Friday, February 6, 2009

Party Time!

We attended our first ever toddler birthday party today. Connor's friend AJ turned two this week, and five or six little guys and gals between the ages of 18 months and 3 attended the festivities. It was an experience.

I think everyone probably has a grasp on how the typical two year old thinks. Try to picture the birthday party from AJ's perspective. Here he is, an only child who has just been fed an obscene amount of chocolate cake and is therefore on a major sugar high. All of the sudden these six other children have descended on his house, where not only do they have the audacity to actually speak to his mother and father, but they are playing with his toys. AJ spent the vast majority of the evening screaming at the top of his lungs and running around attempting to wrest every toy of his out of the other kids' hands. Picture a scene out of the movie 300, only with more carnage and "MIIIIIIIIINE!!!" substituted for "this is Sparta" and you'll have a pretty good image of the festivities.

Connor and I sat in a rather bemused fashion on the sidelines and watched the drama unfold. Connor, never one to miss out on any great entertainment, laughed and clapped his hands whenever one of the children landed a particularly solid punch on their opponent. He seemed to have a good time, so the party was a success on that front, anyway. I got to eat chocolate cake and see AJ's mom and dad, so I enjoyed myself. Poor AJ, however, seemed to think it would have been much better if everyone had stayed home and just sent presents.

The really interesting thing, though, was watching the way all of the children interacted with Connor. AJ, though initially terrified of both of us, by the end of the party was actually wresting toys out of the other kid's hands and bringing them to Connor to play with. None of the kids screamed at Connor or hit him. All of them spoke to him nicely. One of the little girls was particularly fascinated with him and spent ten minutes or so showing him a toy dragon (See, Connor? The dragon goes RAWR!!!) and patting him gently on the hand. The dragon needed to wear hearing aids too, so we spent a lot of time pretending that my cell phone was a hearing aid and holding it up to the dragon's ear so he could hear what we were saying. Connor and the little girl both thought that was pretty funny.

Connor seems to bring out this reaction in almost all of the children he meets. They are mutually fascinated with each other. I think it might be because he's not a threat to them. He doesn't hit, he's not running around and trying to interact with their parents-- he's just sitting calmly and watching everything they do. Because he is gentle and quiet, they seem to instinctively react the same way around him. Connor, in return, doesn't ignore other children or bury his head in my shoulder the way he reacts when he meets new adults, but makes a conscious effort to stay in their world instead of retreating to his own.

Even Connor has his limits, however, no matter how tolerant he usually is. He strenuously objected to being called a "little kid" by one of the girls at the party. He is a big boy, thank you very much.



Lin said...

Oh, that's so funny--I remember those first birthday parties! It's really hard on your first child because they aren't used to everyone ascending on their turf, their toys, their space and it's hard to process. Kid #2 seems to just take it all in stride. And it's hard on parents too because you want everything to go "just right" and it takes a lot of adjusting as you go along. I learned to either not open presents when there are little kids around or open and remove them right away. That way his new things don't get broken or played with by everyone else first.

Sweet memories you played out here! What a cute BIG boy!

Thanks for stopping by my blog too!

Connor's Mom said...

That sounds like a great plan as far as the presents go, Lin. We'll have to keep it in mind!

We have yet to throw Connor a big birthday party, and we'll probably try to avoid that this year, but next year it will be much harder to get out of it as he will be in school and no doubt invited to all the other little boys and girls' parties.

Connor at this point would probably be just as happy with bags filled with tissue paper rather than actual presents. It's the unwrapping that's the fun part!

Blog Directory