Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Little devil or angel….

January is birthday month for the boys but they did not want to share a party this time. Marc would be nine and chose a pool party with pizza, which was relatively easy. Gabriel’s would be three this year and old enough to understand it was his special day. He would celebrate his day at school on the Thursday with a cake, and then we would have a party for friends at the condo at the weekend. We considered a clown, or a puppet show, or a dress-up party and made long guest lists of everyone we knew and then two weeks before the birthday he bit his one of his closest friends, Macauley…

Miss. Tim rang me at home and told me it was not the first time. I knew Gabriel had bitten a boy at the playgroup a year ago and had bitten his condo playmate, Anael, several times. But I had put it down to lack of language skills and being young. Now it was more serious. Miss. Tim reported that she had done a role-play and made Macauley pretend to bite Gabriel. She was sure this would help and Gabriel would feel sorry. To my horror when I picked up Gabriel he said ‘Macualey bit me!’ In his mind he had erased the real memory (it was true, he was the biter, I saw the marks) and recreated this false version. I talked to Macauley’s mum, my good friend Victoria and we didn’t know what to do. Gabriel needed pulling into line and the only option was to cancel his birthday party…

The next day I talked to Miss.Tim about him and she mentioned that he often referred to himself as a ‘devil’. I laughed and said it was a joke…with his name, blonde hair and cherubic look he had been our ‘angel’ since he was born. But over the last year we had begun calling him a ‘little devil’ at home, since he was often naughty in the family. Miss. Tim was shocked and told me it was becoming a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ and we must stop right now!

But I couldn’t cancel his birthday party. He was the baby of the family and certainly my last child, how could I cancel this special day? After several chats with friends I came to the decision to have a Sunday afternoon tea-party with only close friends (i.e. only those who knew that Gabriel was rather naughty). I had long chats to Gabriel about biting and the badness of it and tried hard not to call him a devil anymore.

A few days before Gabriel and I went across the road to the appropraoty named Angel cake shop and he picked a big cake with a Batman design for the school and a chocolate one for the weekend. I told him if he bit anyone he would lose the cakes. The school party and the simple Sunday party were a success in the end. Nina organized the little ones into crafts activities and Marc played games with the older brothers and sisters. The kids all played nicely and no-one was bitten, thank goodness and Gabriel seemed to enjoy his special day. But it made us all take a good look at our angelic little boy and wonder would he live up to his name….

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