Monday, 15 June 2009

Things I Have Learned From My Children, part 1 of A Lot

People keep telling me that my daughter is extremely small, and yet I look up to her in lots of ways. She's full of surprises, and has embraced the move to Australia in a way that makes me wonder if we are actually related. Yesterday she got ready for (yet another) party - she knew exactly what she wanted to wear... pink and purple striped tights, white gypsy skirt, mauve top, pink beads and bunches. Done. Then she skipped around the house until it was time to go. This was in stark contrast to the way I'd got ready for a nursery school fundraiser event the day before, held at a local tennis club...

We hadn't bought tickets till the last minute, mainly because I was doing my usual pre-party panic routine - should we go? we should go, shouldn't we? but who will we talk to? what if I make a fool of myself? let's not go. but we should go . . . etc - and had given minimal serious thought to the fancy dress theme - A Touch Of Sport. (We'd had several non-serious thoughts about it, mainly involving whether or not I had the guts to go as a sweaty, belching, beer-swilling darts player...if you could see the dust on my Wii Fit board you'd know I definitely had the guts in one sense of the word.)

So the day of the party, I mentioned to The Australian that we should pop into a sports shop after breakfast and gather some tennis gear - sweatbands and so on. I was proud of the way I was playing it down at this point, but the jiggle in my leg as we became stuck in traffic - a mere 9 hours before the party - was a tell-tale sign.

I don't know what we were looking for, but the first sports shop didn't have it...nor did the second, or the third, or the fourth...or the tennis warehouse. By this time my blood pressure was on the dangerous side. What do you think? I kept saying to The Australian. What will other people be wearing? Do you think they'll all be in full sporting gear? We don't own any! Why aren't we more sporting? Then we wouldn't have to worry! Do you think sweatbands are a bit minimal? I know, let's not go! etc... But finally he grabbed some sweatbands and, with the children about to get restrung on the restringing machine, we abandoned shopping and headed for home.

My big mistake was googling "homemade tennis costume". Now I had a whole interweb-full of ideas, and visions of turning up in a pink and white sweatband (um, and some clothes) while everyone else had gone to great effort (see human-sized tennis ball above, from Coolest Homemade The Australian found some tennis balls in the shed so I set about making a tennis ball necklace. It took me about half an hour to cut into the ball, and another half hour to feed a piece of thread through it (which I'd stolen from the girl and de-beaded...said beads still rolling around bedroom floor two days later) and another half an hour trying to adjust the length of the thread so that the ball didn't look like a third breast.

I decided on a new tactic - find every single piece of sporting apparel in the house and put it all on at once to create slightly bonkers but very much in-the-spirit-of-fundraiser-fun outfit... We had swimming goggles, ski goggles, running shorts, running vest, wet suit, flippers, and of course the third-breast necklace - I spread it all out on the bed and told The Australian my new plan: wear everything. From a man who usually gives me a simple "You look fine" when I fret about my outfit, the look on his face was telling. He was clearly getting to the end of his tether about my pre-party panic. "So, just the sweatbands?" I said. He nodded, sternly.

Thank GOD. When we walked in, I thought we'd got the wrong party - the other guests had taken 'a touch' very literally - one guest had a pair of ski goggles shoved in her coat pocket, another had a golf tee pinned into her hair...can you imagine the cries of Crazy Pom had I gone with my 'wear everything' idea? I shudder to think. As it was, my outfit managed to look more tragic eighties than sporting, and several people asked if I was trying to evoke Olivia Newton John in her Physical video (nb. they were laughing as they said this).

It was a fun night in the end, but next time I'll be consulting my daughter - tiny she is in stature, but a giant in my eyes for her ability to embrace everything life has in store and get it so beautifully right.

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KatW said...

And there I was thinking you'd gone in a costume like the one in the photo!!

Yep our kids can be wise beyond their years. And in my 7 year old's case - very blunt & honest. Like recently when I showed her a new top: "well to be honest mum, you look a bit silly in that". But if I want an honest & considered opinion I can rely on her!

Kat :-)

Deborah Riccio said...

Hee! And there I was thinking that was YOU in the tennis ball outfit (thought it was a lemon til I read down, tho).
Don't they make your chest swell, these confident children we've grown?!

Fionnuala Kearney said...

This is SO me! Throw in the nauseous element of this happening overseas and I'd have been right there with you. Panicking, wearing everything. Thank God for the Australian eh? x

CarolineG said...

What a great story, Emily. Turning up in inappropriate fancy dress is one of those scenarios a person can have nightmares about, like being in the middle of the high street with no clothes on..

Ajit Chauhan said...

its nice one.