It’s now February, the 3000 days that comprise January are finally over and it’s time to turn our thoughts to the dreaded World Book Day costumes.
I know. It’s still a month away but this year I have resolved to be less crap when it comes to costumes for the kids at school.
Let me explain. At the boys old school World Book Day used to be themed ‘Bedtime Stories’ and the kids would come to school in their pyjamas. Brilliant, even I, crap costuming mum, could manage that. Admittedly my elder son
was mortified wasn’t too impressed the year our car broke down and we had to get the bus to school with him in his pjs but memories are short and childhoods long. Or a version of that I keep telling myself.
Then the boys started at a new school. It was a new routine and a pretty tough time for all of us. I didn’t give World Book Day much thought so sent them in their own clothes telling them to say they were either George from George’s Marvellous Medicine (I helpfully supplied a medicine spoon as a prop) or Danny the Champion of the World. It helped that my brother had bought us the complete works of Roald Dahl that year. We rocked up at school, the other kids had gone to quite considerable costuming efforts and as I dropped the boys off I told them it would be fine, they were cool kids and at least their Star Wars jumpers were bang on trend. Turns out, Star Wars wouldn’t be out for another 2 years after Danny the Champion of the World was published. Ooops. It was not fine. The boys came home upset, the other kids had laughed at them for wearing normal clothes and I felt like the most terrible mum on the planet.
Enter my partner. He is into costuming in a big way. His full Jedi outfit, complete with light up, sound effects lightsaber is just one of a multitude of costumes and he can pretty much turn his hand to creating any costume. You think the boys would be relieved to have someone so competent on hand but, sadly it turns out it’s not so cool when it’s your step-dad. Regardless, the boys costume responsibilities were immediately handed over to him and I just take the pictures of them dressed up for school on the day.
One of the costumes my elder son has inherited from my partner is a Jedi cloak (retired from my partner’s own stash when he got a better one). This cloak has been amazing. In an unassuming brown it has been used for school assemblies, halloween and most recently, the school nativity.
Admittedly we all dropped the ball around last year’s nativity. We had a brand new baby, the dynamics of adding another sibling to our brood, work was going crazy and it seemed that there was always someplace one of us needed to be at any one time. Couple this with my younger son’s ability to leave every single letter from school, at school so we never quite knew what we needed and when. Luckily for me one of the other parents in his class is a TA and had a costume he could wear. Perfect. Ok it means we didn’t see the costume or him in it before the day and my Mum and I spent the entire performance trying to work out which sheep from the cluster of children he was, but at least he fitted in and it required 0 costume making skills on my part.
Things didn’t run as smoothly for my older son. Turns out that as well as a shepherd’s outfit (where the hell do you get one of those?) He needed a staff. This information was shared with me at 8pm the night before the dress rehearsal. A very stressed phone-call to my technical wizard, Stu (this is so far out of the job description) and he managed to procure a staff used by one of the elders from the pop up nativity at our church. It’s probably important that you know the elder who had used it is 6ft. I hurried the staff to school and didn’t think much more of it.
We get to school, the lights dim, children come on (still can’t work out which sheep the little one is) and I spot my son wearing his school trousers, a t-shirt, tea towel on his head, secured with a Harry Potter tie (from the one World Book Day costume I got right courtesy of borrowing a Harry Potter outfit from my godson), all encompassed with the trusty Jedi cape. I noticed he didn’t have his shepherd’s staff and the other kids had theirs. As his speaking part/song came up there was a bit of bustle and movement from the staff and to mine and my son’s mortification his borrowed staff was so huge that it was deemed unsafe to be on stage for the entire production and instead was brought on and off stage by my son’s teacher.
After the production was over I was chatting to my son saying how great it was and happened to comment on the other childrens’ costumes ending with ‘where on earth did their parents get a shepherd’s costume from?’ My son looked at me witheringly and announced ‘They bought it. You know, from a shop.’ That was me told.
So this year I am vowing to up my game. My son only has 2 World Book Days left before senior school beckons. Will the Jedi cape last that long? Heavens knows what will happen when he outgrows it (other than it going to his younger brother who will promptly lose it). I don’t know who will be more relieved when dressing up for school events will finally be over. Me or my son?