Our kids have never had uniform before; at the Waldorf school they wear their own clothes within reasonable bounds. He has no problem wearing the same thing every day, in fact he probably prefers it for making his life simple. I used to have to steal his clothes away from him after a few days of continuous wear as it was. I’m the one struggling with the new problem of white poly-cotton school uniform shirts, whose collars instantly acquire a dirty stained stripe on contact with sun-screen.
My super-woman status definitely does not extend to laundry. I tend to separate it out into whites and darks, chuck it in the machine and consider it clean. But those bright white shirts, with the grimy collars even after washing, threw out a challenge. The stain remover spray didn’t work, nor did the bicarb (baking soda). The final solution after much Googling was dish washing detergent. In the US it’s Dawn, but here in South Africa I tried our emerald green Sunlight. And it worked! For a nasty moment I thought I’d only succeeded in dying the collars green, but luckily the colour washed out, leaving the collars almost looking like new. Phew!
I may be the last mum in the universe to have newly discovered this laundry rescue remedy for removing sunscreen grime, but in case you are struggling with the same problem – here is the recipe.
Recipe for Sparkling White Shirt Collars
Take one white shirt collar, engrained with a tide line of dirt and sunscreen
Soak it with a generous dash of ordinary dish detergent
Scrub it in and leave to marinate for twenty minutes. * see edited note below
Add to the rest of the ingredients in your washing machine and wash as normal.
Hang out to dry and sparkle in the sunshine.
Repeat daily in term time.
As for the homework, I’ve always reckoned that our children were supposed to be doing it by themselves. I’ve helped a bit when necessary but tried not to interfere too much. But how do I resist an appeal to help with a book review, which has to be 150-200 words to include a summary of the plot and an assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. He’s never had to do anything like it before.
My professional pride is tickled and I give various insightful and useful tips, restraining myself from jumping in to try my own hand at it. But it still turned out to be a collaborative effort, as our opinion was sought at every stage, especially in the editing it down to within the word count. It then had to be set out as a Word document with a picture and printed off, so I was able to advise on formatting and sub-headings.... but after so much involvement, now I want to know what marks we got... really it’s no fun helping with homework if we don’t at least get a Very good or a gold star or whatever carrots are doled out in high school these days.
Repeat to myself three times daily: “I must resist becoming a helicopter parent at this late stage in the game.”
Edited to add: This recipe worked well for a while and then on some occasions I found it hadn't worked. I amended it thus and now it works perfectly every time:
After soaking the collars, scrub them a little under running water before adding to the wash. It doesn't need to be entirely scrubbed out; this just loosens it enough that the wash will do the rest.