Parents of preschool and above aged children will be aware of the practice of sending a class mascot home with each child in turn, so that they can take pictures of him (Her? It?) and themselves with a little write up about what they did together. A lovely idea to bring together the worlds of home and school and something a lot of children love to do.
When the boy was at preschool, I was pathetically eager to have the school bear home on a visit. A lot more eager than my ambivalent son, who could barely remember the bear's name. (Edward, in case you're interested.)
Unfortunately, my plans for exciting and artistic shots of Edward having the time of his life were scuppered when the bear came home on a Wednesday. Wednesday being the day that daddy collected the boy from preschool.
Thursday evening, around 6:30pm, as we get the children into their pyjamas, husband says in passing, "Oh, I think we're supposed to take that bear back tomorrow."
Husband, still unaware of his impending doom, continues, "You know, the bear they all take home. Edward, is it?"
Cue 45 minutes of me redressing the boy, dragging him outside with Edward bear (henceforth known as 'that bloody bear') to take photos of them bug hunting in the garden. Then, leaving husband to do bedtime (only the beginning of his penance), I quickly print the photos (lack of ink in the printer giving them a nice green tinge) and cut them out ready to stick in Edward's diary.
Thinking we may have got away with it, I open the book to be greeted with the previous entry. Four pages of meticulously written text which described how Edward has been to the fire station, ate out at a restaurant, had a ride on a motorbike . . . probably found time to scale Ben frickin Nevis. No wonder the poor sod looked bored out of his brains at our house.
Now the boy is in reception at big school and apparently there’s a new toy in town: Leo the bear has now commenced his home visits.
This time I am planning to tell the truth. Our entry into Leo's diary is likely to read something like this:
Leo watched TV for three hours with his friends W and S. He had chicken nuggets and chips for dinner. (No, make that homemade chicken goujons and potato wedges) He then ran around the house for an hour brandishing light sabers and making unfunny jokes about poo before mummy had a mini-breakdown and sent them all to bed. Leo was then stuffed unceremoniously back into William's bag after mummy had taken a picture of him which she could later superimpose onto pictures of really exciting places.
Because that's the kind of mother I am now. I don't need to impress anyone by pretending my weekends are full of exciting child-friendly activities that any bear would be lucky to be a part of. I am confident that I can show the world what our leisure time is really like. I will not be intimidated into competing with the adrenaline-fueled excitement which accompanies the visits of a small stuffed toy!
Yeah, who am I kidding? We're taking him to Hawaii.