Kitten has been planning her birthday party for months and still has a few months to go before the big day. She will chat endlessly about the guest list, the colors, how many balloons we need and what sort of cake she wants. Mostly, though, it’s the guest list. She wants to be surrounded by all of her favorite people and she wants them all to stop what they are doing, look at her, and serenade her with a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’. She basks in that moment.
Buddy would really rather not have a birthday party at all. If it were up to him, there would be cards at best; delivered anonymously while he wasn’t looking. At his last birthday party he was terrified; people kept arriving! Even people he knew and loved, like grandparents, got the cold shoulder. He buried himself in my shirt and just waited for it to be over. You would have thought we were punishing him!
Two very different kids with very different needs.
Kitten needs constant attention from everyone in her vicinity. Buddy would have a panic attack if too many people looked at him at the same time.
Buddy prefers one-on-one attention and alone time. Kitten gets seriously cranky if someone hasn’t acknowledged her for more than 15 minutes.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that you two have such different needs. Sometimes I can’t figure out why Buddy is having a meltdown after a great day at the zoo with friends and family. Sometimes I can’t figure out why Kitten is so cranky when I’ve been reading quietly to myself for half an hour.
I need to remember that when these things happen I should let Buddy be alone in his room for a little while, or I should get down on the floor and play with Kitten for a little while…and maybe help her plan her next birthday party.