Dilly isn’t quite better after all, so I took Squiffany to her nursery school today. She looked very sweet in her little red and white gingham dress, clutching her blue book bag. It took me a few minutes to persuade her car seat into my car, as I haven’t shifted it for a while, but we arrived on the dot of 9. Several other little children were trotting towards the gate with their mothers or daddies or, in one other case granny, and it made me, unreconstructed 60s hippy chick that I have never realised I must be, a little sad.
Some years ago, there was a move away from uniforms. Most primary schools, apart from the private ones, gave them up altogether and so did some high schools; or at least there was a colour scheme rather than an actual uniform, but the mood has shifted over the last ten or fifteen years and now most schools have uniform. But these are 3-year-olds and the reasons for a uniform – that it promotes a sense of unity and pride in the school, tidiness, minimises competition for the newest and smartest clothes, makes the pupils more identifiable, etc, don’t really apply here. What it did for me, as I watched these little identically-dressed tots trot in through the gate, was to indicate that they were part of the system, losing their individuality, expected to conform; and I think they are simply too young to have to learn that dreary lesson. At least, for painting, they still use an old shirt of their dad’s, round the wrong way with the sleeves shortened. Won’t be long before the parents are expected to fork out for a regulation artist’s smock, I daresay.
Since then, by the way, she has developed similar symptoms to her mother, brother and her (now recovered) grandpa. Ro, Al and I are looking at each other in some trepidation. It would be most inconvenient for me to be ill any time before the 23rd, when I have a few fairly free days. Any time is very awkward for Al, especially if I’m not free or able to take over the shop, and any stomach problem gives Ro terrible migraines.