Mama Mayhem

Nightmare on Book Week

By Ivy Jensen

I MANAGED to survive another year of Book Week — among my most hated weeks of the year.
Ironically, not due to my obvious love for books, but my pure hatred for craft and sewing.
Yes, the struggle is real, people.
It starts with the all-too important decision on what character to dress up as. And then minds are changed every day, including mine when they come up with ideas like a munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ three days before the parade.
Fortunately this year, the girls’ stepmum and dad were in charge of Ayla’s costume and I would sort out Maya.
Which proved harder than I expected.
Weeks earlier, we agreed Maya would go as ‘Ella Kazoo Will Not Go to Sleep’.
Which consists of flannelette pyjamas, unbrushed hair, a teddy and a blanket. What better costume for someone with little time and even less patience. Essentially, Maya didn’t need even to dress herself when she woke up in the morning.
Anyhoo, a few days before the big day, Maya changes her mind and wants to be a bloody munchkin from The Wizard of Oz (thanks iDance for putting that idea in her head).
Endless complaints and wails had me to the point of sending her to school as Nudie Rudie with just the book to cover her private parts!
So we reached a compromise. We would take a trip to Kmart and see if we could find a costume (to those who frown upon store-bought costumes, you can stick your sewing machines where the sun don’t shine).
Sadly, Kmart, which always comes through with the goods, let me down. Their selection consisted of the same boring fairytale characters of old, in sizes 2-5. In the words of Rain Man, ‘Kmart sucks’.
To ensure the 1.5-hour round trip wasn’t a complete waste of time, I ransacked the aisles like a crazy Aldi bargain shopper, desperately seeking some kind of miracle. And then a small one appeared. Well a pair of miracles in fact — in the shape of fluffy pink unicorn ugg boots. Which were on special.
So Ella Kazoo, complete with cute pink slippers, became slightly more appealing for Maya. And I saved myself $10 and a late night making the world’s crappiest costume.
On the other side of the bridge, Ayla was happily parading around in her costume — which was bought online with plenty of time to spare.
And with this year being her last Book Week parade (high-fives all round), she certainly went out with a bang. Literally, because it came with a red balloon.
Can you guess? Yes, she went as Penny Wise from Stephen King’s horror novel ifItnf.
She was a frightening sight but my terror quickly turned to panic when I thought about what the teachers and students would make of her.
I was expecting a manic scene of screaming preps, judgey looks from teachers and a barrage of complaints from parents.
But apart from a few stares by the little ones, demands to ‘‘chase me!’’ from the braver little ones, a couple of whispers among the teachers and nods of approval from the older kids, it went off without a hitch.
As luck would have it, Ayla didn’t end up in isolation for the day along with a note in her bag recommending ‘a more appropriate costume next time’.
Good thing I didn’t send Maya as Nudie Rudie then.