I know what I like about birthdays, and I really know what Eddie’s sisters like because they never stop telling me. What I don’t always think about is what does Eddie like? Instead of focusing on what birthdays normally look like…I focused on making it all about Eddie.
Step 1: Birthday Breakfast. This is a tradition in my family. Instead of having a big dinner and opening gifts at the end of the day, we open gifts first thing in the morning and enjoy our favorite meals. Everyone always pushes for pancakes and waffles, but not this year. Eddie loves eggs and ham, so that was the main dish. Forget the syrup…and bring on the protein!
Step 2: Gifts. Gifts for children who are blind are always difficult to find if your child has minimal interests. I knew Eddie liked sensory input, so I had planned to get him this great indoor/ outdoor trampoline. I also knew he was enjoying games more, so a friend suggested light-sabers that made noise and flashed bright lights. Two of those would make a great game…especially in the dark.
Step 3: Family and friends. Eddie isn’t a fan of big crowds, and when there is a lot of noise, he escapes and finds a quiet room. So, we kept the invite list to family that was in town, and when he left the table at birthday breakfast, we simply let him. Birthdays are supposed to be fun…and that meant he’d need breaks.
Step 4: Activities. I simply let Eddie make all the decisions. He wanted to watch a video and selected “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey…and we obliged. Then, he wanted to go on a bike ride, which he loved. Every step of the day, we gave him choices, and let him be our guide.
Step 5: Class treats. Every kid is expected to bring birthday treats to school. “Expected” might be the wrong word, and it might be a guilt us parents put on ourselves, but I knew it had to happen. Right now, Eddie isn’t eating gluten and dairy, and is a major fruit fan, so I played that up. Juice boxes, mandarin oranges, and boxes of raisins were a combo that I knew Eddie would like, and most of the kids, too.
Step 6: Dessert. Frankly, I was going to let this one go. Without gluten and dairy, and since I didn’t think Eddie would miss the candles and cake, I didn’t think it was a necessary endeavor. Luckily, my sister disagreed, and Eddie had special treats from a special bakery, and he was all over those cupcakes.
Overall, the day was a success. It wasn’t over-planned, over-prepared, or over-whelming. It was simple, and Eddie enjoyed every minute. Confession time…the gifts never actually happened. I obviously knew what I was going to purchase, but life sometimes provides us with events that curb everything else. I may get to that in a later post.
In the meantime, I owe Eddie some gifts, and I do plan to make good on that offer. Even though getting no presents from your parents on your birthday is pretty bad…there is always something worse. Plus, Eddie was really happy with the cupcakes from Aunt Liz…and that may have been present enough.