We are getting ready for the time that strikes dread in every child's heart -- back to school time
I say we, but really it's just me. The children are still in full-on summer holiday mode. It is only me who's counting down the days.
It surprises me this "ooh it's nearly September" excitement that's building up in me: I used to be one of those mums who hated the start of term.
But not any more. Oh no. I've tasted freedom, due to pre-school for our youngest, and I'd like some more thank you very much.
That's the thing with child-free time: rather like a full night's sleep after months without, you feel actually worse for a while after having a little bit of what you crave.
So it was with a spring in my step that I took five children shoe shopping in our nearest city the other day. Feeling smug that we were early enough to park easily and, I thought, to beat the crowds I almost skipped to the shoe shop.
And that's where the dream turned into a nightmare. It was heaving. Not so smug any more, I realised the whole city had either camped outside the store overnight or got up at the crack of dawn.
We took a ticket, in the style of a deli counter, and waited. And waited. And waited. Whole hours were sucked from my life in that shoe shop.
We took Grandpa with us who was staggered at the bun fight and kept muttering loudly about "recession, what recession". It was, he informed me repeatedly, never like this in his day.
Well, I thought, the world was a lot less busier thirty years ago and....and...then I realised! Until I went to secondary school, I never wore a uniform. I went skipping in (yes, I was keen) wearing some trainers that had been bought when my last pair were too small. Now only boring black, brown or navy shoes would do.
I'm not very keen on school uniforms for primary children and this, I realised, was another reason to ban the horrid things. I know I'm in a minority, all my friends think they're a wonderful idea, but to me they're just another back to school stress.