KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
On the basis that there was 10 per cent off in the shop last week, we now have two brand-new school uniforms hanging in the kids’ wardrobes. Well, when I say ‘hanging in the wardrobes’, obviously what I really mean is ‘still sitting in the bag in which they left the shop’, but at least they are in our possession and they cost us 10 per cent less than the several hundred euro they’d have set us back in August. And so, for the first time in their lives, the children are ready to go back to school even before they’ve left.
I probably wouldn’t have jumped so early — 10 per cent or no 10 per cent — if we hadn’t needed the two uniforms. But The Boy is secondary school-bound in September and so needed the whole shoot ing gal lery — though experience has taught me that there’s absolutely no need to shell out a small fortune on regulation blue shirts and grey trousers when I can pick up a generic version of them in Dunnes for a tiny fraction of the cost.
And The Teenager, halfway through her secondary school career, was due a new skirt (they cost a fortune, but in fairness, she did get a full three years from her last one) and, more importantly, a senior jumper, which is a different colour to the junior model which her brother will be sporting come September.
A senior jumper. I will admit that while the rest of our 10-per-cent-off haul has sat, unsorted and unloved, in its paper bag all week, I did take out the senior jumper, just to look at it. Because, honestly, I can’t understand how that’s happened at all. I don’t feel as though I qualify for a senior jumper, let alone my daughter.
I met a woman the other night and she told me she remembers me writing about being pregnant with the erstwhile Small Girl. When I told her about the senior jumper, she wasn’t so much shocked as outraged. And if she feels so strongly about the brutal passage of time, imagine how it makes me feel.
Two weeks ago, in my head, I had three small children riding little bikes round the kitchen table. In the real world, within a few more weeks, I will have two teenagers in the house — and one of them will have a senior jumper in her wardrobe (that may actually be wishful thinking, but you know what I mean).
There are some advantages to all this indecent
‘Two weeks ago, in
my head, I had three small children. In the real world, in a few weeks, I will have two teenagers’
haste, of course. The restoration of some degree of personal freedom is to be welcomed — I no longer have to make child-minding arrangements every time I want to buy milk or walk The Dog — but I can’t be the first parent to realise that, having found the whole loss- of-freedom thing almost unbearable in the first place, I have now become so used to it that the loosening of the binds isn’t as liberating as I’d imagined. It turns out, after all these years, that maybe going out for the milk isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. Still, there is also — at least in principle — something to be said for having a household in which all bar one are more or less the same size. To be fair, this is working out far better for The Teenager than for any of the rest of us. The other day, she left the house wearing my jeans, her father’s T-shirt and her brother’s jacket — and surprisingly, she didn’t look insane.
She is smaller than me — and, I suspect now, always will be — but that’s okay because while you can’t wear clothes that are too small for you, wearing slightly oversized ones just makes you look vaguely funky.
Also, crucially, cruelly, she takes a size five to my size six shoes. This means, of course, that while she gleefully rifles through my shoes and boots, I can’t get next or near hers. The make-up robbing is entirely mutual though, which suits us both — or not, as the case may be — fine.
I would consider borrowing her senior jumper but I don’t want to appear older than my years. In my head, senior jumpers should only make an appearance in a woman’s wardrobe when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to elasticated waistbands and has stopped taking a keen interest in her daughter’s cosmetic purse, at which point they can be purchased — perhaps by a kindly, still upright relative — on the first floor of Clerys.
In the meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I must continue with my futile efforts to stop all the clocks — even as they are so infuriatingly, so relentlessly, ticking along without me.