I’ve been full of good intentions this week.
After a month of borderline neglect of my child due to Big Work Stuff happening, I have dedicated myself to the art of of better parenting.
I’ve cooked dinner more often than I’ve ordered it in, and we’re making an extra effort on things like getting to the beach, going swimming and playing at home. I even remembered that Flea’s school had a Book Fair after school yesterday, and she needed to take in £3 today to pay for her book. See? That’s top parenting, right there.
But fundamentally, it seems, I’m doomed to a lifetime of passable parenting.
We were in the supermarket last night so I could buy sausages to cook dinner (excellent parenting) when Flea announced at the checkout, “It’s book day tomorrow, I need to go as a character from a book.”
“First I’ve heard of it!” (bad parenting).
“There was a note in my bag,” said Flea.
“Why would I look in your bag?” (bad parenting)
Or so I thought until around 8am this morning when I opened my eyes to see a tearful Flea wearing an rather old and small Harry Potter costume that we picked up for a few quid when she was in pre-school. Her eyes had that I-am-totally-going-to-cry-in-five-seconds look.
“Where are your robes?”
“I don’t kno0-o–o-o-o-o-ow…” she wailed.
“Okay, don’t panic. I’m getting up and we’ll find them together.”
So I got out of bed (excellent parenting) and together with Flea, scoured the whole house for the missing robes. They were nowhere to be found (bad parenting).
I tried to use this as a teachable moment about putting things back where they come from, so you can find them later but then Flea fell over and she couldn’t really hear my parental wisdom over her wails of, “My knee REALLY hurts!”
Luckily the dressing up box did turn up a stripy Harry Potter t-shirt we’d bought in Florida, together with a Gryffindor scarf, and a broomstick. It was a close call, we almost had to go with the age 4-5 Buzz Lightyear costume.
“There’s an author visit, too!” said Flea, happily, injured knee forgotten.
Flea’s school regularly invites authors in to talk to the kids, which is fab – but it’s a meaner parent than me who has the heart to say no, Flea can’t buy a signed book from the author. So Flea needed another £9 to pay for the book. So I started rifling through drawers again, trying to find £9 in loose change. Seriously, £9?? “They couldn’t invite a cheaper book author?” I grumbled.
Anyway, finding nine quid takes a lot longer than you might think. And then it turned out I wasn’t done, because every child has to pay £1 to school for the privilege of going to school in costume. By this point, Flea was so weighed down with 20p coins, I had to find a Ziploc bag to put all the loose change so Flea wouldn’t lose it.
Seriously, when did Book Day get so expensive? There’s only so much change I can find down the back of the sofa with zero notice.
I hustled Flea into the car and we got to school only a few minutes late. Flea went in quite happily and I drove home, and sat down, congratulating myself on another day of passable parenting.
Then I saw this Tweet.
At school harvest festival. Main aim not to shame self and child by weeping uncontrollably. Intro music is the onedin line. not helping.
— Gemma (@helloitsgemma) October 4, 2013
Not only is it book day it’s Harvest Festival. And my child will doubtless be the only one without ANYTHING to donate.
I’ve decided it’s a conspiracy. Even when you think you’ve got it all covered, schools conspire to ensure there’s always something to be forgotten. I’m blaming all my bad parenting on them. Who’s with me?