Saturday, March 29, 2008

(Not so) Happy Birthday :0(

Jake has been excited for weeks......his 10th birthday would be happening soon. Jake is an enthusiastic sort, to put it mildly. When he's excited, he's ummm....really excited. He is extreme in all of his emotions, when he's sad he really feels it. When he's happy, he really feels that. So, his approaching 10th birthday was no exception.

After careful consideration, he decided who he wanted to invite and that we would all go out for lunch and then back here for cake and activities. Even though his real birthday isn't until April 2, we decided this Saturday would be the best day to celebrate. We invited the little boy, he accepted and arrangements were made.

For the last several days, Jake had been having difficulty narrowing down which restaurant we would go to. There were three in the running. Several times he wrote the names of those three on pieces of paper, placed them in a hat and had each of us draw out a name. He had a formula (Jake's formula lol) to work out just which restaurant would win. He did this several times, as..well...."It's just such a big decision you know, Mom."

Last night, he went shopping with us to pick up his cake and choose the right potato chips (this is a treat as we never have potato chips on hand here). He had ordered chocolate cake and was disappointed to see a white cake. After explaining the problem, they redid him a cake and a chocolate one this time. He selected some special items to make a couple of loot bags. He was already to go, other than he still didn't know which restaurant we were going to.

He had difficulty sleeping --- it was almost as big as Christmas .... and did I mention he was excited???

En route to pick up his friend, he finally decided Swiss Chalet would be the winner. We picked up the boy and headed to the restaurant. Everything seemed to be going well.....until half way through the meal. The friend all of a sudden started saying things like, "I may have to leave early." "I think I'm going to visit my grandmother so I'm going to have to leave early." "I'm not allowed to eat cake, I can only eat hard things as soft things are too hard on my teeth.". He hardly touched his food. It was becoming clearly apparent he wasn't happy. Next came the tears, he wanted to go home and was clear he wanted to go right waiting for the bill, he wanted to go NOW!

The restaurant staff all came over with a sundae and a candle and sang Happy Birthday to Jake. By this time both boys were fully engaged in tears --- one because he wanted to go home, the other because his 10th birthday, the one he had so eagerly anticipated for weeks, was being ruined. (Just as an aside here, a couple of things come to mind here. First of all, the thing I hear most of all about homeschooling is "What about socialization??" This always makes me laugh and this whole situation illustrates why so beautifully. The theory says a child who goes out to school will learn wonderful social skills, they will learn how to handle social situations. if this theory is true, then this almost 11 year old boy who has always attended public school, should know how to handle social situations by now.....shouldn't he? There goes that theory ;0))

So, we proceed to ask the waitress for the bill and explain there is nothing wrong with the food or the service. By this time, the friend is demanding we let him leave the restaurant on his own, so he can go home, on his own NOW!!! When we attempted to explain we were trying to get the bill quickly, and that he couldn't go out wandering around a city by himself, he got even more upset. Crying loudly and everyone in the restaurant was staring.

We finally pay and leave. After driving him home and taking him in to his house, we're told, "Well, there's not much we can do." Honestly, there have been several times one of our kids have not wanted to attend a birthday party and unless we have a good, legitimate reason, they are always made attend. Surely parents can put themselves in the place of the birthday boy and know how disappointing it will be (especially when they accepted the invitation in the first place).

Jake was so many tears....which made mom the same way. (I don't like to see one of my guys so hurt....he'd been sooo excited and then this). We offered to cancel the plans and do a family birthday next weekend, but Jake wanted his birthday celebration to be today.

Home we came. Tyler and Brittney decided they were going to rally around their little brother and make it a good party, regardless. They sang and sang loud (we even got Tyler to sing!!) when the cake came out. They treated him like a little king. They brought all of his presents to him. They made him feel special, despite the fiasco that happened earlier. After all the presents were opened, they retreated to Jake's bedroom where Brittney blew up some balloons for Jake. Tyler helped Jake put together a Lego Sponge Bob Square pants. A little while later, Jake emerged to announce he needs to put together a loot bag for Tyler, after all he's been at his party. The loot bag which had been intended for the friend, can now be Brittney's.

I was quite proud of Jake today. Even though he'd been majorly disappointed, he pulled it together and had a good time (well as good as he could) in spite of all that had happened. His brother and sister helped too and I was proud of them for rallying around.

When I tucked him tonight, he told me he still thought it wasn't very nice what his friend had done but did have a good time with us.

I still don't like to see my guy so sad.


Steve Ballmer said...

I love your pictures, good blog!

Jacqueline said...

Awww!!! The big double digit birthday! I remember my Daughter making a big deal about that one. It was very mature of him to recover so well. That's those great social skills that homeschoolers learn. ;)

Sheree said...

Wow. I can't get over the behaviour of your guest. How rude and mean. I am not sure I would allow my ds to be friends after that incident. It sounds like his parents aren't teaching him any manners. Wow.

I am proud of your other children for rallying around your son and making his special day happy inspite of what happened.

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks,everyone for your comments and emails. We're gearing up for the 'real' day. We also used the experience as a teaching moment --- one of those not-so-nice moments, but unfortunately, real-life ones.

I think I have a sense of some guilt because Jake didn't really want to go to this friend's party back in November (we'd just moved here and Jake was afraid he wouldn't know anybody) but we made him go --- wouldn't want to make the firend feel bad on his birthday. (insert rolling eyes here)