Weeks of anticipation, mounting excitement and endless playground chatter and it was finally here! Saturday night was long and relatively sleepless. Excitement crescendoed long after bedtime had normally passed and continued unabated until reluctant sleep finally arrived. Not sure who went first, if I'm honest! Sunday morning began inconsiderately early with the question; "How long is it til 2pm?". Errr... about eight hours, son! You know, as in a whole normal person's day?! Someone who is not expected to get up at ridiculous-o'clock on a Sunday, just because the most exciting party ever is occuring that day! I was feeling pretty pleased with myself by 9 o'clock. Cakes baked, and preparations in full swing. Then I got an email....
"I'm afraid we will have to cancel. Your entertainer is ill and we don't have another one in your area..." I sat still for a good ten minutes, with a million thoughts going through my head. The overriding one being; how on earth am I going to tell him?! The SpyBirthdayParty people were very apologetic and clearly felt terrible. People get ill, which can't be helped, and I would imagine children's entertainers get every bug going, but what was I going to do? I was completely stumped. More as a reflex, I emailed them back saying exactly that. Then I had to break the news. His little heart seemed to break right there in front of me. It's hard to explain, because I know that far worse things happen, and there's still a part of me now that wonders if I take these things too much to heart, but it was his dream and he had been looking forward to it for so long. It had been such a difficult year for us, not much excitement going on, so there had been so much focus on this. To his credit, after a few understandable tears, he was incredibly stoic. Clearly upset, he said I wasn't to worry, I was a great mum and I had done my best! well, that just made me worse! After phoning round a few places and putting some feelers out on Social Media, I was getting nowhere. Why does everyone have Sundays off?!
A little while later, I got a phone call from the party organisers, with a suggestion. They had come up with a pretty amazing compromise. They would send another entertainer down, from their base in London, if I could rearrange everything for that evening! After a few texts between parents, it seemed it was a goer, so I got in touch with our new entertainer and offered to collect her from the station. I then spent so long phoning the venue, contacting the rest of the parents, and changing arrangements, that it was a while before it actually dawned on me what an astronomical gesture this actually was. For the company to pay a peak rate fare over that distance, just to make one little boy happy, was generous enough, but the lady they sent over had to leave a party at 4pm, get on a train at 4.30pm to start another party at 7pm! She had never even been to Bristol before! Her name was Agent Gabby, and she was an absolute hero! I have worked with children for many years and I have never seen a group of mainly boys so utterly transfixed for so long.
The party was meant to last two hours, with a break in the middle, but due to the change of time, we decided to compress it to an hour and a half, as it was a school night! It went by so quickly and the children were all thoroughly entertained the whole time. As you can see, she really looked the part, and commanded her audience with total expertise. She had just the right mix of encouragement and authority to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves and took part safely.
|The children were fascinated|
There were lots of different activities and it was very fast-paced, so no one had a chance to get bored! The children were genuinely fascinated by all the gadgets, (as were we!) and really enjoyed trying them out!
|The metal detector was popular|
The metal detectors were great fun, everyone had a turn trying to find the metal object hidden on another person and I do believe there may have been a bit of sneaky learning going on there! All the children I asked said they liked the lie detector and the laser best. The laser was very loud when it burst the balloons and not for the faint-hearted, but for exciteable would-be spies it was considered pretty awesome!
|The lie detector|
"Agent Gabby was awesome! Like Gadget Girl!"
"The laser was the best part!!"
"My son was raving about it afterwards!"
"She was very professional and great at controlling rowdy boys!"
"He told me about the lie detector, sounds fab!"
|Using a laser to pop balloons|
I don't know about you, and I probably shouldn't admit it, but I sometimes find children's parties a little... boring! There, I said it! But not this one, it was really entertaining watching the children's reactions as they experimented with gadgets they thought only existed in films! In no time at all, it was time for everyone to go home. Gabby handed out the party bags and the children all collcted the I.D. badges they made earlier. I'm told they were brimming with excitement for a long time afterwards!