Babyboy and I had a wonderful time at a children’s birthday party yesterday. It was the first birthday party he’d ever been invited to, except for relatives’ parties. I was a bit nervous beforehand, as I didn’t know these parents very well, and didn’t expect to know anyone else there, either.

Also, the party was at the very exact same time as Hubby’s game, a very big deal football game. Still, I wanted Babyboy to be able to attend the first party he’d ever been invited to, and I was very curious to meet his classmates’ parents. I had explained this dilemma to the birthday mom beforehand, and asked if it was OK that we left early so we could join our family in listening to Daddy’s football broadcast. She had said Of course, that was fine. I figured that was a good sign.

The party was at an indoor children’s play gym, which is basically a big, secure, padded space with low kid-safe climbing equipment, large inflatable toys, and soft gymnastics pads. Kids can run, jump, roll, and even fall, without risk of injury, while parents can  relax and chat.

And while the parental chatter was mostly light and introductory, it also consisted of everyone explaining why their kid is in the special ed/ integrated preschool program, and briefly trading experiences. I hadn’t anticipated what a massive relief this would be. Most of these parents had been through a very similar process to ours: having a kid that was “different”; hearing concern from their doctor or daycare about their kid;  having suspicion for a developmental issue; referral to Early Intervention, to specialists; navigating the school system; wondering what other services or programs might be helpful….

All the while, Babyboy was off doing his own thing, not participating in the Parachute game or Choochoo train game. But, I didn’t need to explain or make excuses for his “different” behavior. And, it was very helpful to learn what others had been through. Everyone lives in our school district, which means, really close by.

Time went by. Even though I knew the big sports event was proceeding and I had no idea what was going on,  both Babyboy and I were comfortable at the party, having a great time, even. We stayed much longer than I had originally planned. Babyboy had two pieces of cake. Promises were made to get in contact, to make play dates, to share more information. By the time we left, I realized that we had missed almost the entire first half of the game, and I didn’t mind at all.

It was a good thing actually, as our team was getting absolutely and shamefully spanked. We made it home in time to see and hear the spectacular second half, where our guys overcame a significant deficit to win what was arguably one of the most riveting playoff games in football history.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to follow through with some of those promises, and Babyboy will also enjoy his very first play date.

Overall, a very lovely party, and a fantastic foot ball game as well….