“I have the best news, EVER,” EldestGirl triumphantly announced last week. Thoughts of fast-track scholarships to boarding schools flashed briefly through my mind, followed by free ponies and a lottery win. Before remembering she was four years old.
“Next week,” she continues, “it is my week to bring home Duffy Bear.”
Duffy Bear is the preschool’s class teddy that they each get a turn to bring home. As far as I can make out, as soon as your child starts at the nursery, you will pretty much immediately get the bear. I think this is a cunning child protection ruse, as “Duffy Bear” (e.g. the child’s mother – I have not yet seen an entry completed by the father) has to write a diary of his exploits along with photos of him in your home. I think they’re basically making sure via Duffy that you aren’t keeping your child in a cage and poking them occasionally with a stick. Either that or they’re seeing who has the nicest house and casing the joint. (We have an unhealthy ratio of cat fur to carpet, so I think we’re probably safe.)
The thing is, this is our second time to host said bear. Last time I was eight and a half months pregnant and incredibly grumpy. It was made ten times worse by the fact that we were only the second entry in Duffy’s diary. The first was all about his Caribbean Disney Cruise. I shit you not. Ours provided what I like to think of as a poignant counterpoint as it was mostly about Mummy trying to roll off the sofa without swearing, making cakes with marmalade, because bears like marmalade (and so does Mummy), and doing fuck all else because Mummy looked like a massive whale and was permanently furious at being pregnant. TheBloke (TM) was notably absent from the diary because he was mostly unpacking as we had only moved house two weeks before and Mummy couldn’t be arsed to do it. Also he wisely kept his distance from Mummy as she was angry ALL OF THE TIME.
Last time Duffy came to stay, TheBloke (TM) amused himself once EldestGirl was in bed by putting the poor bear in unsuitable poses with the slutty-looking Equestria Girls, and scattering various tablets around him to make him look like he was partying. This time we couldn’t even be arsed to do that.
I suggested Duffy Bear might like an adventure in the washing machine, but all the children have been indoctrinated against this. “No, Mummy!” shrieked EldestGirl indignantly, “Duffy hates water or getting his paws muddy.”
Duffy Bear comes with a suitcase of clothes. Part of the reason I hated him last time was he genuinely had more outfits than I did maternity clothes. He had: a superhero outfit, exercise outfit, pig outfit, cow outfit, pirate outfit, raincoat outfit, Elsa dress, Hawaiian shirt outfit and pyjamas. I had pyjamas and a shirt that almost covered most of my stomach. EldestGirl insisted on a bear (see what I did there?) minimum of three outfit changes every day.
And also, when you have two children to get up and dressed each morning, of course the thing you would love to do most of all is get a fucking teddy bear dressed and undressed too. Because his clothes are just that little bit too fiddly for EldestGirl. (Whose fingers are dexterous enough, by the way, to adeptly scour YouTube for more My Little Pony videos.)
Anyway, this time Duffy came with us to a farm park, ate a pancake in the shape of his own face, made some superhero masks and watched EldestGirl at her swimming lesson (though I am not sure if he is DBS checked). His next Caribbean cruise will have to wait.
YoungestGirl starts at the nursery later in the year. Balls.