The Joys of Turning Four

cake.jpgI must be a crazy person.

Eleven kids at a birthday party. Holy Crack Smoker. How did I NOT know the only possible outcome could be a complete and total meltdown?

The whole thing was … uh … a little overwhelming.

Oh yeah, for MP too.

Two hours seemed an E-TER-NI-TY. She covered her ears and cried when the kids screamed during pizza. She emerged from the play structure tunnels in tears when, in all the excitement, she bonked her head. And then her leg. The whining started up again during cake, escalating to a panic attack when more screaming kids clamored around to watch her open gifts.

And I’m a schmuck because I was embarrased.

I was embarrased that she wasn’t happy and excited and thanking each and every child with the sincere graditude she’s always shown at previous birthdays. I’ll be honest. It’s bothered me that this year, the WAY she opened gifts — even at yesterday’s family celebration — was so different than years before. She’s always taken time with each present, thoughtfully considered each one, and showered gift-givers with hugs and kisses.

This year, she acted … like a four-year-old. Tearing into her gifts, she would scan each one briefly before putting it aside and going for the next. No heartfelt thank-yous. Not even a tiny smile. I miss the charming three-year-old dog-and-pony show. I’m embarrased that I was embarrased.

By the time we left, she was so emotionally spent, the ride home was one agonizing, non-stop, hysterical fit. Emotionally drained myself, I was able to hold the nice-nice face until we got into the car. After 10 minutes I lost it. Really lost it. I yelled at her on her birthday.

Because she was over-stimulated.

I am such an a-hole.

Not too many of those happy pictures today …

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2 Comments

Filed under Party Piece

2 responses to “The Joys of Turning Four

  1. Deb

    My daughter’s birthday had overtones of the same thing.

    She’s usually so social and happy and at her party, she whined and had limited interaction with her guests.

    I’m sure you’re right — it’s a kid thing…and it’s hard to not be embarrassed by it. But I think if we act as if we understand, they’ll feel comforted.

    That said, I yelled at my daughter too.

  2. Yeah, I probably blew it in the “I understand” department that day. Seriously, I was a schmo. Thanks for confessing you yelled at yours too. Guess to err is human.

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