So this weekend Barnaby Bear came to stay. The class teddy. I don’t know who decided it was a good idea we look after him. When we had the nursery one, we lost it. But anyway. Welcome to hell, Barnaby.
If you’ve never entertained the school or nursery teddy/rabbit/monkey and don’t know what the heck I’m on about, don’t read any further. Ignorance is your only friend right now.
Basically, you get given a rather worn stuffed toy (usually a teddy) who’s done the rounds and you’re entrusted with him for the whole weekend. If you really luck out, you might get him for the school holidays. In which case, you probably want to accidentally leave him on your child’s peg. I’m just saying.
You then take pictures of your kid and the teddy having fun together. And they write about all the amazing things they’ve done together. If you have crap weekends like us, this is where you’ll come unstuck.
The point of this exercise is apparently to develop your child’s story-telling and communication skills. (Mmmmm. If that were really the point, they’d just ask them to make up a story, right?)
No. The real point of this exercise is so that the teachers can see who has the most interesting weekends, other parents can see who’s worth hanging out with (country pad anyone?) and you have to spend the whole weekend in hell, without Netflix, because just what if Barnaby Bear is a plant and your every move is being watched?
Oh. And one more thing to note. If you have a child who is a) always late b) obnoxious or c) always asking irritating questions, watch out.
Because you’re getting the 6 week summer break.
Welcome to hell, Barnaby.
When I saw Beaver clutching a rather large rucksack on Friday afternoon, I thought she’d been up to her kleptomania tricks again.
‘Whose rucksack is that?’ I asked.
‘It’s mine. We’ve got Barnaby Bear for the weekend!’
At this point, Beaver did a little dance (I’m sorry I can’t show you it). Whilst I looked in my bag to see if I had any gin in a cans handy.
Because it was clearly going to be a gin in a can kind of weekend.
Once we got home, Beaver and Godivy fought over who held him. (At this point, I was just hoping his arms were securely stitched on. Because A&E on a Friday night? Chaos.)
Click click goes the camera!
Whilst I unpacked Barnaby’s bag. Yes people, he came with a weekend bag and several changes of clothes. WTF? I barely have time to dress my kids. Now I’ve also got to factor in a tantruming teddy who can’t decide whether he wants to wear his navy shorts or his khaki ones?
Oh. And he also brought his surfboard.
‘Why do you think he has a surfboard?’ I asked Daddy Pig later that night.
‘Perhaps it’s a test. Perhaps we’re supposed to take him surfing. Can you check the diary and see if anyone else has taken him surfing?’
As I thought. Not a picture of a surfboard in sight. IT’S A TEST.
‘Right, we’re going to have to go surfing tomorrow. Where do people surf? Cornwall?’
‘What about the lido?’
Oh yes. The lido.
Good call, Daddy Pig. Good call.
Teddy? What teddy?
We didn’t go surfing on Saturday. Surprisingly. But Daddy Pig, Beaver and Godivy did go swimming.
Not with Barnaby, though. No, he lay forgotten on the kitchen floor. Next to a slightly wet, slightly sticky pile of Weetabix.
Ooh quick! Let me grab the camera and take a picture of that!
When they got back, I called them on it.
‘Hey! You forgot Barnaby!’
‘Who’s Barnaby?’ said Godivy.
Complete, blank look from Beaver.
‘BARNABY? THE CLASS TEDDY?’
‘Oh. THAT Barnaby.’
One treat after another.
For the rest of the weekend, Barnaby enjoyed the following delights:
1. Watching us put our shoes on (at this point I sensed Barnaby getting a bit frustrated, because not only did he know where his shoes were, but he was also able to put them on without being asked 47 times. ON HIS OWN.)
2. Watching us get in and out of the car (we never actually go anywhere because once we’ve all got in the car it’s either time to come home or we’ve forgotten where on earth we were going)
3. Watching Daddy Pig and I parent inconsistently and dish out empty threats. ‘If you say that again, you’re not having a lolly,’ (says it again. 3 minutes later gets a lolly). I tell you. If teddies could talk…
One final tip.
Naturally, I won’t be declaring ANY of this in the diary. No siree.
The weekend Barnaby came to stay with us? We had an AWESOME time. Surfing in Cornwall. Before people-watching in St. Tropez. And a trip up the Eiffel Tower.
Which brings me onto my final tip.