23/09/2010 15:25 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Moments Like This: International Day

There is nothing guaranteed to send me into more of a spin than the words: 'International Day' on the school calendar. 'Book Day' has pretty much the same effect, but at least I can whip out odd socks, put my daughter's hair in a plait and send her as Pippi Longstocking for the fifth year running.

International Day always completely floors me and is, I suspect, a cunning ploy conjured up by meddlesome teachers to keep working mothers on their toes. I can almost see them sitting there in the staffroom, with their cups of tea and Hobnob biscuits saying: 'I wonder what get-up Annie and Flo's mother is going to cobble together this year.'

So, with tomorrow nearly upon us and not a Hawaiian skirt or pair of French culottes in sight I'm doing my usual of sitting at work in a mutinous fury, fantasising about putting both girls in uniform and boycotting the entire thing. Or, doing what I did last year, which was to send them in jeans and T-shirts as 'as American kids.'

I know, Mrs Sibary, bottom of the class for showing a shocking lack of imagination. But that's precisely what makes me hate these days so much. For kids with mothers who are a whizz on the sewing machine and love nothing better than the challenge of creating a 19th century Russian peasant outfit at the drop of the hat, it's an opportunity to bask in the glow of maternal accomplishment. For my daughters, who have to make do with a string of onions chucked round their necks, it's a day to be endured thanks to their mother's utter incompetence.

The only small light on the horizon – and one which will hopefully soften the blow of what we already know are going to be wholly inadequate costumes – is the promise of the International Day Lunch.

Who cares what they're wearing if they get to eat spring rolls and egg fried rice in the middle of a school day? Even I can see that's worth making (a bit of) an effort for. Now where did I put those cowboy chaps?

Do you love or loathe International Day and Book Day?
What's been your best and/or easiest to make costume?

You can catch up on previous Moments Like This columns here.