I’m not sure who was more excited about Piglet’s school disco, him or me. In fact, it might be time to accept that Piglet, aged four, now has a better social life than me; one including friends, getting sugar-high on Parma Violets and dancing to Baby Shark. In other words, the kind of social life that I, aged thirty-eight and at a point in my life where acquaintances no longer bother even inviting me to things as I never, ever go, can only dream.
We had dinner beforehand, to get us in the mood. Thinking Piglet and I could enjoy some Mummy-and-son time, with nutritious snacks and intellectual conversation, I chose a little vegan mezze bar which blared out house music to a busy Friday night (4.30pm!) crowd of six-including me, Piglet and two waiting staff. Then, full up with oat milk lattes (me), chips (Piglet) and soy tzatziki (a mistake), we set off for pre-drinks at a hipster watering hole just metres from the school gates, where I briefly fraternised with my twentysomething colleagues, who cooed over Piglet for five seconds and then returned to their vats of wine whilst I pretended to be a giant unwieldy plastic giraffe.
After twenty-five minutes of (very small glass of) wine-downing, it was time for the disco which, if I remember rightly from last time, had an actual bar serving genuine alcoholic beverages. How early is too early to start petitioning the Head of the PTA for a bottle of Becks, one wonders? I need a bit of sustenance to get me through an hour of the greatest hits of Black Lace (apparently still doing that “Superman” song I thought had died out with the eighties) and Fruit Shoot-infused Conga-dancing (I was peeking through my fingers in terror as a small girl lugged her baby brother around at the front of the Conga line, holding him aloft by his tiny underarms).
Swigging from a plastic pint glass as though it was Glastonbury and not the school hall, I find that Piglet is not interested in dancing with Mummy, possibly because he is already a teenager and Mummy is now a massive embarrassment, or possibly because he is more interested in the large climbing frame outside.
“Come in Piglet!” I yell, “They’re playing the theme tune to Strictly Come Dancing in here!”
“Ooh you’re on the cider!” comments one of the teachers, gesturing to the plastic pint glass.
“Oh no!” I say, as though this was somehow the case for the defence, “It’s only lager!”
I fear that it may look to others like I am trying to relive my youth shouting along to Born Slippy in 1996, but in a school hall full of reception children. There are at least three other parents in here partaking of the alcoholic beverages, I note, albeit in smaller plastic glasses.
I clearly worry too much about winning the approval of the other parents for my amazing parenting skills.
After an hour which feels like ten, the disco is over, and all that remains is a wretched twenty minute wait for the train home. It feels like it’s about 2am in the gloom of the blustery platform, but my phone says 6.48pm. Piglet is still excited from his disco shenanigans, and the several sugary snacks he has used to fuel them, and is running up and down the footbridge that goes over the tracks. I hope he remembers the “serious chat” we had the other day after he almost ran in front of a train in his enthusiasm for “looking at the river.” Perhaps I shouldn’t have taught him to be so interested in the tidal range of the Avon.
We get home, and Piglet is STILL not tired (that’ll be the Parma Violets), instead winding down by playing with his cars for half an hour. Another school disco over, and it was remarkably like the first, except that this time I remembered to bring a spare pair of shoes so Piglet is not wearing his school ones.
Still, I should enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long until the disco goes on without me, and my only role is picking him up at 2am.