A self pitying rant about homework, baking and fancy dress.

Now let me start by saying I love the school my younger children attend. This rant is in no way meant to cast aspersions on the very lovely and hard working staff there. It's just, fundamentally, I am a bit lazy.

I am hoping that when you read on you may nod in agreement. Or even let out a noise of acknowledgment. I accept that some of you might wonder what on earth I am moaning about as this homework may sound to you like a real jolly jape.

In mitigation may I point out I have seven children and have been traipsing up and down this particular school drive lugging volcano models, home-made games, wheeled chariots (wheels must work) and a variety of other homework projects for almost 18 years continuously. Yep. I am a bitter old woman.

So what is this week's homework? (or home learning task to give it the formal title.)

Well thanks to the Queen piling yet more candles on her birthday cake we are having a bit of a do at school. So the first part of the homework (I'm staying old skool on the title) means I have to sort out costumes of a regal nature for one girl and two boys.

Model of the Queen - available from Asda

Notice I say I have to sort out. If I leave it to the children I will have one inevitably attending as Pikachu. Again. Then there will be one wearing his not at all Royal onesie and another in her fashion finest.

The note home suggests the children dress as a King, Queen, Prince, Princess or foot guard. Which I presume is the new PC term for footman.

Bring on the paranoia. If I send a child as a foot guard will they be looked down on by those donning higher ranking garb?  Argh!

I foresee many Disney princesses and a host of Burger King crowns. Actually no, it's a bit yoghurt weavery round here - no-one really wants to admit they take their child to a fast food joint, particularly in front of the teachers.

McDonalds meal signature collection

Here's my standard statement when child takes Happy Meal toy into school outing me as fast food mum:"Yes we go to McDonalds but they often (never) choose fruit bags and orange juice. They prefer organic locally sourced tofu wrapped in cabbage leaves as a snack."

I digress.

The day gets worse (for me anyway - it sounds perfectly lovely for the children.)

The note home states "There will be a home learning task of decorating a cake or cupcakes to enter into a competition."


So not only will I be scrabbling around assembling costumes but I will have to supervise cake decorating for three over excited children on a mid-week evening. Do the teachers hate me?

Do I cheat and buy ready made cakes risking scorn and sad head-shakes from playground onlookers? Do I attempt to pass off a commercial mix with a few hundreds and thousands on as homemade? Or do I actually bake?

Yes I know - cooking with your children can be a joyful, bonding, happy learning experience, making memories along with cakes. But let me let you in on a secret. I HATE it. I am a complete control freak in the kitchen (and elsewhere some might say) and I can't bear to watch the slow, messy process unfold.

I let them put cases into the tin and set the timer. I might let them have a quick mix. And they can decorate them but the actual cake making? 5 mins solo work vs an hour of kid baking. No brainer, especially on a Wednesday evening.

My friend Claire is brilliant at cooking with children so I usually take my children to her house and drink coffee while she immerses herself surrounded by chattering children covered in flour, baking, happy as Larry. Whoever he is.

But even she might balk at a Wednesday evening session with extra children. Actually I wonder if she's realised all this needs to happen on the same evening as her daughter's birthday party. Maybe she can incorporate the baking/decorating task into the party fun.....?

Disclaimer: before anyone trolls me over my unfit parenting I'd like to point out that this is a light-hearted post meant to be entertaining and does not in fact represent my actual attitude in actual real life. Much.