It could happen to any of us; just a few weeks into the new school term and you will find that you have an uninvited guest for the weekend. This guest will insist on joining in with everything you have planned. His demands will be merciless and unrefuseable. He will be the centre of attention for the whole duration of his stay. Who is this tyrant?
The Class Teddy. Ah, but he looks so sweet and innocent as he is carried proudly home on Friday night. He may not be a teddy, maybe he’s a rabbit or some type of doll, but under the skin they are all the same.
The first time the class toy came home wasn’t too bad. Yes, this rabbit was so grubby that I had to insist that, no, you cannot take him to bed, at least not until he has been in the washing machine anyway. Frankly it looked as if it might have been harbouring the plague, however this was possibly the least demanding weekend guest we had.
The next year we had the class teddy. This visitor, mercifully, seemed to have much better personal hygiene habits than the rabbit. However he was accompanied by a book. A notebook. A diary in which my son was to record everything that teddy did with us during the weekend. The reason for the surprising cleanliness of Teddy soon became clear - the diary was also pristine. Empty. We were the first lucky recipients of teddy’s company, and there was absolutely nothing in the diary that we could crib about what we were expected to write.
So Teddy came to the swimming pool and was photographed in goggles. We posed him sitting at table to eat dinner with us and Grandma gamely agreed to be pictured shaking hands with Teddy when she visited. On Sunday night pictures were duly printed and stuck in the diary and the weekend’s events written up. Teddy returned to school and the weekend was declared a success.
Now everyone in the class was supposed to take teddy home at least once, and so with a class of 30 kids, surely this means we should only have the teddy once during the year? Twice at most? No, he came home 3 times that year. (Good thing my son didn’t have that teacher for maths, that’s all I’m saying). Now if your family is anything like mine, our weekends tend to follow the same pattern; swimming lessons tend to occur on a weekly basis, grandparents tend to come around at the same time each week. So the next time what were we supposed to write about?
By teddy’s third visit he was starting to look as much in need of a bath as his predecessor. So he started with a visit to the washing machine, however this time it was necessary to remove several garments that he had acquired during the year. My son wanted to add something to his outfit. “Mummy, will you knit him a hat.......?”
Well, at least we haven’t actually had to look after a living creature. Yet.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.