Yesterday, 6th March 2014, was World Book Day, my daughter’s last at primary school. As usual, the school invited the children to dress up as book characters. In the past she has dressed as Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Mary Poppins and the Mad Hatter, amongst others while my son has been Noddy and Robin Hood. As a book lover, I love watching all the creations and trying to guess who people are.
At the grand old age of 10 years and 50 weeks, my daughter had decided at the beginning of the week that she was too old for this. By Tuesday, she was weakening and thinking about which character she could go as (when she moved into year 3, she announced “I don’t want to go as an animal character any more, Mummy. It’s too babyish.”) On Wednesday, she pronounced that she wanted to be a character from a book she had read herself. (Good thinking, I thought, but wasn’t sure we would be able to find a character that was obvious to everyone. Charlie Bucket, Matilda, The Suitcase Kid, The Famous Five all sprang to mind, but they are just children with no identifying costumes.)
So, on Wednesday afternoon, at the last minute as usual, we tried listing all the books she has read.
Jokingly, I said, “What about The Hungry Caterpillar?”
“Yes, Mum, I want to go as that.”
“But it’s an animal and you didn’t want to look silly when you were in year 3,” I exclaimed.
“But it’ll be funny,” came the reply. “I don’t mind if everyone laughs at me.”
Really? My shy little girl who is a bit of a wallfower?
So we spent most of Wednesday afternoon trying to fashion a costume from the only green material we could think of: two bathroom towels. We broke several safety pins as the towels were too heavy. As we were wondering how to go about this, my son said he wanted to be Fantastic Mr Fox (oh help!) He then realised he had his knight’s costume crocheted by Grandma, complete with left-handed shield, fashioned by Damps, and could go as King Arthur. Phew!
Back to the caterpillar: we joined the towels at the shoulders to form a tunic and then folded the towels in on themselves, stuffing them with pillows. It wasn’t the best costume but she didn’t mind – it was all for a laugh. Madam made some antennae using a headband and on Thursday morning, she walked into school, swaying as though she was 9 months pregnant and then paraded around the back field with Mrs Pepperpot, several Harry Potters, a few Where’s Wallys and a very brave year 6 boy as the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, wearing the granny’s nightie! Needless to say, the staff had gone to town too (I saw a dalek, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Noddy and two of the seven dwarfs, who looked like they’d eaten Snow White!)
The upshot of this is that my daughter, thanks to her wonderful school, the teaching staff who have built up her confidence over the last seven years and a lovely group of classmates, is not scared of looking silly and was prepared to do this primarily to make people laugh at her. I didn’t know she had it in her and I’m very proud. It feels as though she has come out of her cocoon and is ready to spread her butterfly wings into secondary school.