Can you remember anything better from childhood than the joy of waking up on your sixth birthday? There is NO DOUBT in a newly hatched six year old that he is the most important boy in the universe. Waking up that day, knowing all the special events that await, is extra-sweet.
Plus Nana and Papa are here, so all the birthday rituals that I’d not be able to pull off can happen anyway.
Speaking of rituals, you know Danny goes to school-school kindergarten. Even in a regular school, birthdays are awesome. You get to be the line leader, you get to read first, and your mom (or in this case your grandparents) get to bring cupcakes for after lunch.
But in a Montessori Primary classroom, there is a ritual that’s much more significant than all of those. There are Montessori work materials that help children learn the months of the year. The one they use for this ritual is an absolutely beautiful puzzle with each month’s piece extending out from the center like rays. The birthday child puts this work on a mat on the floor and puts a candle in the middle. Then he carries a small globe around in a circle around the puzzle. Just as the earth makes one trip around the sun each year, the child makes one lap, holding the globe, around the months for each year of his life. He takes a break at his birthday month during each lap for the parents (or grandparents 🙂 ) to show pictures of him from his first year, then second… ot to tell stories about him at each age.
And if that wasn’t enough birthday celebration, we had a cake with candles in the afternoon. Actually, it might be more appropriate to say that we had frosting with candles… there was a teeny bit of cake under there, but it was pretty well hidden!
And then presents! Books from the big kids’ special stashes, and a very special scooter from his parents. Danny’s physical therapist helped us find one that was wide and stable enough for him to be able to use, and then she worked with him on it at PT to make sure he would be able to be successful right away on his birthday.
If somebody had told us, six years ago when Danny was a little tiny fragile baby on a ventilator, or five years ago when we were just starting to learn about his brain damage and CP, or even three years ago when we just knew that independent walking was probably an unrealistic dream…. but anyway, if somebody had told us on one of those birthdays that Danny would be getting a scooter that he was going to be able to use, out on the street with all the other boys, we never would have believed them. But it’s really true. A regular scooter, right off the shelf. Not ordered from a catalog of adaptive recreation materials for handicapped kids. And he can ride it all by himself.
I’ll leave you with an old photo… from exactly two years ago… that always makes me smile.