Mum fail: my son's Easter hat was crap (and it’s all my fault)

Not all of us are gifted with crafting ability... (Stock photo: Getty Images)
Not all of us are gifted with crafting ability... (Stock photo: Getty Images) 

There it was, amongst the notes for crazy hair day and the excursion to the environmental centre.

Easter hat parade. Please provide a zigzag crown, rabbit mask or bowler hat for your child to decorate in class.

“It’s due today, Mum,” said my son.

Right, I can do that, I thought, as I spied some shiny cardboard leftover from his birthday party.

“We need decorations too,” he added.

I checked the clock. At this rate I was already 10 minutes late for work. I cut out the crown, putting it in to a bag with some coloured drinking straws (more leftovers!) and a jar of glitter. Sorted!

I heard little more about the hat after that, only that my son had been working on it in class with his year six buddy, and that they’d been giving the stapler a workout. I imagined all the decorations pooled, the children helping themselves to household items and craft basics like cotton balls, stickers and pipe cleaners. A wholesome, non-religious and creative activity, encouring bonding and team work, right?

The day of the hat parade arrived. I’d organised to come to work late, and my son was bouncing around the house in anticipation. "I need a dollar for a hot cross bun! Are you ready yet? We're going to be late!"

As I took my seat in the playground, I spied a large papier mache egg peeking out from a classroom.  Must be an anomaly, I said to myself.

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But out they marched: huge, towering bonnets, festooned with lashings of baby chicks, birds' nests and feather boas. It was an extravaganza of easter hats. Next to these wonders of Clag engineering, our hat was crap.

Obviously, I’d missed the other, invisible note, which advised parents to drop $100 at Spotlight and invite Martha Stewart over for a bonnet decorating masterclass before merrily bringing it in to school for a few last minute touches.

As my son stepped out of his classroom in his little blue crown, with straws sticking up at odd angles around the sides, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment. I'd messed up. I'd read the note wrong. I was supposed to bring in proper decorations. It was the Easter Parade of Shame.

But out he marched, grinning proudly as his class circled the playground, My Sharona blasting out of a tinny speaker. The audience clapped and the kids beamed with happiness. 

It wasn't about me, I realised, and my distinct lack of crafting ability. My child was just happy to be there, with his classmates and his mum, wearing something he’d made with his own hands.

I smiled and thought to myself – there’s always next year.

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