Scene: and household the week before World Book Day.
“I want to be The Little Mermaid.”
“I want to be The Tiger Who Came to Tea.”
Brace, brace, brace and…LO! 0600hrs World Book Day.
“Muuuuuummmm. I don’t want to be the Little Mermaid anymore.”
Of course you don’t.
So they bundled themselves into new costumes while I thanked the potent fairy of miracles that they actually chose costumes they already had.
Once upon a time, Sleeping Beauty and The Gruffalo merrily traipsed through the snow to school where they spent approximately 5minutes before the MET office red warning came through and everyone had a snow day.
And they all lived happily ever after until the parents realised World Book Day would be back next week.
(But books are the cure.)
Me: “So what did you do at Forest School today?”
Fed an imaginary bear some leaves.
Drew a map of the Island of Bears on my belly.
We’re learning a lot about time. Analogue clock faces. Cheaply sourced watches. Short hands, long hands (currently spared the second but it’s only a matter of…. oh nononono). Puzzled faces (non-analogue) over time length. You’d have thought naughty step experiences would have given some kind of reference point but then I still naively take them on hikes forgetting the daily reaction to the school walk, “Whyyyyyy is this taaakiiiing sooo looong? My legs are soooo tired.” Knees buckle, bum sags, gazes t’ward clouds in pose of supplication.
Night and day though. That’s fairly black and white, no? Surprise, no! School ran a project involving a teddy bear, teddy bear pyjamas and a diary for each kid to take home of a weekend. Mission: put the teddy to bed at sundown. Mission: ungradeable. No one noticed it getting dark. Too busy doing jigsaws, preparing stews, finding odd smells emanating from behind radiators and other traditional wintertime pursuits. Does this project run in schools above the Arctic Circle?
Springing forward and leaping back…..whoa-ho, whole other realm of crazy. Where does the hour go? How does it know its way back? Does it have a map? Is it the same hour each time or is there a rota system? Is it linked to deja vu? Did Cole Porter omit the Scarlet Pimpernel of the time world when he wrote ‘Night & Day’? Does Doctor Who know where it is? Fairly sure Rowdy THINKS she knows because 4yr old logic has no limits.
Me: “Want sweetcorn?”
The Bobcat: “Sweetcorn is my enemy.”
Me: “Really? You normally hoover it up.”
The Bobcat: “TOMORROW I liked sweetcorn. THIS day…..sweetcorn….is….my…ENEMY!”
Me: “Thanks for clarifying.” [Replaces glasses.]
The Bobcat: “oooooOOoohh. GRaaaavyyy. SWIM, PEAS! SWIM!”
Poorly Rowdy: “I’m keeping my hand warm.”
Me: “I noticed. You’re keeping it warm with my ear.”
Me: “Perhaps we should get you an elephant. That way you could keep your hands warm with their BIG ears.”
Rowdy: “You’ve got big ears.”
Cancel the elephant. It’s been deemed surplus to requirements.
The Bobcat: “Let’s go to Barry Island!”
This is because the sun is out. If the sun is out The Bobcat is convinced some kind of beach excursion is THE PLAN. He doesn’t remember other beaches he may have frequented. He only remembers Barry Island.
“Bar-ry IS-LAND! Bar-ry IS-LAND! Bar-ry IS-LAND!”
Ever been to Barry Island?
It isn’t like this.
This is Barry Island.
And I’m an introvert. And the weather report said that the sun would show up around 0814hrs just to fool everyone, wait long enough for them to venture out for a £4 one-use barbecue, some sausages, some 6% export and an iceberg lettuce and then sod off behind a large black cloud until Thursday.
The Bobcat has been to Barry Island once, Rowdy twice. On the last occasion the stars had (and I don’t know how) aligned as the weather was nothing short of amazing: the sea was warm enough not to leave me hypothermic and the ice creams had to be guzzled pretty quickly before they slid south and left you licking your elbow. We made a sandcastle. We climbed rocks. We splashed in rock pools. We made bum-prints in the sand and watched them fill with water. We buried Daddy in the sand and we made Rowdy into a sand-mermaid. We watched strangers get hot and disgruntled and pretend not to care about winning mini-golf.
In Rowdy & The Bobcat terms this is a paradise-like haven.
“How about you go and live with Uncle Cardiff and then he can take you to Barry Island all the time?”*
Bag packed. Sunscreen packed. Raisin snack packed. Little expectant face waiting at the front door for Uncle Cardiff to pick him up.
We went stick collecting instead. He was thrilled. And he got an ice cream to shiver with happily under his pacamac.
*This was a done deal. Uncle Cardiff has a cow onesie.
One of Rowdy’s recent school projects has been to design a monster that she would see if she were in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. Luckily we have a second-hand copy.*
However, given that Mummy has a new toy (IPad) and that Mummy/daughter bonding time is often over scribbling and sketching the exercise developed from self-directed creativity into directing Mummy.
“No. There not there.”
“That should be pink. Not that kind of pink.”
“You’ve done that wrong.”
Quality bonding time.
She will be doing her own interpretation by hand. When she’s stopped being distracted by her new shiny ‘not-for-outdoors’ shoes which she keeps trying to sneak into the garden.
*The Sock Scoffer has also been inspired by our stupendous friend, author, gin-appreciater and child entertainer, Sue. One of those folk that make the world a bit brighter.