And that’s awesome!
Lady Bug was invited to a birthday party. A small one, just the birthday girl, birthday girl’s best friend, and Lady Bug. A Frozen themed tea party, and my best friend, the birthday girl’s mom, did a lovely job setting the scene. She even had a fake snow sensory bin set up for the girls! It was absolutely lovely and the little girl inside of me who dressed as Belle (on the outside of me) for the party had a lovely time. Lady Bug struggled some.
The downstairs was beautifully decorated as a winter wonderland, complete with an Olaf’s Cloud chandelier. Translation: it was different than all the other times she’s been there. We tried for a while to keep her downstairs where the party was with a baby gate, which prompted a new spontaneous sentence: “Okay, I climb!” (She says “okay” before something because she’s asking and that’s what she wants the answer to be.) She usually goes up for a little while when she goes there; it’s part of her pattern. We soon figured out that keeping her at the party so distracted and getting more and more upset was against the purpose, so I went up with her for several minutes. Up there she proved to me that she knows the difference between a unicorn and a horse (silly mommy called it the wrong thing) and used words to ask me to open something, which was all very exciting for me. Three new things in the space of 15 minutes!
But the camera with the flash and the sound made her start flinching and hiding. And I brought the wrong stim toys; she wanted the hippopotamus, not the rhinoceros. And the snacks weren’t her usual foods, though she did eat one thing. All in all, not a great event for her. But I didn’t spend it unhappy for her, or missing all the things that she could have been doing with the other little girls. I didn’t pine for greater participation or normalcy. I celebrated her new things, and was happy that we were included, not out of pity, and not with the heavy burden of expectations, but just allowed Lady Bug to be Lady Bug. I’m grateful for wonderful friends and the chance to celebrate a little girl in full princess style. Even if that little girl isn’t mine.