The school’s Easter Egg Competition is a creative, fun and frantic affair where children decorate a single egg or a whole scene of eggs (that’s the keen guys, who also sit on the top table for Maths and English, and who bring things in to show every day). The children may be helped, controversially, by their parents, causing much bitching amongst the parents who insist their kids muck it up all on their own: ‘I can’t believe an eight-year-old made that solar-powered spaceship from three thousand blown eggs’. Amusing titles are de rigeur – for instance ‘Eggs Factor’ (I’m already laughing) or ‘The Olympegs’ (catch yourself!)
I hoped to be retelling the ups and downs of supporting a wilful nine year old’s emerging creativity in the eggy line, perhaps a collaboration with friends encompassing both teamwork and imagination! However Bonnie took her usual ‘I decide what I do and when’ stance to murderous degrees, and wasn’t going to be bamboozled into some silly egg painting a couple of days early, when there would doubtless be a perfectly serviceable slave on hand with nothing better to do than run around boiling eggs, super-cooling them and leaping about fetching materials at 8pm the night before show-time. This timeline allowed her to focus on the more important matter of her school disco outfit for later in the week, in case she were scouted for a touch of modelling somewhere between our house and the disco.
I screeched on regardless. ‘How about ‘Dog Eggspert!!’ HA HA!’ - as she rumbled through the clothes she already knew she had. ‘Mummy my new pants will match the dress but I have no jacket to go on top at all’. ‘Bonnie you are nine years old. You should be playing in the park, having fun – making your egg entry - not trying to look like a supermodel!’ (old bag) ‘Oh stop going on about the egg competition, Mummy!’ said she. ‘I’m doing Captain Eggpants OK?!’ I squirmed at the lack of pun. Captain Eggpants?? My idea was so funny and brilliant...
I went off disconsolately to boil a single egg which she grabbed (without admiring my boiling skill - no cracks) and started sploshing paint onto while it was still steaming hot. ‘WAIT!’ I shrieked. ‘Use a pencil to draw your design first.’ ‘Mum, mum, MUM!’ she whined ‘I can’t draw the waistline on it. You do it.’ But I was feeling bloody-minded (no praise for the tenderly boiled egg). ‘Yes, you can’ I said, ‘Just put a little dot half way up the egg, like this, then turn it-’ ‘I CAN’T DO IT – YOU DO IT’ she shouted, ‘OR DO YOU WANT IT TO BE RUBBISH?’ She slapped the paint on and tossed the egg at me to hold for an hour while it dried so she could look through her nail varnishes. I put the egg down (reasonably) carefully but somehow it ended up in the dog’s mouth and the paint was licked off. Suddenly the egg was the most precious thing Bonnie’d ever made and there was howling. I fixed it up ‘Good as new!’ but then it was knocked off the table and smashed up for good. ‘I’ll just boil another - you can make it even neater this time!’ I sing-songed, as if it were a marvellous stroke of luck that Captain Eggpants had been sucked by the dog then dashed on the floor.
It being past nine by now, I felt Captain Eggpants’ could go without his signature red cloak but obviously it was a waste of time voicing this opinion. ‘This is exactly why I asked you to start two days ago’ I muttered. ‘You’re the one who’s entering this egg competition and here’s me at midnight charging around...’ ‘You’re the one who wants me to enter!’ she said, which shut me up. I stuck the red cloak and my finger onto the egg with superglue, but Bonnie disagreed with the positioning and in trying to slide the stuck-on cloak down the egg, my thumb ended up up Captain Eggpant’s bum with a nail full of boiled egg and no ideas how to make this seem fine. I quickly hid his bottom in an egg-cup. ‘How about I do your nails now, sweetie?’