Rockstar: Mum. Are you helping me out in school today?
Me: <satisfactorily> Yes. (First day of school after the Easter hols, who knew I really did have a volunteer session coming up and could say that. Rockstar asks quite often, and usually he gets a No, Mums take turns and it’s not my day today.)
Rockstar: <solemnly> Then I’ll be on my best behavior. (Because I told him if my presence appears to bring out the worst in him I might not be allowed back, or else I might get sent to help out on the Year 2 floor. Blasphemy! How come Mum gets to the Kindergarten 2 floor before he does! The Rockstar will have none of it! He shall BEHAVE.)
So I’m back at the cutting station today and we have various straight or patterned child-friendly scissors, a basket of different kinds of paper scraps, tape and glue, and then also a stack of paper flags printed on paper flyers. Lifesaver.
I am solemnly advised my forehead is not an attractive place for the Swedish flag. One little girl suggests my sleeve. But the general consensus is flags go on scrap paper. And then the fun starts.
“—’s not sharing.”
Crap. Not again. <Casually> “Well that’s because she hasn’t finished. She’ll hand it over when she’s done with it because this is the cool table and us cool people all share.”
Moments later the little stick of glue is forked over. “See? Told you she’ll hand it over when she’s done with it because she’s cool.” (But inside I’m OMG. That Really Worked? Yippee! Dance a little jig! Don’t forget to pretend you expected that!)
Everyone’s cutting little flags and there aren’t enough straight scissors to go around. Hmm. “You can have mine. Oh hey – you guys have scissors that cut jagged edges and wavy lines? I never had these at my school.”
“I want one.” Ta-ra Ta-raa.
(My cellphone’s ringing on silent. Hah! I remembered to switch to silent! No cellphones on the kiddie floors! A-star for attentiveness on our first day back! I am a good motherrr!)
Rockstar pipes up, “Me too!” Really?
(Cellphone stops. Probably a booker for SNL. Move over Seth Meyers, Rockstar’s mummy wants your job.)
And then the first batch of kids start showing off their handiwork. Flags stuck haphazardly on pieces of scrap paper. “These could be armbands.” “Totally this season’s headband.” “And, this one. <authoritatively> I think there’s a piece of art in a United Nations office somewhere that looks just like that. They might be calling you to buy that.”
Am I on drugs?
“How come the United Nations office has flags?”
“Because United Nations offices have visitors from many different countries. Different countries have different flags. Putting different flags up like this <indicating her art piece> makes the visitors feel welcome.”
(Please, please tell me I didn’t just fill someone’s child’s head with bull. But that really is the kind of answer I would’ve given the Rockstar <crossed fingers>)
And then we discover a stack of paper at the bottom of the basket with shirts and trousers printed on them. Some of the kids have started coloring the clothes and decorating them with flags. “That looks like something Alexander McQueen might come up with. He’s a famous fashion designer.”
PLEASE don’t let anyone pursue that further in case I somehow blurt out, “He famously had a collection titled ‘Highland Rape,’ recreated the dance adaptation of ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ for his 2004 ready-to-wear collection and then hung himself 9 days after his mummy died.”
“I’m really good at coloring.”
“So am I.”
And so it goes, til the end of playtime and some of us volunteers beat a laughing retreat off the floor, exchanging relieved chatter, agreeing the sessions are so enjoyable, but so exhausting. We really need to stash candy bars in our bags for next time. (Oh the joys, before our kids can read this. “Mum. I thought you don’t eat candy.”)
And so, more flags you can wear…
Because only the boring are bored.