World Book Day – aka mummy’s nervous breakdown
Okay, I started this whole World Book Day (WBD) thing with a measure of reluctant enthusiasm. I love books and I love reading and, while I’m desperate to foster that love in DD and DS, I don’t truly feel a costume is necessary.
Far better, in my mind, to take in their favourite book and prepare a two-minute talk about why they like it. But I’m not a teacher so what would I know.
Anyway, as the days have passed, I’m now viewing WBD with about as much enthusiasm as I would an invitation to a cockroach convention. In my bathroom.
Since jettisoning the idea of the nylon Dorothy costume five days ago, we’ve been through Lola (too young), Daisy from the Kes Gray books (this is actually DD’s favourite character), Horrid Henry (she was worried she’d be laughed at for going as a boy), Little Red Riding Hood, the Sleepover girls (she doesn’t want to wear pyjamas), Pippi Longstocking (she’s never read it), Milly Molly Mandy (I haven’t found a red-and-white stripy dress and she hasn’t read it) and Darrell from Malory Towers.
So the entire family spent Saturday afternoon trawling Outlet Mall for a Daisy outfit. The orange t-shirt was easy enough, but nowhere I looked had pink dungarees, at least for a child over the age of 12 months. In desperation, I bought a sparkly red skirt and a pair of red sparkly shoes and said she could add a white t-shirt and a red cardigan and go as Little Red Riding Hood. I’d even make her some little cupcakes to put in her basket.
Hallelujah – all settled, I poured a glass of wine and put my feet up.
“Mummeee?” came the whiny voice the next day. “I don’t want to go as Little Red Riding Hood. She actually wears a blue dress and a red coat with a hood and I don’t have either of those…”
Then came the Horrid Henry hour, quickly followed by Darrell from Malory Towers. While in my day Darrell (my childhood heroine!) wore a brown school frock and cream blouse, the new 21st century Darrell wears a white shirt and red tie and, presumably, a grey or navy school skirt.
Easy, I thought.
But no. Today – on a beautiful sunny afternoon of 25˚C when my children should have been playing out in the fresh air – I learned that nowhere in Dubai can you buy plain school uniform. DD, DS and I trawled Mall of the Emirates looking for a ubiquitous white blouse and a plain grey school skirt. M&S, Debenhams, BHS, Next, Mothercare and, finally, Benetton.
Nada. Rien. Niets. Nothing.
“We only stock school uniform in September,” said the lady in M&S helpfully, “because we only carry seasonal clothes.” (Don’t other children go to school all year round?)
“Sold out,” said the lady in Debenhams.
“Huh-huh,” sniggered the lady in Benetton, as if I’d asked for clothes for my cat.
“Darling, we’re going to have to re-think Darrell,” I told DD as she wept quietly in the back of the car. “Little Red Riding Hood. Angelina Ballerina. Cinderella. Clarice Bean. Lola.”
“Darrell,” she said. “Or nothing.”
I’m beginning to think World Book Day spent reading a book on the sofa at home mightn’t be such a bad idea after all.