I always thought I was going to be one of those perfect Pinterest mums, I don’t know why or what led me to think this, given that I have no aptitude in crafts or baking or art, I can’t even fold my sheets neatly if I’m honest. But for some reason or another, when I imagined my future mum self, I saw my children in beautiful clothes, all handmade by yours truly, despite never having had much success with a sewing machine before. I truly believed that they would sleep in their gorgeous colour co-ordinated nursery, complete with hand painted mural on the wall and stunning crochet blanket (made by mummy of course) to snuggle under. Now, I have since realised that my ability doesn’t quite match my enthusiasm when it comes to all things hand crafted, but I don’t let that stop me. I still throw myself headlong into most projects, with the reasoning that a bad job done myself, is still better than something mass produced and impersonal. So you can see where I’m going with this, if my children are dressing up as book characters for school, you can be damn sure they are doing it in something with wonky stitching and frayed edges, fresh off of Mummy’s sewing machine.
So about 2 weeks ago, I started seeing posts popping up about World Book Day, and I thought ‘lovely’, because I love books, especially children’s books. And then the more posts I saw, the more worried I got. The costumes got more elaborate and the parents got more frantic, trying to source the perfect accessories for their child’s chosen character, the more obscure the better it would seem (where does one find a child-sized monocle?) Gosh, I thought, since when did World Book Day become a competitive event? I’m glad we don’t have to deal with that yet. I’ll put it on the calendar for November, that should give me plenty of time to prepare for World Book Day 2017, Mabel’s first one after she starts school. I don’t want to end up having to get a (gasp) shop brought costume of a (bigger gasp) Disney Princess, and have people think that I can’t cope with life.
So I was feeling pretty smug, thinking of all the time I had to plan Mabel’s 2017 World Book Day costume (I was thinking maybe young Jayne Eyre?). That is until Mabel’s preschool updated their facebook status (I know :eye roll:) on Friday evening, informing us that they will indeed be dressing up for World Book Day and would like to ‘invite’ all the children to join them. Now you know, this is not an invitation, an invitation is something that you can accept or decline. No self respecting parent sends their kid to preschool in jeans when everyone else is in a costume (not on purpose anyway), there’s no choice involved, you just have to do it. But it’s ok, we still have the weekend, we can sort something out.
When I first ask Mabel about it, I heavily steer her in the direction of Katie Morag. It seems perfect, strong feisty female character, brilliant books, Cbeebies adaptation so all the children will know who she is. Perfect. I’m not sure Mabel can do the accent, but there’s time to practice. And how hard can a Katie Morag costume be? It’s just a kilt, a white knitted jumper, and some wellies. Well, it turns out it’s actually quite hard to find a green tartan skirt and a chunky knit jumper in the shops when they have all changed to their Spring lines already. In a moment of desperation I started googling knitting patterns for jumpers. I stopped when I remembered it had taken me the whole 9 months I was pregnant with Greta for to knit a tiny baby blanket and it was still too small. I didn’t have the time for that (or the skill, but I’ve never let that stop me before).
At this point I was out of ideas, and I’d wasted the whole weekend doing silly things like living my life. If only I’d started knitting on Friday night, I could have worked all through the weekend, I’d have at least got a sleeve done by now. I went back to Mabel and asked her what her favourite book was. She wasn’t sure, so she went to consult her bookcase. She came back clutching a board book, ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’. Ok, we can work with this, what would you like to be from this book? You could be Mother Hubbard, or Cinderella, maybe Little Bo Peep, or the Wicked Witch?
‘I want to be the Plum Pie’
The next day Carl text me from Aldi, ‘they’ve got a Little Red Riding Hood dress here, shall I get it?’. I reply yes, dejected and disappointed. How has it come to this? I’m trying to channel Julie Andrews here and my daughter will be going to preschool in a 100% polyester dress from a budget supermarket. I’ve failed my poor daughter. Maybe I shouldn’t send her to school in September, I should probably keep her at home and save her the embarrassment.
Of course Mabel thinks it is the BEST. THING. EVER. As soon as she sees the dress she puts it on immediately and starts yabbering away as usual…
‘Ooh I love it. Is this the hood? Oh look I can have the hood up, or the hood down, you see? And there’s a cape bit here, and you can take that off if you want. Look! Oh there’s a Wolf on it! What does it say there next to the Wolf? Oh it says Big Bad Wolf? I’m going to call it the Big Good Wolf. I’m going to grandma’s house now Mummy, don’t worry I won’t leave the path……’
And as I watched her skip off around the house, I remebered, World book day isn’t a mothering test, it’s about the kids having fun and encouraging them to read! And I realised, she was way happier with that £4 dress than anything I could have cobbled together in 4 days. And I didn’t waste all my time on it or stress out to badly either. In fact, I think…
I have won World Book Day
How has your World Book Day experience been? Any rookies out there like me? How do you deal with the competitive mum pressure?
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