Socks have become a battleground in our house. Last week there was a minor skirmish over short black socks which I nicked from daughter two’s drawer in a moment of panic at circa 8.43am. Daughter three told me that it was too hot for tights and her system of filing socks is stress-inducing at the best of times, but at 8.43am beyond what my blood pressure can take. Basically her wardrobe is just a pile of clothes with the odd sock floating around in the middle because she has taken everything out to look for dungarees she last wore in September and just bunged it all back in.

So I went into daughter two’s pristine room which is bedecked with bits of furniture she has taken apart and made into artistic objects. There is the branch of a tree on the wall with nails coming out of it which she has painted white and hung with bits and pieces. She has her initials stuck on the wall in black and gold and there is a piece of plywood with gold Vs on it on which she has hung odd items. Despite the fact that the room is pock-marked with paint in the style of an artist’s studio, it is very neat and all her socks are in pairs in one drawer. So I took a pair.

Daughter two comes home around three quarters of an hour after daughter three so I told her to remove the socks before she arrived and I shoved them into the washing machine. Daughter three also had daughter two’s bag which she no longer uses so we stashed that in a cupboard. Later in the week daughter two discovered the Sock Affair and had a slightly dramatic overreaction. If it had been her brother it would have been fine, but she considers daughter three to be one of the great unwashed, despite the fact that daughter three is actually much cleaner than only son who is permanently covered in paint and has yet to totally master wiping his bottom.

Earlier this week, sockgate continued as daughter three decided to borrow daughter one’s long black socks. Daughter two had also borrowed a pair which daughter one did not see because she had a migraine attack in the morning and had to be taken to school later. Daughter two thinks her sister is the epitomy of style. Daughter one finds this worship hard to take, particularly from daughter two who she feels is her nemesis. So, although she was fairly okay about daughter three borrowing her socks she was not quite so phlegmatic about daughter two and has vowed revenge in a long diatribe in which she cited both feminism and Malcolm X [“stop oppressing me”,  I think she said at one point].

She withdrew sock borrowing priveleges from daughter three the following day, though, and left her with the pair that don’t stay up properly. I suggested a hairband on the knee to daughter three, but she said this was in danger of cutting off her circulation. I had visions of having to rush her to A & E and explain the whole thing. It didn’t help that the night before I had had a dream about having a rat sleeping in my ear [why?] and that the whole week got off to a bad start sleep-wise because we rebuilt the bunk bed for daughter three and only son and placed it in the corner of their room away from the door. This meant daughter three could not sleep because apparently this is the scariest part of the house. I told her that she was furthest away from the front door so it was the safest place. Unfortunately, daughter two overheard. She sleeps in the first room up from the front door and has a vivid imagination. Only son woke up in the night as per usual and daughter one had a migraine first thing.

All of this means that my sock strategy is not perhaps the most coherent. I am consulting e-Bay to see if they have a bargain offer on multiple long black socks with garters.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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