You know you’re a primary school parent when…

Children's feet
Having a child at primary school grants you access to an exclusive club. Here’s what the members all have in common, says Lucy Dimbylow.
  • You set off to pick your child up an hour before you need to, in an attempt to find the Holy Grail: a space in the school car park.
  • You cart your protesting child off on a uniform and shoe-shopping trip in the first week of the summer hols, only for him to grow two inches in height and a full shoe-size by the start of September.
  • After spending a small fortune trying out every type of drinks container on the market, you come to the conclusion that the only sort that doesn’t leak is a re-filled Fruit Shoot bottle.
  • You find yourself staying up until midnight on the eve of World Book Day, attempting to fashion a costume from an old pillowcase, a glitter pen and three empty cereal boxes. And who has stolen the Sellotape, anyway?
  • You dutifully peel and chop a carrot for your child’s packed lunch every morning, knowing full well that it’ll still be in his lunchbox when you empty it later that evening.
  • When the head teacher stops to talk to you in the playground, your first thought is: ‘What have I done?’
  • Despite telling everyone that the most important thing is that your child is happy, confident and popular at school, you secretly can’t wait to tear open that envelope on report day and find out what levels he’s achieved.
  • Your child’s piggy bank is full of IOUs for the odd £2 here, 50p there. Why does the school always want money for trips and activities when your purse is empty?
  • You decide that your child’s stomach ache is an excuse to get out of his spelling test and pack him off to school, only to get a phone call an hour later informing you that he’s vomited all over the TA.
  • You have learnt by bitter experience that there is no better form of torture than compulsory recorder lessons.
  • You spend weeks trying to unearth the source of that nasty smell in the understairs cupboard before tracing it back to a decomposing apple core in the bottom of your child’s school bag.
  • You start welling up at the Foundation Stage nativity play before anyone has said a single word. They look so sweet walking into the hall hand-in-hand…
  • You give up on name tapes after the first term of Reception. Permanent markers are so much easier.
  • You’re not a violent person, but feel positively murderous towards the little brat who keeps shoving your child over in the playground.
  • You have a horrid feeling that it won’t be long until your child’s maths homework has you completely foxed.
  • You could set your watch by the weather. Raining? Must be school-run time…
  • You can’t resist sneaking a look inside your child’s friend’s book bag when he comes for a play date, just to see which reading band he’s on.
  • You develop an acute case of insomnia the night before your child’s school trip, kept awake by visions of coach crashes and lost children.
  • Your heart sinks when your nail-biting, nose-picking little angel insists you sample the cakes he made in his cookery lesson.
  • You’re more proud of your child’s merit award for outstanding progress than you are of your own degree certificate.
  • You’re a frequent, but always disappointed, visitor to the school lost-property box.
  • Your child returns from his residential trip wearing the same clothes he left in (including underwear) and with toothbrush and flannel both suspiciously dry.
  • You’re regularly found tiptoeing out to the recycling bin in your dressing gown at 11pm to conceal this week’s artwork beneath a pile of old magazines.
  • Within two weeks of the start of term, your child is down to just three school socks.
  • You find it hard not to burst into tears yourself when your child comes out of school crying because his BFF doesn’t want to play with him any more.
  • Your child, who has to be dragged out of bed at 7.45am on school days, wakes at 6am every single morning during the holidays.
  • Your head feels itchy at the very mention of nits.