Apparently, there's a Bavarian motto, "Smiles waste muscles". Up in North Germany, we thankfully live to the chimes of a slightly jollier bell. Despite customary opinion, I don't concur with the general consensus that Germans are lacking in the fun department, it's just, well, organised fun.
February was the month for "Fasching". The translation for this rather alarming sounding word is "Carnival" but it's also used for the somewhat tamer "fancy dress". It's an annual festivity, the commendable intention being to scare away Winter and welcome in Spring. As I struggled though mountains of snow in arctic conditions, to bring my little carnival queen to Kindergarten however, I figured Spring had decided upon a lie in this year.
On the face of it, it's all rather charming of course, dressy up day for the small people. And, by the way, as far as I'm concerned it should be legally restricted to the under-tens. The thought of adult fancy dress parties brings me out in hives (bah humbug). The point is, what do they achieve? Well, I'm here to tell you. They reduce mothers like me, who have cause to wonder whether God was having a Senior Moment when He was handing out motherhood skills, to a self-deprecating mess.
Whilst considering more accomplished mums running up self-made little numbers on their Singers, probably simultaneously breastfeeding twins and keeping an eye on the NASDAQ, I was weighing up the chances of Finje considerately contracting some highly contagious disease on the day in question. I can't sow damn it! My last attempt involved me sticking a collar together with blue tack in a school needlework exam. And then ironing it.
Saving Grace came, as it has on many an occasion, from the second-hand shop in the neighbouring village. Thanking my lucky stars that my daughter has, to date, demonstrated not a whit of interest in princesses or fairies, I picked up the one and only fancy dress costume in the place. A Red Indian. Bit of a headband and feather combo and Bob's your uncle. She was happy with it and I could breathe again.
After the Big Day, Finje was interrogated. "So how was it? Did you have fun? What did everyone else wear?" An apathetic shrug of the shoulders and, "Nina's cat has had kittens, can I go and see them?"
You just can't force fun on children even if it is the season for it!
So am I the only Grumpy Old Mum?
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