01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Fancy Dress and Parenting 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Fancy Dress and Parenting

I feel a bit like a rabbit in the headlights with school fancy dress parties for halloween and bonfire night coming up this weekend. As a solution I have so far been burying my head in the sand.

Daughter one (8 years) is this year supposed to be dressing up as a 'fairy tale' character but has decided she wants to be a water fairy (in a long blue silky dress that we do not have as yet- she wants me to make one). I had thought that wearing one of the million fairy dresses that we already have in various sizes for dressing up at home might do, but my daughter will have none of it. She wants a long, blue, silky dress and her hair just so.

Daughter two (five years) has a halloween party at school on Friday and wants to be a pirate. She is a bit of a tomboy so I am not surprised at her choice but unfortunately there is a distinct lack of boy costumes in this house so I need to start from scratch here.

Daughter three (three years) is also going to the halloween party and wants to be a fairy, even though I have a perfect witch's outfit in her size with a show stopping (if I say so myself) tall pointy fabric black hat that I made years ago. I suppose I should be grateful that we have so many fairy dresses so she should be easy but then she keeps changing her mind and says every five minutes; 'actually I want to be a pirate too.'

The latter two daughters are also going to the fairy tale party, but I can't even bring myself to discuss a second set of fancy dress outfits with them..

My question is, how does a parent/mother control the urge to impose your own ideas on your children, thus stifling their own (obviously less good) ones? (I am just joking but you know what I mean?)

Daughter one has to choose some kind of animal/living thing to properly research for a 'show and tell' later in the term. I brilliantly suggested a jellyfish because she has just been stung by one so has good first hand experience! She can show off the jellyfish mark on her neck she still has from our Tanzanian half term holiday and it might be interesting and a bit different to talk to the other kids about stinging and tentacles etc. She, however, wants to do a cheetah or a leopard which no doubt others in her class will choose too (we are in Africa after all). Yawn.

Also, I might add that trying to encourage daughter one in her weekly homework of constructing spelling sentences or a story around a list of twelve spelling words is absolute agony for me. It's so tempting to stick my oar in and rattle off my own ideas;
'The boy POKED his sister then BROKE her arm, she almost CHOKED' . Isn't that good?
Even my husband finds it tricky not to take over on this homework assignment.

My daughters are still young, so I feel I must find a solution to this problem somehow or risk years of conflict ahead.

It's hard to butt out when the alternative might be committing yourself to laborious hours on the sewing machine. Buying childrens fancy dress costumes is not an option here and I am far too disorganised to buy fabric and deligate to a local tailor. Help - I am far too bossy!!

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