Ordinarily, I like Mondays. Especially when it's a Monday after the school holidays. I adore my boys but when the day comes around that they return to school I'm looking forward to a few hours of solitude. Last week, which was half term here in the UK, was pretty hectic so today I'd plenty of ideas on how to fill my day; maybe some writing, a little tickling of my favourite ticklees and perhaps charring a nice spaghetti bolognese. Maybe even thinking about cleaning the kitchen but then coming to my senses and surfing the net for Christmas presents instead. Prezzies for myself obviously- someone's gotta do it - otherwise I'll end up with another gadget which I'll rediscover in about 10 years at the back of the cupboard. You know they don't call slowcookers "slowcookers" for nothin' you know...
And then I got into a bad mindset...........
So Master Ben and I get to school on time. Okay we aren't early but before the bell anyway- and what's more I didn't even have to go over the speed limit!(Well apart from that overtaking bit.) Anyway, I notice a few small reception children traipsing in at the last minute dressed in garish costumes.
Ha! I think to myself. A dressing up day on the first of term. Those poor reception parents! Oh well, most of them are still new to it. They don't realise the agony of years and years of inconsequential dressing up days there are yet to come! Ha, ha ha!
I look at Master Ben with his creased trousers, smart black fleece and new haircut. Now that's how a child should look on the first day of term - not dressed as a space invader or a vampire with blunt teeth. Hmm...pity about the shoes I forgot to polish though....
Then I see one of the dads from Ben's football team coming towards me.
Footie Dad; "Bloody kids. I spent ages putting the face paints on and then he tells me he feels a twat."
Mrs T: (Innocently - knowing footie dad also has three kids.) Oh dear, is it a dressing up day today?
Footie Dad: Yes. And just as we're going out the door Karl tells me he feels a twat and wants to take the paint off.
Mrs T; (Mortified) Karl????? (Karl is in Master Benedict's class.) It's.... it's....it's... not a dressing up a day for the whole school??
Footie Dad: Yes.
Mrs T: Oh dear, fiddly dee! (Or words to that effect but maybe somewhat more colourful.) What was this delightful dressing up day in aid of? (Again words to that effect but maybe somewhat more colourful.)
Footie Dad; I have no idea!
Mrs T; I don't remember reading anything about it! Besides, they only just had Roman Day on the last day of term. Two dressing up days next to each other? That's blatantly unfair!!
Okay, so you get the idea. I ****** up. Good and proper. Now before you start worrying about Master Ben let me tell you he's a cool dude so he won't be particularly bothered he's not dressed up as a pumpkin or rat's entrails or whatever it was they were supposed to be dressed up as . In fact he's so cool he'll probably tum it to his advantage...
"Mum, you forgot it was a dressing up day. I was the only one without a costume. That's means you owe me £5.00 compensation."
"Yeah, okay son. Do you want cash or a banker's draft?"
Look, I know I've whinged about these dressing up days before but I've got to do it again. They drive me nuts, nuts, nuts. Master Sam is 18 in December - he went to school at 4 that means I've been making costumes for 14 years! 14 YEARS! And I calculate that I have at least another 3 years before I can lead a costume free existence when I can safely chuck out the cereal packets without the following happening...
Mrs T: Where's that cereal packet I left on the side?
Mr T: Oh, I threw it out.
Mrs T: Whhhatttt?! I had to make a sword/shield/ helmet/ wand/crossbow/staff out of that!!
Mr T: It's in the bin.
Mrs T; On my God, it's covered in spaghetti/tomato ketchup/baked beans/custard/jelly/ice cream! How could you be so stupid?!
Mr T: Well I didn't know...
Now correct me if I'm wrong but with rare exceptions men never seem to know about these dressing up days. Am I right Ladies? - Unless they're a carpenter or a painter and decorator - when you can bet your bottom dollar when their Little Johnny is cast as Joseph in the school nativity he'll turn out with an entire tool kit. And as for Greek History Day, Darling Little Johnny will be sat astride a giant wooden horse while Carpenter Dad proudly looks on whilst nonchalantly dusting the sawdust of his sweater.
And what about Diligent Mum? Yeah, you know the one Ladies. The mum who has spent two entire weeks sewing sequins on pieces of her wedding dress so her daughter, Darling Little Lottie, can look the most splendid Mary ever. Never Mind the The Three Kings look like they've been clothed in Oxfam (they probably have) or that the Angel Gabriel's shiny wings look like cereal packets covered in tinfoil so long as Little Lottie looks like Liberace who cares it's only a school production! First step a wooden platform in a cramped school hall, next step Broadway and Hollywood! Hurrah!!
Yep, I'm blown out on the school costume front. And as for all those letters... and I mean too many to count... I now just scan them. I look for two things. The one which says "Reminder" on the top and the other which has £ sign embedded in the sentence. Call me Mrs Cynic but when today's children can read, write and do arithmetic as well as we did thirty years ago then I'll be happy to spend an entire week making a costume out of paper mache. In the meantime dressing up, no matter how much you endorse kinesthetic learning, is just another symptom of our failing education system.
Someone pass me the chocolate.
Okay, so who remembers this song from 1979?
Well if you do remember this song and the background to it - the good news is Master Ben only has a plastic Nerf Gun and I only have a wooden spatula!