndrome that has many social components, having many people in one place is very hard on him. When he is at the center of their attention makes it that much harder and causes him to get very anxious, meaning a meltdown is soon to follow.
Presents. Yes, presents. They can be overwhelming and over stimulating. Sounds crazy to us neural typical folks, but for my aspie it is too much. From what I understand from him, it is a bad thing because he wants to play with all of it at once, but knows he can't. Therefore it causes him to panic. What to play with, when, is that the right choice, all these questions running through his mind at once is a lot.
Understanding these reason now makes it really easy for us to understand why our soon-to-be five year old does not want to have his birthday. Knowing this, we decided to ask him what he would like to do on his birthday. On one of his sleepless nights, at 3am, my aspie decided what he wanted to do. Before I tell you what he wanted, let me explain why I have come to sometimes enjoy our 3am discussions. When the house is quiet and it is dark, my aspie and I have the best conversations in the rocking chair. It seems like at that time he can really concentrate on what he wants to say and what he really wants. On this night, he started by saying what he always says when he wants to talk, "Mommy I have to ask you something." After that he explained he did not want a birthday party, but instead wants to have a Halloween party closer to Halloween. "That way no singing" I said. Yes, he replied. And there you have it, our new found answer to a birthday. No party, just another day, but lets celebrate something he really likes, holidays! Sounds good to me. So for the arrival of his birthday tomorrow you will find us having a normal day, then heading to a Pirate baseball game in the evening. Teachers have been alerted and family members have been notified. This year September 18th is will be coming on Oct 31st and no cake and singing please. And that is the best present his father and I can give him....one happy birthday fit just for our aspie!