Friday, March 09, 2001

Birthday boy

Anybody out there have a great idea for a birthday party for 10 multiply disabled special-ed kids? Anybody? Contact me, quick.

My son's 8th birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and unlike last year, when the kids in his class were all bigger and older and meaner than him, this year he has a group in his self-contained special-ed class that's pretty appropriate peer material. Unlike last year, he'll have a party. Since there are only 10 kids in his class, we can easily invite everybody. But where shall we invite them to?

The birthday boy's first choice was a children's museum about half an hour away, but that seems an awful long way to ask people with special needs children to go. For one, you're adding a round-trip hour in the car with a hyped-up kid to the evening, and who needs that? For another, I know at least one mom in the group doesn't drive, and maybe more. So. Faraway, somewhat difficult-to-find museum is out. Chuck E. Cheese is choice #2, but aside from the fact that it is a humongously overstimulating place (for me, too), the kiddos tend to scatter on entry and not play together so much. If Andy's going to entertain friends, I'd like them to stay with him.

So that brings us down to Burger King, which has a small play place, and bowling. Are 7 and 8 year olds too old to play at Burger King? Even really immature, developmentally delayed 7 and 8 year olds? My son would love to play at Burger King; will the other kids think that's weird? And, conversely, if you're going to have a bowling birthday party, shouldn't the birthday boy like to bowl? My guy's sort of neutral on the sport, and with his ultra-low muscle tone, throwing a heavy ball can be kinda challenging. Not to mention the loud noises. Still, he's hung in at his sister's bowling parties. So maybe.

I'd like to be the kind of mom who could just have that whole passel of younguns over to the house and entertain them for an hour or two. But I still remember the time I had my daughter's whole special-ed class over for a party, and it's a wonder there weren't holes in the walls from all the energy those boys spent bouncing off them. Man, oh man. And that was nominally a "higher functioning," as they say, group than my son's class. If we could have the party outside, that would be one thing. But a party outside in March in our part of the country is a thing fraught with peril.

So I'm thinking bowling. Bowling. Bowling's okay. Everybody will smell like cigarette smoke after, and my son will get his hands all dirty from the bowling balls and then put his fingers in his mouth, and I'll run around like a crazy person trying to keep everything rolling in the right direction. But it will be okay.

Unless anybody out there has another idea. Anybody? Anybody?

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