Having been a bit miffed when my son’s school was apparently the only one in Australia not to have a Book Week parade (I mean, come on, it’s a rite of passage, people! My son may not even be aware of it but I’ve been excited about it all year!), I was placated somewhat when he got a note saying that Kindergarten would be holding a little Fairy Tale dress up parade to accompany the work they’d been doing exploring the subject.
Then I remembered: my son hates dressing up. Always has. You know those kids you see skulking around Coles in a full Batman ensemble, including mask? Not mine. He’ll only ever dress up now under duress, still steadfastedly refuses to get face painted, heck, for a few years there he wouldn’t even get a stamp on his hand if he’d done something good. Sometimes I wonder if he really is a child.
Also, as far as Fairy Tales go, boys are a lot more limited than girls. Nonetheless, I had some great suggestions…
‘How about Pinocchio? We could stick a big nose on you!’ ‘No.’
‘What about Peter Pan? We could get some lovely green tights.’ ‘Yuk.’
‘How about a Big Bad Wolf? A Billy Goat Gruff? One of the Three Little Pigs? Baby Bear?’ ‘No, no, no, no.’
You get the gist. At one point I even said, ‘Well, how about you just wear normal clothes and I’ll just draw a little face on your thumb and you can be Tom Thumb?’ ‘I wouldn’t like that,’ he replied, infuriatingly.
The day of the parade drew ever closer and I was getting increasingly desperate, when I stumbled across a cute little cap that we had lying around. ‘Would you wear this?’ I asked. Miraculously, it passed muster. ‘Ok, if I make you a beanstalk, how about going as Jack and the Beanstalk?’ My son actually looked excited by the idea. Right, I thought. Oh crap, now how am I gonna make a beanstalk?
One trip to Spotlight later, and I felt (vaguely) prepared. I had a long strip of green material, a bag of toy stuffing, some hemming tape (because I don’t have a sewing machine and that seemed like a lot of handsewing), a strip of some leafy looking stuff, and some green pipe cleaners. (Yes, it was a rather pricey beanstalk, thanks for asking.) Then I just folded the strip lengthways and hemmed the edge shut (which didn’t work altogether effectively and required some reparation sewing halfway through). I then sewed up one end, turned it the right way out and stuffed it with the stuffing (a slender pole worked well to poke it all down, but was also the cause of my hemming splitting when a poke went awry). I then sewed up the bottom when it was stuffed to my satisfaction. Then I just stitched on the leaf stuff and poked in some curled up pipe cleaners in between the stitching. It really looked rather cool, if I do say myself.
I could have just left it there, but no. Inspired by some over-achieving mother’s handiwork on Pinterest, I decided we needed some clouds for the beanstalk to rise through. Fortunately I happened to have a bit of styrofoam with a hole in it just lying around the house (as you do), which I covered with some leftover toy stuffing. It looked great, but getting the damn stuff to stay on proved quite the ordeal. I never really did come up with an effective method, so by the time the parade actually happened, it had lost its shape a bit and was trailing bits of cloud wherever it went, but hey, I tried. ‘A’ for effort, me.
Aside from the cap, the rest of Jack’s outfit was meant to consist of some tartan shorts, a white Grandpa style shirt and some little green bits of felt that I’d stitched together and put over his school shoes. Of course, I hadn’t foreseen a tantrum on the morning of the parade when Mr Finicky refused to wear the gorgeous shirt that would have completed the outfit to perfection. ‘I’m not wearing that… that…. SUIT!’ he shrieked in horror.
No amount of threats, plays for sympathy or bribery would sway him, so in the end (because school was about to start and I had lost the strength to go on), he ended up wearing his pyjama top. Oh well, it kind of worked.
Not sure now whether I want there to be a Book Week parade next year or not…