Right. The kids are heading back to school, so here’s my top tips to make things easy:
*Purchase wine – we’ll circle back to this later. Just stick it in the fridge for now.
* Uniforms – when you discover that little Johnny’s trousers from last term are flapping over his ankles 3 days before school starts back, dash to Dunnes/Marks & Spencer in search of longer ones.
Sweat buckets when you realise that every age 9 to 10 pair of grey slacks has already been sold to more diligent parents who shopped in plenty of time.
* Books – ensure you store those book lists safely and forget all about them til mid August. Then try to order online and quake as you realise at least 2 are “out of stock”. Say a prayer that everything arrives on time.
Alternatively, shop local and enjoy your time queuing with all the other last minute minnies in the local book store. And while you’re waiting make sure you let your kids browse the stationary aisle for supplies because….
* …it is the law that all children start the school year with a brand new set of Twistables, 27 new HB pencils, a new ruler, rubber and parer, even if last year’s stock is still perfectly serviceable.
By day 4, half the Twistables will be banjaxed, pencils will be lost and the ruler will be broken. On day 5, that basket of half used colours and pencils from last year will be a veritable treasure trove of delight.
* Buy the most expensive lunchbox you can find. By the second week of school, the realisation will dawn that the reason Little Johnny or Mary isn’t eating their lunch is due to the fact that they can’t open the bloody thing. The 17 different compartments, including a cooler section, is just too much for their little fingers to manage during their 10 minute lunch window. Simple is best.
Oh, and don’t wrap anything in clingfilm. Chances are they won’t realise and end up ingesting enough plastic to kill them.
* Ditto beakers – the simpler the better. They all leak all over the schoolbags anyway. On the plus side, kids books become easily identifiable by their distinctive water stains.
* If the water stain technique of identifying property doesn’t float your boat then I’d suggest labels. Label books, bags, pens and especially clothing (jumpers and coats love to go on holidays to other kids houses).
I once spent 3 weeks trying to locate a fully labelled, brand new school coat that was mixed up with a scruffier unlabelled version by my daughter. It pissed me off royally, but success was eventually mine when I found it. Label, Label, Label.
* Head lice – schools love sending notes home about lice. You’ll receive them intermittently throughout the year. The old wives tale of “they only like clean hair” is nonsense. They like hair. Full stop. YouTube how to do a french plait (that’s how I learned) or break out the hair clippers.
Do this and you stand some chance of dodging the itch. And invest in industrial quantities of tea tree oil. It’s pungent but still preferable to a head full of nits.
* Now you can circle back to my fist tip and pour yourself a glass of wine. Savour it, enjoy it, label it, spray it in tea tree and drink it from a leaky beaker. You’re gonna need more; just don’t order it online. It might be out of stock!