As a parent, you get called on at times in your life to be creative and artistic in a domestic setting. There’s no actual obligation, but we’ve all had those notices about bringing cakes to the school (or as my friend received this Christmas, a summons to provide a plate of “something healthy” arranged in a suitably festive shape, such as a Christmas tree or snowman). There are school plays, fancy dress parties, never mind basic arts and crafts activities.
I’m a sucker for domestic art. I don’t do it very often – and I am entirely comfortable with time saving alternatives – but I love an opportunity to do something creative for my kids, given a comfortable timeframe, a practical plan, and a little breathing space.
The most common demonstrations of my domestic art skills in this house are costuming, and the provision of birthday cakes. Nothing fancy – sure, I once produced a hand-sewn Cleopatra costume for an Asterix party which was worn for all of 3 minutes, but I’m just as likely to run out to the shop to find a lion mask at a moment’s notice (give me a month and ebay, and I can dress you as ANYTHING, my darling, but a week’s notice? Aargh!). I’ve even been known to dress my kids up for occasions other than costume parties – like, for instance, my book launches.
This year, we knew with at least six months notice that Raeli wanted a Doctor Who party, and that she wanted to go as a lady Silurian, and my Mum was totally okay with making that costume, as long as it was confirmed as wanted 2 months before the party. 2 months before the party, Raeli changed her mind, and wanted to be River Song instead. We called the party ‘aliens and earthlings’ so as not to alienate the non Doctor Who watchers who were invited, and sort of forgot about the costume.
Meanwhile, I had a plan for Jem’s costume for the same party, which would be a TARDIS dress. Having seen all the gorgeous ones out there, I plotted to remix a plain denim dress, got the makings, and got very excited when I learned about the advances that have been made in T-Shirt Transfer technology.
Somehow, with less than a fortnight to go, we had not organised Raeli’s costume. Her more recent plans to be young Melody Pond ran aground when we checked that episode, and the kid was basically wearing a dress and a cardigan, which can not be made to look like a proper costume. Alarm bells rang. She was sent off with a stack of Doctor Who magazines to figure out what she wanted to look like.
She came back with bright, starry eyes, and the request for an astronaut costume.