Black Hole of School Kit

Maintaining the boys' school kit and keeping it clean seems to be a constant battle. There's always something missing or in a state of disrepair



I'm delighted that I have two boys, but occasionally I look longingly at my friends with girls: smartly dressed, uniform neat, hair brushed. Then I look at the sorry state of my two and wonder if life would have been easier and cheaper having girls.

We've not been back to school long, and already a number of items of school kit have gone missing.

It wasn't me

In the first week back, my youngest lost his pencil case. I have no idea how. He stays in one classroom for all of his lessons, which is where his pencil case should stay too.

A few days later, it was found under a tree. Why? He had no real explanation for this, but did wonder if a squirrel had taken it.

All the girls at school walk around with their perfect pencil cases, with no ink stains on them or zips broken. They carry them with pride. Not the case with the boys - I think they use them as lightsabers.

The school uniform takes a battering

Already the boys are looking as if they've slept in most of their uniform. Their blazers have buttons missing, and their white shirts are no longer white but splattered with stains so they now resemble a Jackson Pollock picture.

The school shoes look as if they've been used to dig holes in the ground, and their ties are in shreds. As for the knees on their school trousers? You wouldn't believe they were new at the start of term. They are full of holes from all the knee slide football celebrations they do, and the rugby tackling...

Girls wouldn't do that, would they? Personally, I think boys should go to school in shell suits - to hell with sartorial elegance.

Failing that, I could send them to school wrapped in cellophane. People do that to protect their luggage so why not my kids?

It's in the genes

Matters are made worse because I am a complete clean freak. I take after my mum. I remember when we were young and we got a new sofa. It came wrapped in thick plastic. It stayed wrapped in that plastic for a year before my mother plucked up the courage to remove it. The day she did my brother spilled Ribena on it. My mum fainted.

She struggled with the whole school kit thing as well. My brother was truly the most disorganised child on the planet.

He would go to school with all of his uniform on and come home pretty much every day with just his shirt and shorts on. Once he didn't even come home with his shorts. It drove my mum mad.

The mystery of the single sock

And where do all of the school socks go? There must be a black hole out there full of them. I'm sure Stephen Hawking could confirm that for me!

After only 3 weeks of school, I've already got a handful of mismatched socks. Am I the only one whose washing machine eats them? I swear I put a pair in and only one comes out.

I'm pretty sure someone on Dragon's Den invented a device to keep them together. I must hunt that down. It's the kind of thing Lakeland would stock.

Putting my foot down

But I've put my foot down this term and told the boys that anything they lose they have to pay to replace. They seemed pretty unfazed until I pointed out that their entire piggy bank would need to be raided to replace their blazers.

That made my youngest son's ears prick up as he was saving his money to buy a year's supply of Tic Tacs.

Maybe now the kit will remain intact and not buried under a tree by the "squirrel".

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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