So stay with me and I'll have it made
-- "No Rain" (Blind Melon)
One of Erik's friends celebrated her 3rd birthday this weekend. We had a fabulous time with our friends at the party. I enjoyed getting a good dose of the sparkles, pastels, and glitter that come with having a little girl around. The snow came down in big, gorgeous flakes all afternoon, and it was very cozy inside. Erik sang "Happy Birthday" with as much emotion and energy as Whitney Houston singing the national anthem and clapped his hands together when the song concluded. He allowed me to steal frosting from his piece of cake, and in return I let him eat in peace without my fussing over him like I usually do. He is really enjoying his own friends now and asks about all of them. I no longer have to listen to him begging me to turn the car around when we are on the way to visit children his age. He was even interested in the opening of presents and was delighted to see a purple monster truck emerge from under layers of wrapping paper. He staged a miniature carjacking and took off with it for the nearest tile floor.
One day after the party, the familiar heart-hangover set in once again. Although it is much easier for me to attend children's birthday parties than it used to be, my response varies greatly these days. While I do just fine sometimes, on other occasions I feel like collapsing the next day. Some people are afraid of the dark. I just happen to be afraid of balloons, buttercream, and birthday candles. Last night I asked Brian if he had difficulty watching Erik interact with everyone, and he very quietly said yes.
That made me feel a little better.
Erik gets in faces, whether they are familiar to him or not. He knows no strangers. He says hello hundreds of times to everyone for at least an hour, which often generates slight irritation from other children. It shows on their faces, which I suddenly feel like slapping, although I suppose I can't blame them. This now keeps us from taking him to the adult functions we would have taken him to when he was younger. While everyone is generally very kind and seems to find Erik's personality delightful, it's hard for me to hear the laughter that goes with taking him anywhere. And I hear it EVERYWHERE. I know they aren't laughing AT Erik, really, but my mama bear protectiveness kicks in each and every time, and that's exhausting. I admit that sometimes I wish he could just blend in a bit. When he saw my friend's father come through the door at the party, he yelled, "HI, SANTA!" The room erupted in laughter, and I wanted to crawl under something and die.
Although we often have to intervene when he is completely inappropriate with a stranger or someone who might find his behavior uncomfortable or disruptive, it is now necessary to let him go in a safe environment and watch what happens, even if it makes me very nervous. It's incredibly difficult for me to do. I was a shy child. I did my best to blend in and not do anything to draw attention to myself unless I was completely at ease. Erik is my polar opposite that way, and it terrifies me. He is always completely comfortable around people. His personality is very unusual. His behavior is even more unusual. I guess "blending in" just isn't part of the plan for Erik.
It's obvious my kid couldn't hide his (halogen) light under a bushel if he tried.
So, after binging on cookies and opening a bottle of good wine by myself yesterday, I suppose I feel better. There's nothing like a sloppy, pathetic session of feeling sorry for myself and letting the emotions ebb and flow. Facing what I feel head on seems to make the next birthday party a little easier.
While I was writing today, I thought of the "Bee Girl" in this music video. I haven't seen it for years. I found it, and it was just what I needed. Watch the whole thing, dance, and enjoy.