Great moments in parenting – the birthday party fail edition

I thought I had it all under control. Clearly, I did not.

Poor Lucas, poster boy for the third child, has reached the ripe old age of five and has never had a birthday party. Knowing this, we started making plans to ensure he actually got one this year in December, even though his birthday is February 8. A good six weeks in advance, we called and booked a party room and worked out a guest list. It was a lock.

Last Friday I was supposed to get the invitations, but I forgot them on my desk at work. Annoyed with myself, I figured two weeks less two days would still be plenty of notice. That Monday afternoon I sat down and wrote out all the invitations, confirmed the guest list with Lucas and stuffed them into his backpack to be distributed the next day at school. That’s when I found the invitation FOR Lucas, from a classmate.

For the same day.

For the same place.

For the very next time slot.

Yeah. Four straight hours of birthday party might be a little much for your average four year old to bear, don’t you think?

Luckily, I recognized the RSVP name as a mom who is also on the school council with me. I felt comfortable enough to call her and cross-check against her invitee list against mine, hoping there wouldn’t be too much duplication. The girls were no problem, he hadn’t wanted to invite any girls (Lucas takes after Simon in this regard; his bestie is a girl) but he had invited every boy in the class. Heartbroken for Lucas, I called to reschedule the party and the soonest time slot I could get was 10 days after his birthday. So much for planning.

Really, that was nothing more than circumstance and bad luck (although I can’t help castigating myself for not getting those invites out earlier!!) but I really can’t blame anyone but myself for what happened with Simon’s party.

Knowing the boys were desperate for their own handheld devices, we gave Tristan and Simon a choice this year – a big party and a little gift or a little party and an iPod Touch. Neither one hesitated to choose the iPod, of course. So we told them they could have three or four friends over in lieu of a party, and we’d have an extended sort of play date with cupcakes and birthday presents. (And then I scored the iPods at half off during a refurb sale after Christmas. Win-win!!)

So I picked up some invitations and wrote out three five (I am such a softie) and Simon sent them off to his friends last week. It was only earlier this week that I realized what I had done, or more specifically what I had NOT done. I hadn’t made a note, mental or otherwise, of what time we had put on the invitations.

“Um, Simon?”

“Yes Mommy?”

“Do you remember what time we put on the invitations for the party on Saturday?”

“Um, no?”


I mean, it wasn’t a big deal. We would be home anyway. I was pretty sure I’d said 1:00, or maybe it was 1:30. It might have been 2:00. Probably not as late as 3:00, right? Hmmm. The only challenge would be coordinating the arrival of the grandparents, who wanted to appear in time for cupcakes but not endure two hours of a houseful of kids hepped up on birthday energy. I figured I’d just call them when kids started showing up and tell them to show up in an hour.

But, it was bugging me, so I casually approached one of the moms today at school pick-up.

“Hey, how are ya? Warm out today, eh?” I said, and we chatted briefly about the unseasonable warmth. “So, I um, have a kind of a favour to ask. Do you, um, happen to remember what time I put on the invitation for Simon’s party?” She thought it was hilarious and confirmed that it was, in fact, for 1:30.

I thought THAT was one of my finer parenting moments, until the phone rang earlier this evening.

Ring ring.

Me: “Hello?”

Child’s voice: “Um, hi. Is this Simon’s mom?”

Me: “Yep, that’s me! Did you want to talk to Simon?”

Child: “Um, actually, no. I was calling to talk to you.”

Me, mildly surprised: “Oh, okay then. What’s up?”

Child: “Well, Simon said you forgot what time the party is, and we thought that it might be important that you know, you know? So I checked the invitation, and it says 1:30. Just so, you know, you, um, know. Okay?”

Me, dying: “That is very considerate of you sir. We will look forward to seeing you on Saturday.”

One of my finer moments indeed.

Moral of the story: do not, under any circumstances, hire me as a party planner.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

8 thoughts on “Great moments in parenting – the birthday party fail edition”

  1. Oh I’m laughing too, Carly. Blushing and laughing, actually. Not sure I’ll be able to make eye contact with the kid who called or his parents on Saturday, tho!

  2. My daughter’s birthday is on February 7th, and I always get caught out by how fast it comes after Christmas. But my biggest fail was one year when we had my son’s party at a Gym Tale, and on SOME of the invitations I wrote the correct time, which was ten to eleven-forty five, but on a few I wrote 12:15 instead. So my husband and I had a bunch of kids out on the lawn for half an hour waiting for their parents, trying to entertain them while my husband very kindly did not call me an idiot. This shit is hard, yo.

  3. LOL, that is awesome Allison. Ironically, A Gym Tale is also where Lucas’s party was, would have been, will be. Clearly we are not responsible enough to handle these details, perhaps we should contract that part out too?

  4. love this Dani 🙂 We’ll be venturing in to first “real” birthday parties for Maddy this year (5 years old) so I may bookmark this post.

  5. I was laughing the entire time I was reading this. What an amusing post! 😀 You know, things like these just happen. It’s good that after all that happened, things fell into the right places, right? I bet Lucas is pretty excited for his very first birthday party, thanks for making it possible awesome Mom! 🙂

  6. omg, this is so *totally* something that I would do too!!!! I love that his friend called you. Priceless!!! :o) My girlfriend did a similar thing last summer, she held a party at Starr Gymnastics but ended up going to another gym thinking she booked there — while the birthday party waited for them at Starr (us too!)! Ahhh good times. I have mentally noted to mark down the times for my kids parties on my calendar when I send out the next invites, thanks! 😉

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