Today I have given up any pretence at all that I am some kind of Alpha Mummy, or that I can do this …
… and bought a ready-made costume for Freddie to wear in the school Christmas concert.
He is following in his brother’s footsteps, and playing a Wise Man/King. I am not the sort of mother whose children usually get given a part in the nativity, but as it happened, big brother H was the only child in his nursery class who could actually say ‘Frankincense’ that year (there’s a reason for the ‘Stoke Speaks Out scheme’). Big sister never got a part, because she went to Catholic school, and although we’re Catholic, we’re not Catholic enough (only three children,you see).
In respect of the fact that we were at least trying, she was once granted the opportunity to stand on the edge of the ‘stage’ as ‘dressing’ wearing a white plastic pedal-bin liner trimmed with tinsel and a pipe-cleaner on her head; if you were one of the poor sods who were among the small percentage of other faiths the schools were obliged to, you could only ever hope to sit cross-legged in the gritty dust at the edge of the hall, and join in with the songs.
Not that I got to see her ‘performance’. The front row of benches was, by tacit consent, the sole preserve of what I used to call ‘The Mum Mafia’. Every year I swore that the next year I would write ‘reserved’ on a bunch of Tena pads, sneak into the hall before anyone else hit there and staple them to front seats (because with upwards of six or seven children apiece continence probably wasn’t a virtue any of them possessed in any sense of the word). I did, however, have the privilege some years later, of being sat among a bunch of ‘Stage Coach’ parents at a County music competition the year my daughter’s school choir won. The looks on their faces when they realised that they’d paid all those fees for the best Performing Arts education, and their kids had lost to a volunteer High school choir who rehearsed in their lunch break; you could almost see the money draining out of their hands along with the colour from their faces.
Anyway, I digress.
By the time you’ve sourced some suitably ‘kingly’ material, plus bits of sparkly self-adhesive tat to jazz up a cardboard crown (which is totally wrong anyway, because everyone* knows the three kings were probably actually astronomers from the school at Babylon, tut!), you end up spending more than a ready-made one costs. And that’s without taking into account the stress of dragging out your old sewing machine, blowing off the dust to find you never replaced the needle you broke last time, then discovering that the lovely,shiny fabric you spent a fortune on is too slippery to machine-sew anyway. And then you end up spending so much time making it that by the time you’ve finished it, the little darling/bu***r has selfishly grown and it doesn’t fit.