It’s World Book Day on Friday. Of course it is. I’ve been back at work and therefore performing the ‘mummy dance’ of keeping all the fecking plates in the air; increasingly aware that one by one, they’re going to come crashing down, bashing me on the head as they do. Last year, as effing Book Day approached, we headed to M&S and were royally fleeced for two outfits which now lie, stained and abandoned up the stairs. Our lovely Granny had just passed away and we were in no form for DIY ensembles.
This year, however, I’ve said a big fat ‘NO’ to capitalism and am making my own. ‘Why would you do that to yourself, SWB?’ you may ask. Well, come on, you know the mantra by now, it’s because I don’t want to be: ‘buying shite I don’t need.’ This is why I’m sitting here on the old laptop, procrastinating, because I have to sew a bloody owl costume for The Small Child, who wants to be an ‘Owl Baby’ from Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. Now this must be one of the few stories I haven’t actually read them, but not to worry: they have heard it in school, mary many times. At least the book isn’t here with a picture of an owl that is so glaringly different for the owl costume I found on Pinterest and am trying (and failing) to replicate.
My First Born is in a terrible state of flux; ricocheting between the witch in ‘Room on a Broom’ and the princess from ‘The Princess and the Christmas Rescue’. This, of course suggests, that a parsimonious parent has encouraged her to choose a character for which we may have a ready made outfit ‘in the house’, of a seasonal nature. While this is entirely the sort of ploy that I could be at, it is in fact not the case. She just really really likes these books. We everything we need for the witch costume, bar a wart to stick on her nose and a purple skirt. Annoyingly, I’m almost certain I recently sent a purple tutu to a charity shop in my ‘post-Christmas clear-out,’ in one of my Kondo inspired moments.
Aside from lagging behind on the outfit front, I’ve also failed to badger friends and family for sponsor money. Badgering people is not my strong point, although after almost a year of being on the PTA and scrounging raffle prizes up and down the Ormeau Road, you’d think I’d be an expert by now. In fairness, when the Small Child came home with her sponsor form 2 weeks ago, her Papa duly coughed up and we carefully placed a tenner, plus the form into a distinctive blue envelope. ‘Put that somewhere safe,’ said my Dad. I did, and I haven’t seen the bastard thing since.
‘Have you not seen the blue envelope?’ I keep asking LSB.
‘I have NEVER, EVER seen a blue envelope,’ he says, using the indefinite article to lend weight to his argument.
‘You bloody have,’ I reply, ‘ it was from one of your birthday cards.’ He looks even more confused.
‘I WAS RECYCLING,’ I explain. He sighs and wanders off. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. He is from West Belfast, and they’re not used to giving up information easily to Protestants.
The Older Child, to add to my woes, is only after pulling a somewhat convoluted form from her bag this evening, which has to be returned on Friday. It requires documenting evidence of her reading since the beginning of February. I have no idea what happened in February. It came and it went, leaving me in a bemused and bewildered state. I swear to f**k that will be the epitaph on my gravestone: ‘Here lies Helen; perpetually puzzled’. Maybe there is no hell: this is it, the here and now, as we run around demented.
I shall leave you with that cheery thought, and you can wait with incipient joy to see the photographic evidence of my travails, and the outfits my children will be forced to don. Here’s hoping there’s no last minute forays to M&S…