Today was Barnaby’s Leaving Party from nursery. A highly anticipated event among all those under 5 years old (at my place, at least), because of the Leaving Party Cake. The Leaving Party Cake was not made by me, because I have never baked anything that looked nice or rose correctly or was even particularly edible. It was made by Marks and Spencer. And a jolly good job they did too – it was a chocolate hedgehog with blushing cheeks and spikes made from chocolate fingers.
Barnaby seems to be fine about leaving nursery, which is the only other environment he has ever known apart from home, and that seems largely to do with the chocolate hedgehog. Which is fine. If only other existential crises in ones’ life could be solved by cocoa and butter and brown marzipan. Sigh.
So he trotted off today as usual dressed as a little pale Batman and I soothed my motherly anxiety by going to the student beauty salon. I got my eyebrows tinted a little too dark (think villain in pantomime) and grabbed flowers from the Liberty stall and raced back to nursery in time for the actual event – the Leaving Party Proper. Unfortunately Barnaby noticed my eyebrows as soon as I walked in and he started to cry. He asked me to put my ‘elbrows’ back the way they were. Which, I explained, would be difficult, and now was not the time to worry about them. Thus placated, Barnaby got to sit in the special chair, with a hastily drawn-up Batman farewell message taped behind him. And he got to choose the songs to sing. Here he is:
As you can see, quite unperturbed. Which was the same as me – I had thought I would find the whole thing a bit teary-making, seeing as I am hormonally unhinged these days, but I was dry-eyed. (Noah slots in to take his place next Wednesday, which may have been why I decided crying would be one step too far.)Anyway, about seven or eight or 20 songs later, they dimmed the lights and brought out the chocolate hedgehog and passed it around the circle. The other kids were squeally and jumpy loving that cake. Thanking you, M & S. (Result, genius convenience-foods-type-mother!) And with that, the Leaving Party drew to a close, and the cake was divided, and we walked out – Barnaby for the last time. And on the way home we had a fight about sharing the hedgehog’s face, which Barnaby won. He did concede to breaking up tiny crumbs for the other two and dropping them one by one into their desperate waiting palms, and I probably should have waded in and made him share (seeing as it was a third of a hefty hedgehog) but I thought you only leave nursery once. And next Tuesday he starts Big School, where his spirit will be crushed quite naturally. No need to rub it in.