Specifically, J hates his own birthday.
It's not the other children, nor the presents, nor the bright colours that J loathes so. And while he doesn't generally enjoy cake, he is not morally opposed to it and certainly does not object to it being eaten by others in his presence. Decorations and gift bags are lovely things for which J has an appreciation. But nonetheless, J hates birthdays.
J's agitation revolves around the birthday song. Well, not exactly the birthday song, specifically. In fact, J quite enjoys the birthday song and sings it with great gusto for much of the year. (Whether it's someone's birthday or not. Complete with the presentation of pretend birthday cakes that he's made from scratch, of blocks, socks, and anything else at hand.) It is only when said song is sung directly at him that he appears to take great offence. At that moment, he loses it. Tears and screaming abound. Don't believe me? See for yourself.
It has been this way for the past three years, and we are starting to get used to it. We wish it weren't so. We trust it will change some day. Some day, a group of happy smiling people singing "Happy Birthday" will not make J scream as though he were being tortured in a prison camp. Some day, J will no doubt enjoy the singing. But for the moment, we can only conclude that "Happy Birthday" was written by Satan himself specifically to torture our son (and therefore indirectly our entire family and all of our friends).
Yes indeed. J hates it when people sing "Happy Birthday" to him. So much so, in fact, that J has taken to reminding us that no one can sing "Happy Birthday" to him on his birthday. His reminders start earlier and earlier each year. Next year's reminder began today. With more than four months to go until J's birthday, he reminded me that no one may sing "Happy Birthday" to him on his birthday.
This did not go over well. Partly because I am every bit as stubborn as is my son. But mostly because it's fun to bug him, and I just can't seem to help myself. I'm hard up for entertainment right now, so this makes me happy.
J: No one can sing "Happy Birthday" to me when it's my birthday!
T: Yes, they can.
J: NO! I WON'T LET THEM!
T: Too bad. We will all sing.
J: NOOOOOOOOO!! I WON'T LET YOOOOOOOUUUUU!!
T: People sing on birthdays. Get used to it.
J: I don't like that!
T: Tough. People will come by. And they'll all sing. Just to bug you.
J: I DON'T WANT THEM TO!!
T: Sucks to be you, then. They're going to do it anyway.
T: Yes. Loud. And off key.
J: They can't sing to me!
T: What was that?
J: No! Singing!
T: What? Extra singing?
J: No!! NO! SINGING!!
T: Oh. Okay. Extra singing. You've got it.
Eventually, I got bored with this conversation. Sadly, J did not.
J: I won't let anybody sing "Happy Birthday" to me!
T: Well, then maybe they'll all just take your presents back to the store because you're rude.
J mulled this over for a moment, and then announced triumphantly:
J: But Santa Claus brings me presents!
(Ha! Showed you, you stupid woman. Santa can't take my presents back to the store. Because he makes them himself!!)
T: Santa Claus only brings you presents at Christmastime. Other people bring you presents for your birthday. Other people who like to sing "Happy Birthday" to you, and who don't like being yelled at for it, give you presents. If you're nice.
(Ha ha! Take that!)
J contemplated this unfortunate new development for a few moments.
J: (heavy sigh) Alright then. I'll let them sing to me.
My son, ladies and gentlemen. We've taught him well. "Do whatever you've got to do to get free stuff", we said. "Sell out. Sell like you've never sold before!" That's our family motto. Good thing J's picked up on it. We're so proud.