It’s your party… and I’ll dump my kids off and leave if I want to.

by statia on May 4, 2010

So, the mini had his first official birthday party invite from one of his classmates.   I give the mom props, because with my party anxiety, I so don’t have it in me to do that yet.   It was at a local gymnastics center, which was cool, because I’ve been looking for good sensory activities for the Mini to do, given his sensory seeking needs.  What better sensory experience than tumbling on mats?

We get to the place, and I noticed two of his classmates parents were leaving.   I was kind of taken back by this.   Like, “really?  We’re doing this already?  Ok.”   There was no way in hell that I was going to leave the Mini behind by himself.  I mean, they’re THREE.  Are you really that much of a choad that you feel the need to make a birthday party a free babysitting service?  Can you not afford a sitter for two measly hours?

At three, there’s no way the Mini is remotely ready to be left like that in a new environment.  I don’t know the instructors, and he gets sidetracked easily, and his underdeveloped social skills make him a bit of a target at times.   He’s a good kid and he tries, but he’s scared of new kids, and the lack of pragmatics make it tough for him to tell a kid who’s pushing him around to fuck off.   He’ll get there, but that’s just PDD.  It takes a little longer.   So in order to show him how to join in and keep his attention, I walked around with him, and made sure that he was OK, and showed him how much fun joining in was.   And once he figured it out, he was fine, and I took a seat on the bench.   One of the other parents, who I didn’t know, said “Oh, you’re a mom?  I thought you worked here.”   And I have a feeling, I’m going to have to explain myself for years to come.  Not make excuses because I’m more than happy to help my son if he needs help in a new environment, and also, I get less one on one time with him, because of his demanding sister.   It was nice to have it just be the two of us.

Perhaps, I’m stunting his social growth by walking around with him.  Perhaps I should stand back and let him work it out, but the protective parent in me can’t let go of that.   If he was a typical kid, maybe this would be the time to cut the apron strings.

But he’s not a typical kid, and I’m reminded of that when I see a classmate who’s bratty, and trying to rip him from a chair because she wants to sit in it, and he has no idea how to defend himself.

I guess this is part of the learning curve of a spectrum kid.


Orodemniades May 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Okay, who the hell leaves a three year old at a birthday party at a gym? And I don’t think you’re stunting his social growth – he’s only three! Besides, you know your kid best.

Having said that, I can’t believe how anxious I feel about the criticism of my parenting when we’re out in public…it’s so weird, that.

Julie May 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I’m with Oro. That’s crazy. I wouldn’t leave my five-year-old at such a party now, out of consideration for the hosts — no way should other people be expected to look out for my kid’s safety in such a venue. (At the very least I’d be sitting on the sidelines clutching a latte and reading a magazine.) If it’s any consolation, I honestly don’t know too many people who’d blithely drop off a three-year-old at ANY party, much less one where vigorous, possibly rambunctious, physical activity was expected.

Jayme May 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm

No way, I’d never leave a 3 yr old at a party. I wouldn’t even leave a much older kid! I don’t think they’re ready to do stuff like that at that age.

Shelly May 5, 2010 at 8:31 am

I have left my 3 year old at a birthday party, but it was at the home of friends we know well, it was a very small party and the mother had lots of her family there for supervision. More like a larger play date. I would do that again and I have no problem with it. Does that make me a bad mom?

I don’t get how you’d leave a 3 year old at a gym party. Really? Whether your kid is on the spectrum or not, I think I’d always accompany my kid at first to be sure she was comfortable in the environment, then step to the side so she could have fun. But I’d still be there if she needed me.

btss May 5, 2010 at 9:12 am

I don’t even have children (yet) and I wouldn’t follow that practice either. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to watch my child and help them to acclimate (spectrum disorder or not) to a new environment…not in that setting, especially. It’s easy to stand back when you don’t have kids and pass judgment, but I can honestly (and realistically) say that, “No, I wouldn’t do that.”

Aunt Becky May 5, 2010 at 10:46 am

I would never, ever, ever leave my three year old at a party. Ever. Ever. Ever. That’s insanity.

Laurel May 5, 2010 at 11:41 am

I agree, leaving a 3 year old at a party is crazy. It would never even cross my mind to do so.

PiquantMolly May 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm

All I know is that I need to use the word choad much, much more often. Same with taint.

Katie May 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I don’t post often, but I can’t believe parents would leave 3 years old at a PUBLIC party! You have no idea who’s lurkin in those public places! Sheesh!

I don’t have any kids myself, but my nephew use to live with me his stupid parents would let a lot of their “friends” babysit him… a different babysitter all the time! Pissed me and my mom off, A LOT.

Lyrehca May 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Just had the same kind of gym party for my 3 year old and 12 other 3 year olds. Every parent stayed. You’re not the odd one.

mrs spock May 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

I wouldn’t leave my three year old either- seems kind of weird. That’s a bit young to be left alone at a big gym with a lot of other kids.

Marla May 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

You did the right thing staying, especially at 3 years old. I have always stayed with my kids when they were invited to birthday parties, so that I’m there if and when they need me. In this case, it has nothing to do with his issues and everything to do with you being a WONDERFUL mommy to stay with him.

Ness at Drovers Run May 8, 2010 at 1:54 am

There is no way in hell I leave my kid at a birthday party and leave! He’s turning 5 in August. All the parents get a kick out of hanging out together anyway since our school is very small.

Deirdre May 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Okay, my son is almost three and like alot of your readers said, I wouldn’t leave him at a party by himself. What’s more, I’ve been to parties at gyms with him and it’s been REQUIRED that at least one supervising adult is with each child. And you’re in no way stunting his social growth. My son doesn’t have any sensory issues, but he does sometimes get a little overwhelmed in new social situations (which by the way is pretty normal for kids this young), and I would have done exactly what you did.

Other people are weird.

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