Photo by Ouxu Cheng
My two kids are highly sensitive. I am highly sensitive, my husband is highly sensitive. As a highly sensitive family we keep on learning how to listen and react to each others needs to thrive in this world full of entertainment. Last weekend we went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. The preparation for the birthday started in the car, my youngest fell asleep immediately and my daughter was relaxing by holding onto her big bear friend. No music, no cartoons, no talking.
This birthday party was definitely highly sensitive proof.
- The birthday lady was walking barefoot,
- They served sugar free goodies such as banana egg pancakes with whipped cream, blue berries, strawberries and marmelade, coconut-date bonbon and a chocolate banana egg cake,
- People withdrawing to other rooms to look up some quite time,
- Moms breastfeeding,
- No music.
We had loads of fun. I love socialising and meeting new people, but at the same time I like to blend in the crowd by talking to friends we hadn’t seen for a while. That feels much more comfortable than immediately making small talk with someone I don’t know. Same goes for my daughter.
Amé stood close to me, observing the room and the people. The best thing about a party, according to my daughter, is eat the foods they serve. Though she didn’t dive in immediately, she needed some time to land. After having encouraged her to choose her pick, she took her plate to the balcony where the other kids were playing. Instead of connecting to the kids she focussed on her plate. Afterwards she wanted to go outside, because inside it was too warm for her. Arnold and I decided to split up, he went outside and I stayed in with Dían.
Dían also needed his time to get used to the house, the atmosphere and the people. He sticked with me or Arnold. After Amé got back from playing outside she started playing with a girl. They went from room to room and finally I found them sitting with a lady who drew images on their arms. I talked to her earlier and Amé, at that time still taking her time to get accustomed, apparently eavesdropped. To her big surprise she found out this lady is a professional illustrator. Amé took the opportunity to ask her to draw tattoos on her hand with the tattoo pens she had brought with her in her handbag. Afterwards Amé said:
I was perfectly prepared for this party by bringing my tattoo pens.
We arrived quite early at the party, one hour and a half, after it had started. Slowly, new guests were arriving and the noice of people talking to each other got louder and louder. When I started breastfeeding on the balcony it was still doable. New guests joined us on the balcony, Dían was ready drinking, he sat on my lap and made screeching noises. He wasn’t happy at all. I understood and we went to a spare room. He immediately revived. He started smiling and moving around the room. He is fifteen months and I am so happy with our communication.
From the moment he crawled out of the spare room I knew he was ready for more action. I have seen him playing with a friend of ours who was playing with him and interacting with the cat under the table. Meanwhile we were socialising in the open kitchen. I still had an eye on him, that’s my mommy-mind, but I was super proud of him being at ease. Later I caught him playing alone, but not for long, a new friend came along. This twenty-something young male was autistic and loved to connect with Dían.
We had a wonderful time.
Both kids dealt differently with their birthday experience. Driving back home they both stayed awake. Around eight Dían fell asleep without any hassle, but it took Amé more time to fall asleep. The next day Amé slept in and Dían took his nap earlier than normal and slept for like an hour and a half. This is how they recovered. And of course we provided them the time to recover. We had no other appointments than being in and around the house organising and cleaning.
In retrospect, I am very happy and satisfied we took this last-minute decision to stay in The Hague in stead of going up North visiting family. This way we definitely have enjoyed the birthday party in full in stead of being super tired by travelling from one place to another.