Image: Flickr/CarmeloAquilina
I am 35. I have a mortgage, a car, a job (sort of) and
various responsibilities. When I leave the house I carry a brown satchel that
contains keys, wallet, phone and usually one or two slightly squashed packets
of raisins for bribery purposes.

Flea, on the other hand, is 4. She has no responsibilities.
Yet when she leaves the house in the morning she needs a book bag, reading
folder, two snacks, full PE kit, an assortment of key-rings, 20p for the
inevitable cake sale/poppy sale/random yellow flower sale. Then of course there
are the permission slips, RSVPs to the ladies’ lunches, absence slips and order
forms for school photos. It’s endless.

Despite this, some bright spark decided it would be a
fabulous idea to introduce the concept of SPECIAL BOX DAY.

Yes, friends, special box day. This ridiculous completely meaningful
and not at all annoying project involves your child coming home every couple of
weeks with a shoe box decorated with foil and sequins, and instructions to put
something ‘special’ inside, which your child will take to school and talk about
with the rest of the class.

This week it was Flea’s turn to bring home her special box.
Being the great planners we are, we remembered this the following morning when
we got into the car to drive to school, and the special box was still sitting
on Flea’s car seat. I suggested she could put in some raisins and just bluff her
way through, but Flea wasn’t having any of it. No, we needed something SPECIAL.

I suggested a key-ring we bought while in France. Not special enough. The new Horrid Henry book was also declined, along with her new toy car, the leaflet from our latest visit to the Wildlife Park, and the smoothie bottle that Flea designed when we visited the Innocent head office last month.

"Charlie brought sushi that he made with his Mummy." 

Great. "Well, what do you suggest, then?" I asked.

Flea suggested her new Power Rangers bicycle. I pointed out
we might struggle to put it in the shoe box.

She then suggested her new boys’ Superhero underpants. I agreed
that these are certainly very special, and then I lied and said they were all in the wash. 

Eventually, we agreed that Flea would take a rock from her
rock bucket – this is a collection that Flea has built from every beach we’ve
ever visited. They sit in a bucket in the utility room and sometimes Flea likes
to take them all out, and put them back in again. It’s a kid thing, I think.

So I turned off the car, sprinted into the house,
grabbed a rock, put it in the special box, picked up the sequins that had
fallen off the wretched box, ran back to the car, started the engine and set
off for shool.

“Mummy,” came a little voice. “It’s not the right rock. This
one isn’t the special one.”

I hate special box day.