In just a few weeks my eldest daughter, Helen, will be starting school. I’m sure all of us parents that have kids starting in reception class this September are wondering where the past four years have gone. I certainly am.
In this household we’re also wondering what to do about the school uniform. Isn’t it such a palaver? Not just a palaver, but an expensive palaver.
Don’t misunderstand me, I think school uniforms are a brilliant idea. They are a fantastic leveller; once in uniform you can’t really tell whether a child is from a country estate or council estate. That’s my theory anyway. I suspect more experienced parents will tell me I’m being very naïve.
We’ve been given the option of buying the uniform from a reputable online supplier who would deliver direct to the school in early September. The only thing is, Helen’s nursery has decided to hold a Wear your School Uniform to Nursery event during August.
To try and solve this dilemma, I took a look at some supermarket websites because they seem to have a monopoly on this market. Unfortunately the £4 dresses on offer were all 100% polyester.
I know this will make me sound like a snob, but I just can’t deal with that much polyester. This is because of a phobia against the fabric kindly given to me by my sister who refuses to come within half a mile of the stuff (yeah, thanks sis).
I looked online again and found a high street retailer that sold 100% cotton dresses that were only a touch more expensive. I bundled the kids into the car and off we went with the intention of buying five dresses, one for each day of the working week.
Oh no, that would have been far too easy. On arrival at the store looked like a bunch of shore-leave-happy Royal Marines had paid a visit. Every other parent with reception aged-children within a ten mile radius had obviously been there already as the clothes were all over the place and small sizes were very hard to find.
After a major search operation we left with two 100% cotton, school-uniform compliant dresses. This’ll do for the nursery’s purposes, but we’ll need to buy some more before school starts.
I tweeted about my dilemma and received a message back from Clare Mackintosh (@MTJAM), author of a rather fantastic blog. Clare pointed out that she has three children and each of them needs four pairs of shoes solely to comply with the school uniform. I’ve checked and, sure enough, we’ve got to buy three pairs of shoes too.
I appeal to the more experienced parents. What hints and tips do you have for us reception newbies when it comes to buying uniforms? Are there any fantastic, hidden suppliers you can recommend? Do you buy the clothes online or second hand? Crucially, am I the only polyester snob out there?