Do I have any people in my audience who work for the Department of Education?? No need to out yourselves, especially after the rant I'm about to go on, but can this be passed on to the higher ups somewhere pretty please? I'm asking, no I'm begging you guys to stop organising dress up days at schools and kindergartens.
For anyone out there who thinks I'm just being a grinch right now, clearly you have never had the panic of being told THREE DAYS before a dress up event that your child is required to come to school/kindergarten this week dressed up as something from some random theme that there is no way in hell you have anything that relates to in your dress up box. Admittedly our dress up box is one fairy dress because Miss K really isn't into dressing up much, and she rarely wears the one costume she does own. She's just as happy putting on a pair of my shoes and pretending to be me. But when the theme of your dress up day is "Australian" it is difficult to put a national spin on a fairy dress. Short of teaming it with a pair of thongs (flip flops Americans, I know.) and a bottle of VB beer and going as a bogan fairy, I really struggled to come up with an idea. (For any non-Australians who don't know what a bogan is, please feel free to Google it.)
For any of you who aren't from Australia, you definitely have no idea what the heck I'm panicking about, so allow me to fill you in. Here in Australia we are about to celebrate book week starting on 20th August. I know this is about three months after you guys do, but we're always about a step behind so it's all good. This year the theme was Australian books/illustrators. I'm all for highlighting the local talent we have around here, especially for authors whose works I have enjoyed in the past like John Marsden, Paul Jennings, Andy Griffiths, and the wonderful Melina Mallos whose latest book I reviewed a few months ago. So for me that part was a big plus. The giant steaming bag of poop however was that I didn't find out until Monday of this week that we had to dress up on Thursday, and it had to fit the theme of book week. If I was any more fiscal than I actually am this wouldn't be a problem, I could just run down to the local shopping centre and find a costume. However given it is currently my off pay week, and any money I do have I've selfishly decided needs to be spent on food, this was not an option.
Luckily for me, this isn't my first rodeo. I have been given minimal notice of special occasions more than once by our kindergarten, despite the fact that we have a Facebook page and they have our email addresses so they can send out newsletters, so I know what it means to rush around like a headless chicken just so my child isn't left out of the fun. First I had to Google Australian children's books for inspiration and discovered to my joy that two of my favourite kids books are actually by Australians, Where is the Green Sheep and The Very Cranky Bear. My first thought was she could go as the green sheep, and just stay home and have a nap. (For any of you who haven't read Where is the Green Sheep and do not get my reference, please go out and find yourself a copy, it is a great book for kids, and it is so easy to read Miss K reads it to me nowadays.) But in the end I decided that would be too mean so we decided to dress Miss K up as the very cranky bear. I was able to do this with thanks to an empty egg carton, an old headband I had lying around and some icy pole sticks and toothpicks. It wasn't pretty by any means, and if Martha Stewart was grading me I'd get a C for effort and an F for enthusiasm. There is photographic evidence, just because this will look excellent on her photo board at her 21st, but that doesn't mean I can't share it now with you guys. I call this photos "This is what happens when you give me 3 days notice."
That's her best cranky bear face. Either that or she's impersonating the hunchback of Notre Dame, I really can't tell.
Of course you look at the grin on her face in that picture and you realise she loves her costume, so I guess I can call it a win. What that photo does not show is the fact that one minute after the picture was taken the headpiece broke, so she ended up going to kindergarten with a bear nose. So my C for effort changed to an F.
The kindergarten very kindly told us that we didn't have to follow the theme if it was too hard. The only problem is they did it on Wednesday night after I had already spent an hour making this thing and I had no other alternative anyway so we went with cranky bear followed closely by her stressed and very cranky mum. I like to team with the theme you know. (Hats off to any Kath and Kim fans who read that in Kath's voice just now.)
So this is why I'm begging the powers that be to please stop making dress up days a part of the curriculum. You probably think you're doing something nice for the kids, breaking up the monotony that is learning, and giving them fun memories to carry on into their adulthood. What you don't see is the stressed out parents behind the scenes madly trying to figure out how to turn an old beer box and three empty tin cans into a cowboy outfit. We put enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect parents without you guys adding to that pressure by increasing our workload with all of these "fun" extra activities.
Well that's all from me for now, there will definitely be more insanity to come soon, as I have so many more reasons to pull my hair out right now I'll be as bald as Bruce Willis before you know it. Is anyone interested in doing a reboot of GI Jane anytime soon because I'm sure I'll be a shoe-in for the lead. You'll even get my best crazy eyed stare for free.