It’s that bit of the summer holidays where children are vaguely aware that it is all going to come to an end some time soon, but refuse point blank to get back to any sort of normal routine. It’s also the time when you suddenly remember the fact that all their school shirts are stained and all the black socks have holes in or are lost in the black sock hole in their bedroom.
Yes, it’s back to school shopping time. In my day this was a fairly boring affair and strictly a parent thing. Nowadays everyone seems to jump on board and declare an urgent need for stuff. Apparently, people need to have a new bag every school year. I have had long negotiations about school bags and managed to get daughter three to hold off for a year until she goes to secondary school. Daughter two is still seeking some sort of bag creation, but I told her to look on eBay and the only ones she can find that she likes are in China. I told her about the problems with the Chinese economy, which passed completely over her head, but managed to convince her to hold off on the bag front until it improves. Result! Daughter one already had a new bag a few months ago on the spurious grounds that the old one was falling apart. Only son gets very excited whenever he is near a display of Marvel Comics backpacks in a shop [or indeed any Marvel Comics-related product], but is easily diverted.
Then there are shoes. Everyone’s feet have grown. Everyone claims to need new shoes. Daughter one made some reference to me stitching up her shoes in the summer term when I questioned whether her feet have grown. I dimly remembered doing something with a needle. We tried on some pairs of shoes in Primark. Nothing excited them and most looked strictly non-uniform. We have been sent a missive from the school outlining in great detail the type of shoe which passes muster. We went to Shoe Zone. Inevitably, daughters one and two both liked the same shoe. “I can’t go to school with the same shoes as her,” said daughter one in despair. “People will talk.” Even daughter three liked the shoe. Daughter one said she was ok with daughter three having the same shoes as she doesn’t go to the same school. However, daughter three couldn’t find it in her size. I hovered around the bargain section of the shop, making suggestions, but no-one was listening to me. Only son was bringing me Marvel Comic sports bags. I told the girls I was going to count down from five and if an agreement was not reached by 1 I would never return to Shoe Zone again. By 2 daughter one had decided she could live with daughter two having the same shoes “as long as you don’t come anywhere near me at school”.
Daughter three, meanwhile, had other plans and, worryingly, a list. She had been researching stuff on Youtube and had come up with an emergency pencil case full of things like hand gel, deodorant and glasses’ cleaners. I blame Zoella, as with all things. Fortunately, she knows my shopping habits and is content with a short trip to Poundland and a promise that I will cut her some material to clean her glasses with.
Ebay has come up trumps for school skirts, given the pleats on the last ones fell out some time around March [mainly because I bought them cheap on eBay], so we’re more or less ready for the great return. We’ve even belately signed up for the summer library challenge. Daughters one and two are too cool for library challenges and daughter three doesn’t like the fact that she has to stand up in assembly to get the certificate, which leaves only son as the only player in the library challenge this year. A late entry [we signed up on Tuesday], he has already talked through three books he has read. Not only talked through, but repeated word for word all three stories in what was a slightly longer than anticipated bid to win the summer challenge medal when he returns to school.
We’re on track.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: “Uddingston Grammar School Ties” by Fionaaar – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.