Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday Party Recap!

We had Carson's bday parties last weekend. We decided to break up the parties since Carson is sensitive to noise and crowds. Although, it was only family, we thought we would try this to see if it helped him have a better time.

Unfortunately, we were still reeling from all the schedule interruptions from our vacation. On top of it, Jay's grandmother passed away. So, we were all still a bit stressed out.

Saturday's party was okay. Jay and I were pretty disappointed but Sunday's party was horrible so, it made Saturday's party not seem all that bad. Luckily, you can't tell he was unhappy by the pictures and I hope that Jay and I can forget the stress of having a very miserable bday boy in a few years.

Good news, he just had a GREAT weekend. It took almost two full weeks to get back on track. I am not sure if the vacation was worth it. Honestly, when he is a mess, we are all a mess.

So, lets just look at the pics as if he was as happy as he appears. I will try to keep a sense of humor as I recap.


As mentioned Carson chose a Batman themed birthday party. Below are some of the decorations. I had so much fun putting them up. When he walked in, he told me "It's Beautiful!". He loved it.

Carson and Nonna. This was the beginning. He was still pretty excited at this point.

We had to do presents first because he was very wound up and needed a distraction. The castle worked. Just as long as no one else wanted to touch or look at it. Not easy considering there were about five other kids there who also thought it was pretty cool. This started the slow and long spiral downward. Oh, and it also started lots of fighting among the kids.

All this drama going on - I might as well get a pic with my God Daughter Sophia. She might not ever want to come over again!

Audrey and new baby Gianna. Gianna was not phased by the commotion. Audrey might have needed a drink by the time she got home! I know that I could have used one but being pregnant... I am not allowed!

If you can't tell by the pic - Fin is being very cautious in his touching and looking at the castle. He knows he will get to play all he wants with it when Carson goes to school 4 hours a day. Carson obviously does not know this or he would have been pissed.

Amiee and Gianna. Again, pretend all the kids are not fighting and the house is not total chaos.

Our sweet Luca holding Gianna. See how babies can distract and calm everyone down. I highly suggest you try to make sure a new baby is at every event. They make people happy and allow for some nice pictures.

Sophia and Fin in the castle. I have NO idea where Carson is at this point. He might have been in my room trying to decompress.

Amen for the cake. That was a good 15 minutes and from the pic, Carson looks like he is actually happy to have all this attention.

Day one/Party one ended and I needed to regroup for the next day. My eternal optimism works in my favor during times like these. I actually thought that since Sat was not all that great that Sunday would be the day he would love. I was so wrong!

Start of party. Auntie Kristie, Blake and Fin. Kids love castles!

Brooke - to add to the drama of the day - this poor little girl must have fallen, bumped into things or got hurt like 5-6 times. I kid you not. By the time she went home, she looked like she had been in an UFC. She even took a tumble down the stairs. Yes, there were like 15 adults around. I don't really know how all this happened.

Carson and Mommy. You can see from his hands over his ears that he is not really feeling the party. My face just says - smile - pretend we are having a wonderful time. I will explain more later on this. Mini lesson is sensory processing - coming right up!

Little Fin - he just goes with the flow. He is actually having a wonderful time!

Group shot - Aunt Carol, Uncle Brian, Auntie Kristie, me, Granny, Carson, Andrea and Gigi. Again, doesn't Carson look comfortable?

Cousin Josh and Blake.

Hugs after opening gifts. A really nice moment in all the crazy!

Cake time - He is my child and if anything can make him happy, some sweets can. He loved the cake that Jay and I made.

Accident prone Brooke and Pa.

Eating cake. Thank God he is happy for like 10 minutes. I will treasure this pic as a good one from his Bday weekend.

Things you don't see in the pics.
  • Carson getting a bloody lip from a new toy.

  • Carson freaking out about bloody lip.

  • Blood on his arms, face, hands and my duvet.

  • Five adults trying to calm a very miserable boy while stopping the bleeding from his lip.

  • Me, laying down with him to calm him from the bloody lip.

  • Giving Carson a bath to distract him from the bloody lip.

  • Jay finally having to put a band-aid on the bloody lip to keep Carson from rubbing it.

  • The looks Jay and I gave one another all to the tone of "What the F$#%?" and "Are you kidding me?". Sometimes we can't believe what goes on around us!

  • Carson dragging all his new toys into my room to seprate himself from the party.


I hope you sensed my scrcasm above. I was truly not in the least bit angry. Yes, we get frustrated but know that he truly can't help it. This might be really hard for some to understand. These are the times that I know that to the average person, he just seems like a spoiled brat. Not wanting to share his toys, screaming, pushing, hitting. Those behaviors are unacceptable but part of this world of autism.

Not all kids that have sensory issues have autism but ALL kids with autism have sensory processing issues. The average person is able to filter out 90% of what is going on around them unconsciously. They don't even have to think about it. For kids like Carson that is just not possible. He literally can't filter out all the input. This makes him nervous and stressed out and his reaction to that stress is exactly what we got at the parties. Being off schedule had already made him irritable...then add... people, noise, commotion, smells and people touching him....well, that was it. He could not take it anymore.

The typical mind works to separate input but Carson's does not work that way. Everything comes at him at once. We have the ability to tune things out and concentrate on one thing. Even young children have this ability. For Carson, it is very offensive. This causes him the need to be in control of everything. So, people touching his toys, him or adding more commotion, makes him more irratable.

Imagine you are in a very small room, with blaring music, strong smells, flashing pictures everywhere you look, and hands invading your personal space. (Sounds like a rave!) That is what life feels like to Carson, ALL THE TIME. Amp that up to already being "off" and you have a very tough mix to handle.

Last Thursday I went to the Macomb Autism Society meeting. They had a seminar on Sensory Processing. It was wonderful. The speaker did a great job of explaining how the brain works. You see - he is not a spoiled brat - he literally can't filter. It is like being overwhelmed every moment of everyday. Talk about being stressed out! For some kids with autism, they will find coping mechanisms (Stims). Some will spin. Some will flap their hands. Some will make noises. Some will completely separate themselves from the world.

Good news is, that as Carson is getting older, he is learning to control this more and more. He goes to OT and PT to learn how to feel grounded in this world. We have things at home that we do to help him relax and calm down. IF you have been over lately, you might have noticed that he does not like to wear clothing..... he can't stand the way it feels on his skin.

Anyway, I just wanted to post some info on Sensory Processing to help explain some of the behaviors. As hard at they are to deal with at times, I know that when Carson exhibits them... he is so overwhelmed he can't deal with it anymore.


This past weekend I had two of my Macomber girlfriends and their families over. Carson was a champ. He was more regulated going into it (back on schedule and comfortable) so it was much more successful and he actually had a blast. He was social and he loved playing with the other kids.

Truly the bday party debacle is our fault. We should have not planned it for the first week back from vacation. Live and learn. Just because we have been doing this for three years, does not mean Jay and I still don't have a lot to learn.

Love you all - Em

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never thought for a moment that Carson was spoiled...and God help anyone that might think or say he is.