Do you know which is my favourite date in the entire school calendar? You might think it’s Easter assembly; where I’m forced to sit in a sweaty hall and watch 300 kids ‘perform’ at a pitch only a dog could hear. Where I usually acquire a spinal injury with my craning just to catch a glimpse of my own little darling amongst 50 other ponytails. Or maybe the Christmas Fayre, where I’m coerced into spending 30 quid on a pile of amateur festive shit made by small children. What about Sports Day, where my fair skin fries in the sun whilst I’m suckered to a tiny plastic chair. No; it’s only the School bollocking Disco! Many of my bestest Mummy’s all agree and we synchronise watches in the countdown to ‘D’ day. I’m very organised and tend to up the dosage of my ‘Kalms’ to as high as is safe in readiness for the ‘carnage’. It starts with the ‘outfit’; getting this right will be key in navigating a successful disco outcome. My little poppet can be a tad irksome about this and usually some crying, profanities and stomping with preceed the definitive choice. I deal with this in a firm but fair way preferring to throw discarded clothing choices out of the window and burn them in the garden as a warning. After this just the ‘getting changed’, lipstick and hair to be dealt with before descending into the madness in the school hall. Thank God nails, a tattoo and face paint can be purchased there…with change from a tenner. Be warned short sleeves are best for Mummys, as the hall will be hot with condensation and pools of over-excited child sweat and occasionally urine. Not that I’m blaming the children for that; if the female teachers will do a dance off to ‘Gangnam Style’ it’s to be expected there’ll be some leakage. The walk from the classroom into the hall is akin to a prisoner on death row shuffling to his demise. Us Mummy’s high five each other offering empathic smiles of solidarity; joined in our plight to get through the next 1.5 hours in the ‘lions den’. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, just time to drop a 30mg Co-dydramol to cushion the blow before forking out 3 to quid enter my idea of hell. We’re in and the spendfast commences. ‘Can I have my face painted, nails done, tattoo applied?’ Can I have a hot dog, pizza, cake, drink, popcorn, etc?’ I’m dishing out sterling like a Las Vegas Croupier whilst shadowing the 3 year old whose life ambition is seemingly to escape from me. Glancing at my purse I’m already down a tenner, the clock confirms we’re only 3 minutes into the event….
Things are looking up; I’ve secured a chair (rare), homemade Brownie and a ‘hot’ cup of coffee plus I’m just coming up on my codeine. Even better the 3 year old is colouring; so trapped in one place and the 7 year old stuck in queue to have her face painted. By my reckoning I’ve got precisely 1.5 minutes of pure unadulterated peace. Quick; sip, chomp, sip, chomp…don’t make eye contact with anyone or they’ll sap my fucking 90 seconds with idle banter. I zone out slightly as the sugar hits but am brought back to reality by a bead of my own sweat and a really crappily coloured picture being thrust under my chin. Peace is broken and with it the distorted amplified ramblings of one of the Dad’s is now causing my brain to swell. The stupid man is now whipping the kids, who’re already ‘pissed’ on e-numbers into a frenzy to the latest ‘Little Mix’ track with absolutely no concern for anyone over 11 in the room. I find myself scowling at him and wishing him dead; which I realise is somewhat unfair but ‘fuck it’ I could lose my hearing to this shit. 7 year old has reappeared with what looks like a hideous birth mark but is apparently a butterfly. She demands cash as popcorn and lemonade is required…’right…now…MUM’. I’m warned to ‘hurry up, stupid’ and die a little inside as a vision of yester-year reminds me of a time I showed off my beautiful baby full of pride, love and hope. I hand over yet another fiver and berate myself for not taking 40 quid out of the cashpoint.
Just when I can’t imagine it can get any worse I hear the opening bars of Gangnam Style playing out like a hard-house remix of the Funeral March. So with only a fiver left I toss up between another Brownie or secure a further 90 second sabbatical whilst the 3 year old has a hand painted ‘birthmark’ to match her sister? Before I can make a decision a vision of greatness has appeared before me. The music fades as all animation in the room seems to stop. Advancing towards me carrying two plastic cups and a couple of ketchup-smothered Hotdogs is my Mother! A shining beacon of all that is good in the world and she’s carrying preserved pork products in a cheap finger roll!
In no time at all it is 5:30 and my little band of four emerge seemingly unhurt from the school hall. All around me children are jittery and Mummy’s are broke; in more ways than one, but we’ve made it! Like extras from ‘The Walking Dead’ we stagger back to our car safe in the knowledge that we’ve survived. Just the 2 hour comedown to secure then its a slow boat to ‘Ginsville Tennessee’…until the next time.