The main thing that many children like most about their birthday is all of the presents that they receive. Joshua has never liked presents much – whether that is because he lacks the manual dexterity to be able to open parcels one handed or whether it is because he has limited interest in material things, I am not sure. I used to worry endlessly about him seeming ungrateful as he would throw presents back at the giver, rather than thanking them or seeming excited by the contents of any parcel. But now, those who know him well, give him presents in gift bags that he can simply lift out, possibly hidden under a layer of tissue paper or perhaps in a box, not hidden at all. I know that they know he does not accept presents well and so I no longer fret as much about him seeming ungrateful. But I am never keen on an audience watching him respond to gifts as that just seems too much pressure.
In fact in 21 birthdays now, I can only recall one or two when he was excited about presents, they would be when he was 3 and 4 years old . On his third birthday, we were in Florida renting a villa with my parents in law and his Aunt. We had bought him a giant pencil and he was thrilled to bits with it, walking around using it like a microphone in the mirror. The year after, we had a joint birthday party for Joshua and my dad, as they shared 5th of March as their birthday. I can picture little Joshua in our snug, opening presents and expressing real delight over the clothes that Granny had bought him : ” Oooh smarty!” as he held up a shirt or trousers. Since then, clothes have been tossed aside with disdain.
Latterly, Joshua has been happy to let me open his parcels for him and then I show him the unwrapped gift, for him to decide if it interests him or not. Over the years, the gifts that have piqued his interest have typically been musical instruments or noisy toys. He loves a new guitar and he adored a toy duck that he received from my best friend, that repeats what he says. That is a toy that he often requests to play with, by insisting “Duck!”. The same friend gave him a clever cushion that contains an MPG player, so that when he squeezes or throws it, it plays ‘ Bittersweet Symphony’, which is one of his favourite songs.
It has always been a challenge to buy him something for his birthday or Christmas present, that he will actually like or need. Joshua loves watching and listening to certain DVDs , but it is really difficult to get him off the Live 8 Show, Bruce Springsteen and Shrek 2 and onto something new, despite numerous attempts. I dress Joshua and choose what he will wear, so he expresses no interest in fashion. He does like jelly sweets and crisps, so he received many of those for his birthday and even a smart wooden crate to keep them in :
I love a personalized gift, anything with his name on delights me and it is practical too. So his new Joshua swimming towel and wallet are not only attractive gifts, but they are practical too, as they will go to daycare with him so that should help them not to get lost. My two Aunts used the same theme of our new touring caravan and one bought him a supersoft, fleecy blanket and the other gave him a caravanning hoodie and both are brilliant gifts :
Many thanks for all the great presents and beautiful 21 cards that he received this year, he is a very fortunate young man and now I am busy writing thank you letters on his behalf.