That moment when your child comes out of school loaded down with a bag the class mascot ‘Barnaby Bear’ lives in…
‘Oh good grief!’ I didn’t so much as inwardly groan as the teacher looked at me, a little bit astonished that I could be horrid enough to show my child that I was not… (quite) as happy as him at the prospect!
Perhaps I’m a mean Mummy? Maybe I’m just mean in general but surely I’m not the only mother in the land who wants to shout and stamp her feet knowing we have 7 days to take exciting pictures, do ‘fun’ things and write in the diary of a stuffed bloody toy?
I get it, I do. It’s nice for the kids and they enjoy it but for bobbins sake… It’s not like I don’t already have enough on my plate without pandering around a bloody toy bear! I bake with my kids, take them swimming, run them to ballet, tap, modern, ensure they have ukulele classes, go to football on a Saturday morning (when they want to which luckily for me isn’t often), have the chance to do drama, messy play, visits to the beach, park, local soft play, museums, cinema trips, bowling, visits to the zoo… I read to them and they read to me, we study flash cards, we look up interesting facts…
Jeez, I couldn’t do any more with them! Oh but then again, I actually do!
Florence would beg to differ though it has to be said. Over the Christmas break she told me that I often don’t entertain them because sometimes I have to take a shower… I don’t take criticism well so have taken to playing board games with them before school and going on the run with wet hair – I draw the line at actually being smelly!
You get the point!
I am busy.
And on top of that I work. I might work from home. I might freelance meaning I can pick and choose. I might get to go to film premieres and theme park openings for my job (again, more fun for those kiddos of mine don’t forget) but I DO actually have to sit down and write at some point. Picking and choosing isn’t always an option when you gotta earn the flipping dollar – do you think I WANT to write about tampons and how amazing they make me feel? They don’t make me feel amazing! I never feel amazing when I’m using tampons. I feel like I’m feeling now while I write this post. ANGRY! And for no real bonking reason at that!
And while I’m writing about how carefree I might be ‘feeling’ as I run, full menstrual cycle agog, across a freezing cold beach while my Mum takes pictures (badly) of me looking oh so tranquil and at one with the bloody sand and stinking north sea, who do you think is hanging my washing up? Who’s loading my dishwasher, *ironing the school uniform, **cooking the dinner????!!!! Well?!?! In answer, ME!
So forgive me teachers for not being overly keen on entertaining a stuffed toy on top of everything else, it’s just that it spells more work and in an annoying way at that! I appreciate the kids sit in assembly willing their name to be picked for ‘Sportasaurus’ of a Friday afternoon but the Mums (at least the ones like me) hold their breath and only let it out again when their child hasn’t been chosen. IF, however, it’s a bad week and your kid starts leaping up and down with glee ‘It’s me Mummy, it’s MEEEEEEEE!’ then DO expect, as that exhale of breath is let loose, a small ‘FUCK’ to come out with it. We don’t want blooming Sportasaurus or any of his chums coming to stay, it means we have to be more creative than usual, find ink for the flipping printer and spend ages thinking up something the other kids in the class haven’t already done!
Also, I am normal. I don’t want to take a dirty toy with me everywhere I go for a week!
Thank the lord it doesn’t happen often and that’s the only saving grace. Luckier for us still, we haven’t had the sporting dino over the weekend yet AT ALL. We haven’t had to think up sporting family activities to show off to the world in an Instagram fake-fabulous way which won’t even have the satisfying element of getting loads of ‘likes’! But… I’m sure the day is coming… Now that Barnaby Bear has been bestowed upon us I feel it’s only a matter of time…
You see I thought I’d been terribly inadvertently clever and I thought I might have scuppered all my kid’s chances of ever being sent home with the mascots (again) on account of Reading Rhino being sent back covered in booze.
I took him to London you see. Went out for a lunch time beer you see. Took one for the train ride home right? Only the bottle was open and as I ran to make the train, kids in tow, and it was nestled on the top of my bag, the bloody rhino got himself pissed!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Yes that’s what I thought but the teacher gave me a VERY disapproving look as I explained the story. Again, and slightly sorry abut this next word but not enough to not say it, FUUUUUUUUCK! No sense of humour these 25 year old teachers, no sense of humour at all!
So when Jimmy came bounding out with the bear, his toothbrush, passport (where the buggering buggery are we expected to take him?) and his night clothes. Yes. That’s right, his NIGHT CLOTHES, I couldn’t help but let out a moan of ‘Oh no. Oh bloody no!’
And on the way home I decided. Right. One picture and that’s it. One picture and a little bit about one day. That’ll do right?
Then over my expertly cooked cheese on toast supper Jimmy said ‘Read me what other people have written’? Oh gawd… So I did…
Pages and pages of detailed activities with the sodding brown bear. And then we get to the last little girl (we’ll call her Jasmine). Oh she had fun. Oh so much fun! And Jasmine’s mummy wrote so, so, so, so much in the diary. Waxed lyrical about what a lovely time they’d had, how he could come back any time…
I want to ask Jasmine’s Mummy if she has a cleaner, someone to do her shopping and time to live the life of a lady who lunches. But of course I don’t have to. She MUST be to have done that much with a stuffed toy in one solitary week!
They baked with the bear, took him to a party, went shopping and counted, I dunno, STUFF! He went away with them for Christmas… Bla bla bla bla.
So I want to say STUFF it! I’m not joining in. But…
EVERYONE knows I’m not one to be outdone. There’s only 10 people in this class and at some point it will go to everyone else and they’ll all see what we write too. Oh god. I’m going to have to make an effort aren’t I? A bloody big effort. Parenting the shit out of life is all a big competition and fuck yeah, I want to WIN! Those that went before us on ‘Barnaby Bear watch’ thought they’d set the bar high but they’ll be laughing on the other side of their smugness on the next round… They saw fit to set it, so I’m jumping higher. I mean Jimmy is. Of course, Jimmy is!
As Barnaby Bear went to bed last night, having brushed his teeth and got changed for the occasion into his pyjamas, Jimmy said ‘I’m so pleased Jasmine picked my name out of the hat Mummy’. And I said, through gritted teeth ‘Yes Jimmy, so am I’.
Damn that Jasmine, the little…
So now we have a week of extensive bear related plans. In my ever increasing need to be the best Mummy EVER I have a ‘teddy bear’s picnic’ on the calendar, a ‘bear hunt’ to co-ordinate and some ‘Barnaby Bear’ themed biscuits to bake and take back to school next Monday. Of course we will also take him out with us, probably to the beach (I need some nice lifestyle shots of me in some review clobber so we’ll kill two birds) and that’s not forgetting Barnaby’s daily outfit changes (shall I buy him a new one I wonder? Maybe I’ll knit him a scarf for the cold weather we’re having), his teeth brushing (oh my goshness) and something academic to add to the diary…
I’m guessing the housework might take a hit then? But honestly… You ought to see Jimmy’s face bless him. The charge of this darn bear ain’t half made him happy and at the end of the day… That’s all we want right? No matter how miserable we can be at times! That’s what we want (whispers: and to beat the other mums)!
*Ok so no one actually irons the school uniform in my house even when I do have a minute. I’m more likely to be seen wet wipe in hand sponging stuff off it in a last ditch attempt to make it look ok for the next day. Occasionally, and only very rarely if they’re really crinkled from a last minute wash and tumble dry, I might take to them with my GHDs just after I’ve straightened my hair. But now that I’m school running with my hair washed and not dried that will probably stop too. Hey, don’t judge me, something’s gotta give!
**My husband will laugh at the notion and say beans on toast, tuna sandwiches or Dairy Lee melted into spaghetti isn’t actually cooking! Again, don’t judge me and as I point out to him, sometimes the pasta gets a smattering of frozen peas too!