Oh well another summer hols is over….its’ not that long ago that Pav, Joe and I were playing ‘schools out for summer’ really loudly and dancing around the room, watched by a terrified Ant who thought we’d all been possessed……not to mention the people at the bus stop, who could hear the music blaring through the window and see us doing our best dance moves and singing ever (If you want to know what it was like…think of the James Hewitt and Rebecca Loos duet and times it by worst X factor audition you’ve ever seen – that should give you some idea). So, anyway, it’s back to school with the boys and back to work for me…… a horrid wake up call….from mooching round the house in pj’s till 10am, we’re suddenly all bug-eyed, cross, pale and falling over each other in the bathroom at 7am….
Going back to school involves splashing vast amounts of cash and battling (literally) with other mothers desperate to bag that last pair of age 11 trousers…..This year in order to have a break with wrestling other mums to the ground (embarrassing for children and just plain painful) I decided to phone Next and order black belted pleat front trousers in two sizes along with long sleeve non iron shirts – well what did you expect!
I am not sure why or how but both boys also need new school shoes, football boots and trainers? How can they all run out at the same time? Pavlos’ feet are like something out of a Grimm’s fairy tale – they keep growing and growing! He is now a size 10!!! He is desperate to buy some custom Nikes with his birthday money (from last May) but sensibly he doesn’t want to buy them until his feet stop growing….when it’s mum and dad’s money this doesn’t apply (we’ve bought him 2 pairs of footie boots in 6 months?!). Anyway £400 later, the boys are kitted out for a new term…gulp….
Anyway….’back to school’ also involves having a completely new set of stationery. I asked Joe and Pav what they needed to top up their pencil cases. Both of them said ‘everything’. Why? How come? Apparently if you’re coloured pencils are different sizes they need to be completely replaced, if your pencil case is so ‘last season’ it has to be renewed, if you’re geometry set looks a bit scratched and unpolished…it must be chucked, if your handwriting pen is not ergonomic – it must be binned, if your school bag is not ‘sick’ (Pav’s words not mine) – it’s an offence to carry it into school…..
So that is why I have spent at least £90 on replacing all the above…..grrrrrrrr…they should forget all appeals and start a new one – the ‘used and abused stationery appeal’. Can you imagine Bob Geldof shouting at all kids to ‘recycle that old pen, dig deep into your attics – pull out your mum’s old Bay City Roller pencil case and that eraser that smells of blueberries, and the crusty tippex at the back of the cupboard – use this stuff…. and give your mum and dad back their money’, (to be said in strong and very cross Irish accent).
So with Back to School also comes ‘sewing on labels’……which is enough to make me turn to drink – I was never any good at sewing. Really bad from an early age, even simple cross stitch was just not my thing. I remember giving my Nanny something I’d lovingly crafted in needlework. It was a bird next to a flower and a heart. I was really proud of it. ‘Oh darling how lovely – I love the boot, lollipop and smiley kiss!’ she enthused….I couldn’t tell her it wasn’t any of those things (but this should give you some idea of my skills).
My mum on the other hand is a dab hand – she used to ‘make’ her own dress for going out on a Friday night in the 60’s – she looked forward to designing her new look …that to me sounds like a punishment…I would’ve rather stayed it! Anyway, when Mum is not available for stitching duty I use iron-on name tapes – which always come off in the wash and then I spend all term screaming at boys for losing their jumper/shirt/tie etc, then when we get them back I pull out the old tape and iron again and so it goes on….like ground hog day.
Oh well! There are a few good things about ‘back to school’. I get the house back – I can actually see the floor! I can find my way from room to room instead of trying to swim through the house in a sea of dirty laundry, abandoned shoes, cereal bowls (always dry and crusty and few days old) and discarded ‘hoodies’. There is also something a teeny bit comforting about the autumn, settling down as the evenings get darker to watch a new season of TV dramas with popcorn and heaps of sweets, being able to wear big jumpers (to keep warm and cover excess weight that you are putting on due to new couch potato lifestyle), and finally, doing school runs a.m. and p.m. in pyjamas/no make- up as it’s so dark no-one can see you! Yay – winter wonderland here I come!