Some chat on the internet and via facebook lands in your consciousness like a thunderbolt. What fresh hell is this? Haven’t you just spent a fortune on dressing up clothes for that day when they pretended to be Victorian children and the school said a long skirt would do but naturally the entire class came as the Artful Dodger and some (slightly dodgy looking) Victorian maids?
2. You decide if you pretend it isn’t happening, it isn’t happening, and strike the phrase ‘World Book Day’ from your vocabulary. No one is allowed to mention it in your presence.
3. There is an email from the school entitled ‘World Book Day.’ You pretend it’s got lost amongst the hundred thousand other emails they send on a daily basis, and remain in determined, blissful denial.
4. Your friend emails you in a panic because she’s read her email and has no idea what her children will go as. Reluctantly, you accept you can’t ignore it, or it will be like that non uniform day when your kids turned up in uniform and were the only ones and it scarred child 2 for life.
5. You discuss possible World Book Day costumes with your children, because you never learn. They are what you might term overly enthusiastic in their suggestions; child 2 says within the first ten seconds ‘Aslan, Mummy! I want to go as Aslan!’ You were previously charmed by her Narnia obsession; now you want to jump on C.S.Lewis’s grave and burn every copy of the book ever printed.
6. You suggest they might like to go as the same book characters as last year (Tom from Beast Quest and Mog, respectively, which cost roughly the same as a small country’s GDP and which they wore once) They are dismissive of such a stress, money, and time-saving idea.
7. Child 1 decides on Toothless from ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ You don’t like the idea of any kind of film/ TV link because, you know, you’re an English teacher and you feel that it really negates the whole point of World Book Day, but, well, you’re past caring. And he has read the books. You idly consider cobbling his outfit together, read some of those creative mothers’ blogs and Pinterest boards that always make you feel inadequate and look blankly at a make-your-own-Toothless-mask design that JUST MAKES NO SENSE.
8. You go on Amazon. Toothless is obviously a popular choice and comes up instantly in the search bar. The depth of your relief knows no bounds. No Toothless mask making for you.
9. Toothless costs £20. £20 for an outfit he’ll wear once! AND is a film and TV tie in.
10. You consult the husband. He is rarely helpful on these occasions, because it’s hard to care about World Book Day when it isn’t your responsibility to source or buy the outfits. He feigns some interest, consults the children, and says to just buy it. You’ve now his exhausted his minimal interest and it will never be discussed again. You return to the Internet.
11. You spend a bit more time obsessing about the waste of money, and search for an Aslan costume. A very dodgy looking grown women’s costume comes up. The husband finds this hilarious and suggests you buy this one.
12. You go on facebook and request help from your friends in the form of brown leggings/ tights/ t shirt so you can save money and buy just the ears and tail for Aslan. No one helps you, because no one is cruel enough to buy their children brown leggings or t shirts.
13. You leave it several days while you dither in a middle class, first world problems fashion about the rights and wrongs of spending £32 on costumes for one day while people are starving in the world.
14. You dither for long enough that you pass the guaranteed date for delivery for it to arrive before World Book Day. You start to really, really hate World Book Day.
15. You spend the bloody £32, and the lion costume arrives in enough time to realise that no, it doesn’t fit.
16. A second costume arrives (in time! Not even the day before!) and this time it fits. Neither costume looks like it’s worth £32, but you try not to be bitter. You are triumphant. You’ve done it! Two costumes that fit, that are characters in actual books, and are here in time for World Book Day. This has NEVER happened before. You’re super mum. And they’re a pretty cute Aslan and Toothless.
17. As you’re having a celebratory cup of tea and smugly browsing the panicking posts on Facebook, casually offering a tip here or there, child 2 arrives, fully dressed as Aslan. ‘I’m very worried Mummy,’ she says. ‘I have no shoes that a lion would wear. I need brown shoes.’ She thinks for a moment. ‘No, golden shoes! Aslan would wear golden shoes!’