Most school age kids expect to get invited to lots of birthday parties during their formative years. Fortunately my daughter doesn't know what she is missing. When Princess was in preschool, it was protocol to either invite the whole class or as many as you could to your child's birthday party. Then in Kindergarten everything changed for us. Princess was only invited to one party the whole year. ( That party as detailed below, turned out poorly.) Then in first grade Princess was only invited to one party as well. We chose not to attend that one as it was at a local karate studio. Part of the party would be dedicated to enticing the children to sign up for classes. Then in second grade Princess had even fewer invites. Yep that means zero. This school year, has been a repeat of last year in the number of invites but I believe it is partly due to the fact that Princess changed schools mid year. I can also attribute it to the fact that there are fewer students in Princess's current class thus fewer opportunities for party invites. Hey a mom can dream can't she?
Since Princess wasn't getting many invites and I wanted her to experience parties, I started to bring her to my students' parties that I was invited to. This worked somewhat OK until she sort of aged out of being invited to 5 year olds parties at the ripe old age of 7. Let's face it, I felt bad that my daughter wasn't being invited to many parties so I wanted to make up for that.
There was of course a reason that Princess was lacking invitations to parties (and play dates for that matter). Princess lacked social skills to get along with her peers. She was an odd bird. Kids tend to shy away from kids that are not like them.
Remember the party that Princess went to in Kindergarten? Well it was at a bounce house place called Pump it Up. Since I was a working mom, I didn't know many of the moms and dads who were there. They knew each other but didn't reach out to me. At one point during the party I almost left because people were talking about Princess right in front of me. Saying that she was aggressive and mean etc. They either did not know that I was her mother or did know but didn't care. I wanted to grab Princess and run straight out the door but instead I stayed and tried to be gracious.
Over the years I have found that Princess does not do well in these bounce house type parties. I think there are too many kids and too much activity. Princess gets too excited and over stimulated. Then she has a hard time calming down.
My daughter has had difficulties at her own birthday parties as well. We try to invite a mix of kids from school, church, and family friends. She likes to have a pool party since her birthday is in the summer. There have been lots of times that the party goers are enjoying themselves while my sweet girl is in her bedroom upset over something. I always feel like I am on the brink of telling everyone to go home but then at the last minute Princess pulls it together. We are blessed because our friends are very understanding and just go with the flow. I bet if I ever had to pull the rip cord on a party, my dear friends would still leave quietly without any hard feelings.
I have learned over the years not to plan too much for Princess's party. We don't do a big BBQ. We get Little Caesar's Pizza, a veggie platter and cupcakes. Princess likes to decorate but we keep that even low key as too much will set her off. We also keep the party time short because the longer it goes, the more likelihood that she will get irritable.
I am a little sad that Princess doesn't get invited to more parties. I do wish that more parents would be more understanding of Princess. Princess has told me a few times that kids have told her that their parents do not allow them to play with her at school. It does feel at times like Princess is an outcast. I am proud of my daughter because most days she just carries on and tries to be the best person that she can be. For that I am grateful.