Books on Parade*

26 August 2017

This week was Mr G's first school Book Week, and accompanying Book Week Parade. For years I've seen friends on social media bitch and moan about having to rig up Book Parade costumes in between working three jobs, worrying over the sorry state of the world and keeping up with the constant demands on parents' time made by schools utterly failing to prepare children for the real world by trying to make education "fun"**. There's also the potential hazards of becoming an inadvertent figure of national derision because your child insisted on a costume which ended up going viral for all the wrong reasons. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to finally be able to enter into this tense and unhappy atmosphere***. 

Admittedly, I didn't have to rig up a costume myself. That task fell to my ex husband and credit where it's due, he did a great job. I wouldn't have. A combination of clumsiness and sensory issues leaves me unable to sew and with a vicious inability to, and dislike of, crafting things, meaning any costume I made would have looked a bit worse than this:

But G's Goliath costume looked spiffing. Yes, he wanted to go as Goliath. Goliath, as in "David and", from the Bible. I explained to him that Goliath was 1. the bad guy and 2. swiftly slaughtered in a "hooray for the good guys" manner, but he still wanted to be the giant with the shield and sword. Luckily we were able to send him to school with a copy of The Bible for Minecrafters, where he got the story from. I'm not sure his ultra-lefty school could have coped with an actual, KJV type Bible.

Honestly, I didn't want him going to such a progressive school. I wanted him to attend a good Christian school, where he'd have something to rebel against. But such extravagance is out of the question on a student's budget and the local inner city public school it is. It's all harmony and respect and a pink-haired principal. The school noticeboard was looking for volunteer classroom workers; for a second I misread it as classroom wokers, and it seemed plausible that looking for assistants to help the kids get woke was something the school would be looking for. 

Anyway, the parade started with the youngest kids and went up through the grades. There was a noticeable declination in the effort put into, and quality of, costumes as the years progressed. The Kindergarteners, who started the parade off proudly lead out by my son, were all adorably, fully decked out. But as the kids got older, apart from ever popular (and easy to rig up) Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, there were more and more kids just in their uniforms; kids dressed in left over and ill fitting costumes of characters who only qualify as being "from your favourite book" if favourite books include shameless movie tie-ins; a Year Four student dressed as Daenerys Targaryen (and I really hope she hadn't read that book - though I could be worse I suppose, she could have been wearing a mask from Fifty Shades of Grey) and a white kid wearing a Rasta hat with fake dreads that made me fear we were going to go viral after all****.

Honestly I found the whole thing a lot more fun than I expected back when I grimly anticipated 13 years of school activities as a prospective parent, which is just as well because I quit drinking this year.

(I'm not ruling it out in future - I still have another 12 1/2 years ahead of me, including sitting through hours-long Christmas pageants to see G play the back half of a cow; bus trips to watch him sing "From a Distance" with his school choir; and God bless and save me, the recorder playing years. And that is before high school, where I get guilted into chaperoning the high school dance and get too nauseated from second hand bong smoke to drive home; being forced to attend awards ceremonies where he hasn't been awarded anything and is merely a prop assistant for the painful "comic relief" skit show which is neither comical nor a relief; and finally, getting to where he's old enough for me to stay home but I can't relax cause he's out with his gormless friends and their shiny new P plates*****).

The kids were cute, the atmosphere light, and best of all it was all over in twenty minutes and I could go home. A different parent may have been planning how they could outdo themselves with next year's costume; I was just hoping by next year, he'll be old enough for 1984, and I can convince him to go as one of the Proles.

* Yep.
** It isn't.
*** Not very. 
**** We didn't
***** I don't have a very optimistic view of my child's future. But I don't have a very optimistic view of anything else either, so I've made my peace with it. 


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