So, like I wrote last night, being a teacher on World Book Day can be challenging. But for some of us, it’s a double whammy because we also have to endure this day as parents.
For most adults in charge of keeping small people alive, this can be fairly straightforward. A ten minute drive to the ‘localish’ fancy dress shop or a quick search on Amazon usually produces an adequate costume. And for 2 children out of 3, this did work for me. But I had a Joel. And mass produced, predictable, shop bought fancy dress did not cut the mustard with this child.
First World Book Day. He wanted to be Mr Strong. For no particular reason. He’d probably glanced at the shelf, looked for which costume would be the most difficult to source and announced “I want that one!” in whichever way he could with his delayed speech. So a red T-shirt and green baseball cap? I could do that! Oh no, no, no, no!
“I think you’ll find, mother, that Mr Strong is wearing an emerald green trilby. And he also has the peculiar body shape of a square, or should I say cube.” FFS!
So off mother went to find the right hat. Luckily Joel has always had a rather large head (my perineum can testify to this), so an adult sized trilby was purchased; next day delivery cost more than the bloody hat. As for the body, there was only one option. To paint a large cardboard box. One or two layers would suffice surely. Ten layers later, I was ready to shove Joel in the box and post him to mainland Europe so he’d miss World Book Day altogether. And of course he wanted to help. He threw some paint in the direction of the box and I naturally turned red, seething with each piece of mess I had to clean up. Eventually the costume was ready.
We hadn’t really thought about transporting Joel/Mr Strong to school. Obviously he had to wear the costume from the minute he woke up. Mr Strong acquired a milk moustache and toothpaste stains on his face before we’d even left the house! Negotiating the seatbelt resulted in the first dent. Joel actually believing he was Mr Strong did not help.
“I do it. I’m Mr Strong. I help. I’m Mr Strong.” Why couldn’t he have picked a superhero from a film and just flown himself to school in that case?
Once at school, World Book Day because highly tolerable because, all of a sudden, I was Mother Earth.
“You made a costume from scratch?!”
“He looks great!”
So this parenting lark on World Book Day wasn’t too bad after all. I’m not even sure where Sam was at this point. He’d evidently taken himself off to class, unimpressed but not jealous of all the fuss his little brother was creating. Deep down, I was doing a little happy dance, relieved that my costume resembled an actual book character and thrilled that my little fruit loop was loving life.
“I can’t wait to see what you come up with next year!”
Only another six World Book Days to survive.
P.S Unfortunately there is no record of this particular costume. It turned out Mr Strong was not particularly strong and he was unable to withstand the force that was Joel. He never returned home 😥