My older boy turned 3 on Saturday. For months he has asked for a pirate party, and thats what we did, on the Sunday (yesterday). He's always been on the shy/clingy side, this got worse when his little brother was born just over a year ago. He's gone to nursery since 16 months old for 2 afternoons a week, spends time with grandparents and other family regularly and has a lot of friends for 'play dates'. He's absolutely fine at home, and is very clever and funny. He's fine with family, and so so with nursery (no longer cries when I drop him off although is very subdued). When he see's friends at home he is either really good or goes to pieces and won't leave my side. Recently, it's been the latter, and the build up to his birthday (last 2 weeks or so) he's been a nightmare. He's also started having terrible tantrums, which is not like him at all. On his birthday it took him half an hour to open a present as he declared he did not want a birthday. He had tantrum after tantrum. The following day was his party, which he also decided he didn't want. A friend (his godmother) came to see him in the morning and he refused to be in the same room as her, and ended up sitting in the hall the whole time she was here. He did get dressed up as a pirate for the party and his dad took him down to the hall we'd hired. By the time I got there he'd asked to take it off so his dad had just put a top & jeans on him (grrrr!). He then sat in a toy box the whole time while the other children played with the toys, got their faces painted and enjoyed the party. All he did was sit in a box next to his dad for 2 hours. He did get out when we sang happy birthday and blew his candles out, helped me cut the cake, then went back in his box. His dad doesn't think there's anything wrong, but I feel terrible. That can't be normal behaviour? He's so unvelievably shy or whatever it is that he can't enjoy his own birthday party with children his own age, most of whom he's known his whole life. Is it my fault, for telling him he'll be a 'big boy' on his birthday. have I frightened him? He is very much a lover of routine and things are changing, he'll be starting nursery at the school soon etc. Does he need some help? It has upset me so much, he just doesn't seem happy. Should I get in touch with the health visitor? If you've got this far, thanks for listening!