Thursday, 26 March 2009


It's the last day of term before the start of the holidays for Boy #1 tomorrow. Correction; it's the last day of term before the start of the EASTER holidays. Why would the festival be important, you ask? Well, leaving aside any religious connotations (though of all the holidays Easter is probably the one where you can least do that, now I come to think of it), the festival is important to Boy #1 because tomorrow is The Parade. The Big Parade.

The Easter Bonnet Parade, to be precise.

Cue 'The Archers' theme tune as you imagine 150 children parading round a school playground in decorated hats of various shapes and sizes. Or is it just me that happens to?

A couple of weeks back Boy #1 arrived home with written instructions - from the headmistress, no less - that the children were all to make their own bonnet so they could participate in this august event.

The letter took me back to when my primary school held a similar event, around 36 years ago; I recall my mother found an old hat of hers, stuck lots of crepe flowers on it, and sent me in to school in it. Job done. I didn't win, of course. (What, you didn't know this was a competitive event? Come on! Get with the program!) No, I lost out to Tina Smith who had some kind of Little Bo Peep creation sent over by family in America. The cheat.

In any case, I have to admit that when I read the letter my heart sank. I foresaw hours of trying to create the perfect bonnet (my boy is nothing if not competitive), only to be beaten hands-down by offerings from other 'more Chelsea' families who got their nanny, the cook, the bottle-washer and the driver to create something in their spare time. (See this post for how easy it is to be outclassed by those who simply throw money at a problem. Who would have thought a child of 4 could create their own Fortnum and Mason look-a-like hamper for the Harvest Festival and do such a convincing job of it that they won the prize for the best decorated offering? Bitter? Me?)

But then I reread the letter. 'The children are all to make their own bonnet' it read. Hurrah! The head of school is no slouch. She will recognise the handiwork of eager 5 year old hands, I thought. At last, the opportunity to rise above my baser instincts and let the best child win. In brief, I decided to 'step away from the bonnet' and let Boy #1 make of it what he would.

With just a little direction from me, of course.

We're - sorry, he's - going to win. I can just feel it...


  1. Oh dread. You've just reminded me that the Easter Hat parade is, no doubt, around the corner for Ms 10. Yes, my dear, you may well be enthusiastic now, but how will you be another few years down the track?!

    This will be my second last year of the Easter Hat parade, EVA, oh hallelujah. Let me see, it must be my 12th year of Easter Hat parades, and to say my enthusiasm has waned over the years would be an understatement. Poor #3.. I've been palming her off to her creative elder sisters for a few years now.

    The worst part about it (apart from sitting through 300 kids parading around a school quadrangle, class by class) is what to do with the wretched creation afterwards. What is the use-by date after which you can toss it?

    [I don't think I ever got over the Easter I was trying to help all three (ranging from kindy to Yr 6 at the time) prepare their hats, while suffering from bronchitis that was verging on pneumonia (and a husband who was working ridiculous hours...)]

  2. I've just made ... sorry... MY SON has just made a barracuda, out of a cardboard tube, cotton wool and duct tape. It wasn't a competition, thank goodness. Otherwise I fear the jelly fish made out of a lampshade, or the giant squid made out of an old cusion, or the sea horse made out of aluminium foil, might have won.

    I'm going all competitive here - my son's barracuda versus your son's bonnet.

  3. I live in hope that, come the big event, I will return to your blog to see photos of a potty-based bonnet. Oh go on.

  4. It's a shame that everything is made into a competition and who really believes that some adults aren't going to lend a big helping hand?

    My kids grew up in the States and everything there too was very competitive. It was tough if you were just an ordinary kid with no outstanding qualities who just tried to get through school. That's why I'm very cynical about the Easter Bonnet Parade competition.

  5. In our non-denominational school we don't do Easter, but we've just had the Science Fair. That's where the real cheats come out. One child carried in a seven foot papier mache mammoth tusk. There's no way on earth he could ever, ever have done that by himself. Do these parents think we're all stupid? Are or they going by the "end justifies the means" approach. It's not even a competition fer crying out loud.

  6. Who's taking the bets then? I have a mental image of George Cole in his St Trinian's role lurking outside the school . . . Good luck though, Boy No 1's creation is sure to be a winner. Thinking ahead, you might need more than good luck when it's Boy No 2's turn given his reluctance on the whole dressing up thing.

  7. Chris recently made Rosemary a robot costume. For fun. I do not have the creativity (weirdly, because I'm creative in lots of other ways) to do something like that. (There was a box that had been pulled apart and instead of just throwing it out the back with the bins, he envisaged it covered in tin foil and with elastic added and all sorts of astonishing things like that.)

    I am so relieved that there will be someone else to deal with all the costumes and projects that she will have to do through her primary life. I will look forward to sitting down and helping with the maths and the spelling instead!

  8. Now im going to sound big headed BUT we won our Easter Hat competition with a fetching black number- i'll post a picture on my blog- hurrah!!!

  9. Yes, maybe you won, but who made it?

  10. We don't have that over here, but what a blast it would be if we did. Maybe some schools do have it, but not where I live -- in the middle of the country -- where they just eat candy and talk about bunnies. We'd all like to see it!


Go on - you know you want to...