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Puppy’s First Birthday Party

Planning the world’s most elaborate dog birthday party piqued my daughter’s interest, channeled her ADHD energy, showcased her creativity, and resulted in some delicious baked goods — for canines and humans alike.

Funny dog with birthday cake and hat
Funny dog with birthday cake and hat

Yes, you read that headline right: This blog post is about our puppy’s first birthday party. Apparently, we are those dog owners. Our Pomeranian, Juliette, just turned one, and the party planning started weeks before, when Jasmine spent an entire Saturday afternoon creating a handwritten invitation. From there, it quickly blossomed into one of my wife’s trademark events.

Laurie has always been hospitable. She loves planning parties and has lost countless nights’ sleep preparing for them. More than once, she’s woken me up in the middle of the night to ask me which type of ribbon I prefer tied around the candles. I’ve been married to her long enough to know the right response.

“Which one do you like best?” I ask in a half daze.

I try to show her the enthusiasm she craves, but she knows better. Luckily, we have Jasmine to fill my gap. Jasmine loves parties, party planning, and getting absorbed into all the details. “Mommy! Where did you get this ribbon?!” she asks as she runs around the house with a spool of pink ribbon with brown puppy paw prints. “You should tie these around all the candles in the house!”

[Could Your Child Have Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD? Take This Test]

I recently learned the term “complexify,” which is used to describe the way hyperactive minds build complexity to avoid boredom. I thought of Jasmine back when she was four. She wouldn’t just take an ordinary shoebox and turn it into a rocket ship. She had to paint it, create pilots out of PlayDoh, turn our kitchen table into a launch pad, fashion seat belts out of duct tape — you get the idea.

Now that she’s 10, Jasmine is Laurie’s greatest resource for planning events. In the days leading up to Juliette’s party, Jasmine and Laurie worked day and night on the details. I overheard long conversations on whether Juliette should open her presents before or after posing in the photo booth with her dog friends.

On the day of the party, Jasmine is on her feet all day, scurrying back and forth from the back yard, where she is hanging banners and blowing up balloons festooned with paw prints. From there, she’s rushing to the kitchen, where she is making Juliette’s cake from scratch from a recipe she found online, including icing made from canine-friendly yogurt. While that bakes, she is prepping the human cupcakes, also with frosting from scratch. What floors us all is that she used her allowance to buy the dog-bone-shaped mold that she is using to make little white chocolate toppings for her cupcakes.

“Daddy!” she shouts. “I’m low on white chocolate chips!”

“Ok,” I tell her. “I’ll run to the store.”

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“Can you pick up heavy whipping cream too in case I want to use my ice cream maker to make birthday cake-flavored ice cream?”

“Is that for the dogs? Or the humans?” I’m half joking.

She crosses her arms and gives me an intense look. “Maybe both!”

“What 10-year-old does this?!” I ask Laurie.

“I have no idea!” Laurie says.

By 9pm, the party has wound down; all the guests and their humans have departed. Jasmine collapses on our couch. “I can’t get over what a good job you did,” I tell her. “You deserve to rest.”

“Thanks, Dad,” she says. Then she takes a deep breath and gives a long exhale. “I just want to watch a show.”

As she grabs the remote, Laurie calls from the next room. “Jasmine, I just posted all the pics from the party to Facebook.”

Jasmine gets her second wind. “I gotta see this!” and she runs in a dead sprint to the bedroom. This is when I take a deep breath, because I have no idea how many puppy parties it will take to tire this girl out.

A Dog Birthday with ADHD: Next Steps

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