One part of growing up is having and going to birthday parties. I'm sure for most parents and children this is a pleasant experience. I absolutely dread birthday parties. The older my child gets and the older the children hosting parties get, the more I dread it.
Let me just share what happened today and at another party that was a few weeks ago, then I'll come back to my original point. A few weeks ago we were at a party and obviously there were balloons everywhere for the kids to play with. Kassidy has a thing for red balloons, and only red ones. Of course out of maybe 10 balloons available there was only one red one in the entire room. Apparently a little boy kept fighting her for this red balloon. It wasn't that he just wanted the red balloon, he was collecting them. His mother actually insisted Kassidy give up her one red balloon to add to her sons collection. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with encouraging her to share but why should she give up her ONLY balloon to add to his 7? I ended up having to leave that party early because my husband had to go to work soon. For days all I heard about was that red balloon. On the drive home she screamed for it. Before she went to bed she'd cry for it. The next day we even went out and bought her a $10 Dora balloon. Yeah.. it wasn't that red one and she disregarded it.
Fast forward to today. Kassidy understands birthday parties. She knows that you sing happy birthday, blow out candles, eat cake, and open presents. What she does not understand is everyone gets a birthday, not just her. As long as she doesn't start screaming on the floor in displeasure that she isn't blowing out the candles I consider it a good day. Kassidy made a comment that it wasn't fair because she wanted to blow out the candles. She was quiet when she said it and with all the kids cheering that the birthday boy blew them out I figured no one even heard her. Another mother then turns to my daughter and rudely says "when it is your birthday you can blow out the candles, but it's not." Lady, I don't know you and you sure don't know my daughter and you have no right to reprimand her and make her upset. When it got time for the birthday boy to open presents all the other kids sat in front of him and waited anxiously to see what he had received. Kassidy was playing by herself in the jump house instead. This same mother was giving me dirty looks because apparently it must be rude that Kassidy wasn't sitting with the other kids watching him open gifts.
Now back to my point. Kassidy's almost 4 and a half. She's getting old enough where her behavior can't just be shrugged off as age and other people think she's being rude when she doesn't answer their questions or do as the other kids are doing or my favorite, not wanting to leave the jump house when it's time to leave and hysterically screaming. Do I come out and tell some random stranger "Hey she's Autistic watch how you speak to her!" No. I don't know how other moms of Autistic children handle these situations but I don't feel it's any of the strangers business. I don't think it's acceptable for a grown woman to judge my child because she wants a red balloon, or because she wants to play by herself instead of watching someone open gifts. Perhaps it's wrong of me to assume that people should only discipline their own children instead of ones they've never even met before. Who knows. All I know, is the more parties we go to the more I dislike them. Why do I go? Because she has a good time, and whether some random mother likes my child's actions or not, I'm not going to deprive my daughter from the only socialization she actually enjoys, even if she's not doing it "correctly".