So your kid has started school and things are going great!
Your worst fears of them being a lonely outcast aimlessly walking the school corridors alone at lunchtime have not materialised and they even seem to have made a friend!
Isn’t that wonderful?!
Because now the inevitable has happened and you have been invited to a ‘play date’ at the abode of said friend.
The questions are already whirling around in your head;
“Do I stay or just the kids?”
“Should I stay?”
“Should I dump and run?”
“What do I wear?”
“What should I bring?”
“What if one of mine shits on their carpet?”
…to name but a few.
You give the kids “the death talk” before you set off in the car. It features classics like, “Make sure you say please and thank you,” and “Do NOT wipe your bum on the towel.”
Before long you arrive at your destination and it becomes apparent that this lot are posh. Great, just what you need, your feral children running amok in the mansion of Poshy McPoshface.*
*Name has been changed.
As your car crunches along their suitably long gravel drive, you start to regret the packet of Party Rings you’ve brought and wearing the jeans with the weird stain that you could never get out (OK, you’ve never really tried but it’s still a weird stain).
Of course the excitement level of your children at this stage has reached “Pee your pants,” which is only one level off, “Throw yourself from a moving vehicle.”
To them it’s just a play date; they get to play with their friends, have fun, explore new toys, miss the bowl of a new toilet.
And so you remember why you’re putting yourself through this.
For the kids.
Deep breath…we’re going in.
Not before you trip over your own Converse and knock down a classy potted tree. You reinstate it to its former position, albeit it at a slight angle, and try to disperse the escaped soil with your foot. As if wearing Converse to Poshy McPoshface’s wasn’t bad enough, now you’ve added shoe soil to the mix.
Doorbell works (posh) and before you know it Poshy herself opens the door with giant radiant smile (annoying) and crisp clean clothes. They’re very probably designer, but you aren’t yet ready to move on from how clean they are. Not a Pasta ‘n Sauce stain in sight.
You notice that she is wearing her socks. Great, bet they all relax in front of a massive open fire in the evenings wearing proper loungewear and cashmere socks that are £44 a pair, playing posh family board games made from proper wood not shitty plastic.
You think about the 12-pack of socks you got in Matalan for £5 one day and the manky jogging bottoms you wear around the house that have a hole in the crotch.
Should you take off your shoes? Do your socks match today? Are you even wearing two socks? Did you put on the pair with the hole in the big toe? Did you change them yesterday? (Definitely not today but at least yesterday?)
You shuffle into Poshy’s house like a blundering sea lion feeling awkward in the presence of your host’s polished demeanour.
The kids have already started rampaging around the house. You mutter a silent prayer that no one headbutts Poshy’s kids or shatters any ornamental valuables.
You’re ushered into a sleek, trendy and impossibly clean kitchen that’s around the same size as the entire ground floor of your house.
Poshface offers you the choice of a wide variety of beverages that wouldn’t be out of place written in chalk on the menu board of a fancy pants vintage coffee shop. She produces a tray of neat little sandwiches and tray bakes that she tells you she made earlier. You think of your misshapen attempts at sandwiches and the long suffering block of cheese that was hacked into the shape of a miniature cliff during various sandwich-making benders. You study Poshy when she’s not looking to check for signs that she’s actually bionic.
Now for the “to eat or not to eat” dilemma. If you don’t eat you’ll look rude and ungrateful. If you do eat you’ll definitely get salad cream on your chin and jeans then probably choke on a errant piece of cress and do a dramatic, spitty and uncouth spluttering cough. (Dainty coughing was never your forte, along with sandwich making.)
Your clumsy stumbling over your words in an attempt to make conversation is interrupted by “Muuummmmeeeee, I need to poo.” The scenario you were dreading is unfolding before your very eyes. (Although you rejoice silently that the poo is still in situ and not decorating a shag pile somewhere in Poshface’s mansion.)
You usher your child to the spacious and lavish bathroom. The bath has one of those swanky waterfall taps and the room smells like lavender and the sea breeze. Well it did around 3 minutes ago…..not so much now. Once all hands have been duly washed in posh M&S hand soap you thank the Lord above that no one shat on the carpet…small mercies.
The rest of the play date passes in a blur of cold sweats and forcing smiles and FINALLY it’s time to leave.
Right on cue your kids perform their best tantrums and refuse to shoe-up. Usually you would threaten to take the iPad off them for a week in your best evil hiss, but instead you try to laugh off the tantrums as though they are so unusual they’re endearing.
Eventually you get the kids bailed into the car on the promise that Poshy and her little darlings can come and play at yours someday.
Your palms are sweating at the thought of it and you dash home immediately to order M&S hand soap in bulk and a Mary Berry cookbook. And to drink gin.