My seven year old loves a birthday party more than anyone I know. Yes I know all kids love to celebrate their birthdays but in the past he would barely sleep the month before to the point where we were thinking “this kid just cannot handle a party.” Even if it’s just family coming he is too excited, lol.
So this year I really want to have him enjoy his birthday but with much less work on my end and fewer sleepless nights. Something more on the simple side like having family over and then going with one friend to the zoo. When I counted up our immediate family members I realized it’s still having 10 people over in addition to the four of us, so at that point we may as well just have a party and skip going somewhere. Basically, if I have to clean the house anyway, am I right?
My sister suggested a movie party. I immediately hopped on Pinterest and saw that it is such a cute and affordable party idea. Some streamers, side walk chalk stars, popcorn and pizza and done (see my pinterst board on it – seriously cute!). But we ran into this one problem. My son immediately decided that his ocean aquarium documentary was sure to be the best movie for the party. When I explained the movie should be more current and soemthing with action he chose A Turtle’s Tale and Rio. Really, my seven year old has such a passion for animals and saving them, it makes no sense to him to have a movie that doesn’t have ocean or wildlife in it. He made a voting chart of these three movies and his friends next door keep voting on it (repeatedly) until the Aquarium documentary was once again in the lead.
I was trying to explain how really there are only four people voting so how can one movie have 10 votes and how he needs something more current. I once again suggested the Lego Movie and the neighbor kids were so excited and start singing “Everything is Awesome” and running around. They were trying to convince him but he kept saying “but I don’t like that movie.”
And here is where I struggle as a mom of a very intellectual child who knows every fact about birds, animals and is already planning his career as a conservationist and knows which aquarium he will work at. I don’t want him to have a lame party. I picture all the kids getting their popcorn and candy, sitting down and being bored. Going back to school and talking about the boring party they went to. I want to protect him. I want him to be the kid who the kids talk about what a great party they went to. I know the Lego Movie would be the cool party to have and everyone would be talking about it and love it. Throw in a bounce house and it would be such a hit!
We talk about it that night and I try to explain that even though it’s his birthday, he wants a party where everyone likes the movie. He cries and says that he didn’t even want a movie party anyway (but did you see the cute Pinterest board?!!!) and that he really wants a movie he likes. I decide we should just skip the party all together and go back to having family for dinner and cake and go to Disneyland. He cries to sleep and I feel terrible but don’t know what to do.
My five year old immediately grasps the concept and how fun a party it would be. He says he would love a movie party and would love the Lego Movie or the Batman Lego movie. For the millionth time I think how much easier it is to have a kid that loves Batman and wants to grow up to live in the bat cave than it is to have a kid who knows every about animals and birds to the point where he asked if we can have a party in 2019 to celebrate the ban of lead bullets being in affect which will help save the California condors.
The next morning I think about it and realize I can’t encourage him to be his true self, to be an individual and follow his passion and then tell him to change what he likes in order to please his friends. And for all I know everyone would love the aquarium video in 3D or A Turtle’s Tale. Even if they don’t like the movie, they will like popcorn, pizza and a bounce house. And they seem to really like him and he has a bunch of kids working together to start their own animal charity, which is inspiring.
Or maybe we shouldn’t have a movie party and just have pizza and a bounce house? Either way, in my attempt for something easy and affordable I ended up opening a can of worms and feeling badly for making him feel like an outsider. He is different in some ways and those differences have been nothing but inspiring, and pushed me in ways I never expected like these Halloween costumes that I’ve made since they didn’t exist in stores.
But managing the day to day life of someone who doesn’t fit in any mold of any kids we know, is a good challenge to have, but nevertheless a challenge. I have the desire to shield him but it always seems to work out and the kids seem to like him just fine when I let him just be who he is. Most seven year old’s do not argue for 20 minutes with their cousin that the term “alien invasion” does in fact apply to foreign bodies getting in the wrong location in the ocean and doesn’t necessarily mean aliens from the sky. Or pull out their favorite ocean life dictionary at play dates when they are four.
At least I don’t think they do!