couples

Parenting confession: I implied my son was seriously ill to book a party entertainer at the last minute

Kids’ parties are a big deal, but is it ever okay to suggest this to give them the bash of their dreams?

My eldest son is turning 10 and I’m equal parts shocked that I’ve been a mum for a decade already and so so proud of the amazing little boy he has become. I want to throw him a birthday party that is special. He and I sit down to plan the details.

He wants a party at home, he wants all his friends there, he wants all the food to be egg and nut free. He has food allergies and normally we just let him know what he can eat but this time, he wants to be able to eat everything.

My son can’t decide if he wants a magician or a scientist as the party host so spends some days mulling it over. Eventually he decides on a scientist because he hears that at one party, they taught the guests to make slime. Sold.

I start researching science birthday parties on the internet and try and find someone affordable. I strike gold early on with a man called Ben who is available on the day and at the time we need. I book him immediately.

It's the Tuesday before our Saturday afternoon party and Ben and I are on the phone discussing details. So far we've only talked about what kind of experiments he's likely to do. Soon, we turn to the nitty gritty.

He writes down my name, address...and then he falls silent.

"Um, I'm in Melbourne. I had no idea you were in Sydney. I'm so sorry. I don't do Sydney parties."

I hang up numbly. Could it be possible that my precious little man's 10th birthday party turns into an absolute disaster? No way, no how.

I start desperately calling other companies, no longer caring that they cost almost twice the price. I eventually locate the number for the CSIRO. They'll have heaps of people on standby, right?

I am put through to an automatic service that explains they are unlikely to return my call for at least a week. I panic, and find myself saying:

"Hi, my son is turning 10 and I really want to make his party special. I know it's short notice but he's feeling well enough for a party so I want to make it really special because he's had such a terrible year. If at all possible, I'd really like someone to come. Money is no object. He's been so sick. Please let me know if you can help."

The shame washed over me immediately. Yes, I'd just implied that my perfectly healthy son had some kind of terrible illness in order to secure a party host for his birthday party. I feel terrible but I'm still desperate for them to find someone for me so I just let it ride.

They call me back in two hours with a party host. I thank them profusely. Oh dear.

What lengths have you gone to in order to make your child's birthday party really special?

If all this hasn't deterred you from planning a party for your own kids, here are 21 amazing recipes to serve as birthday cake inspiration...

00:00 / ???