Saturday Night at the Birthday Party

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SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

Introduction:

Saturday, March 13th 2004, my friend Hannah had a costume party for her 13-year-old son Jason. Hannah invited 13 children to Jason’s birthday costume party at her home in Kissimmee. The children’s ages ranged from three to thirteen years old. Mostly everyone came to her home dressed in colorful costumes. Some were friendly, scary or funny,others were homemade or store bought. A young married couple arrived around 4:30 pm with their three-year-old son, Matthew, who is the subject of this paper.. His father John was dressed as a tattered bum and his wife Sarah was dressed as a friendly pretty witch. Little Matthew who is usually a white, blond hair male was dressed in a black cat outfit complete with the painted face to resemble a cat. He also wore the red nose, red cheeks and whiskers. He is tall and thin for his age. According to John and Sarah, Matthew’s parents, their son is a curious little boy by nature. Emotional Deveopment and Stranger Anxiety

Matthew demonstrated a wide range of basic emotions as Kail and Cavanaugh predicted. “Most scientists agree that complex emotions don’t surface until 18 to 24 months of age (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2006, pa. 186).” Complex emotions require the additional step of reflecting on one’s own behavior and how one feels about it. Matthew moved his big blue eyes as he scanned the busy room filled with wild assortments of costumes that floated around him. Matthew did not speak much but his facial expressions of wonderment seemed to say what his mouth did not. Sometimes, his face would light up with excitement and other times he seemed to be paralyzed by fear. He reacted to the hip-hop music by bouncing up and down and clapping his hands. Matthew demonstrated “stranger wariness; by the end of the first year the child becomes wary in the presence of an unfamiliar adult (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2006, pa. 188).” He ran to his mother and...
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