That increase in traffic which has added 20 minutes to your journey into work can only mean one thing: The school holidays are over.
While many parents will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that their little darlings are out from under their feet, others – like yours truly – are experiencing entirely different emotions.
My little ’un, Mina, starts school in the next few days which means that I am (all-at-once) sad, proud and mithered to death.
It’s not like we haven’t planned for this day.
The Hello Kitty lunchbox and water bottle have been in the cupboard for months, along with the bottle green sweaters, grey pinafores and white t-shirts.
We’ve put in the hard yards with regards reading, writing and arithmetic.
Mina has had stories every bedtime without fail since she was six months old and has been doing mock homework with her big sister since she was three.
She turns five in a couple of weeks and will therefore be one of the oldest children in the class.
Nevertheless, I can guarantee you that when she puts her uniform on for the first time there will be tears. There will be from me, anyway.
I can only recall one thing from my first few days at Holden Lane First and Middle School in Sneyd Green back in September 1976.
I remember that my coat peg had a boat on it.
I loved that little boat but I have it on good authority that it didn’t prevent me from screaming the place down when my mum dropped me off – every day for the first week or more.
Apparently, I clung to mum’s leg for grim death and had to peeled away from her by the nice Mrs Holmes.
Of course, things have changed a lot since those days – apart from the coat peg scenario – but I am still viewing Mina’s arrival at school with trepidation.
I am sad because there will be no more ‘daddy days’ at home with my little girl.
No more trips to Asda for tea and toast after we’ve walked the dog.
No more cuddles on the settee while watching Scooby-Doo.
No more priceless little chats with Mina about everything from what is the point of belly buttons to what goes on in heaven.
I really will have to get stuck into the housework, now.
Yes, however you dress it up, your child’s first day at school is a great leap into the unknown.
They say you never get two the same and my girls are like chalk and cheese and so I can’t even look back on Lois’s first weeks at school for pointers.
Thus I am currently beset by the same nagging fears I had for Lois.
Will Mina remember how to button up her cardie, zip her coat and remember all the dos and don’ts of toilet time?
Will she make friends or be left standing there on the playground at lunchtime looking all forlorn? Will she be picked on?
Will she have the confidence to stick her hand up in class and ask a question or tell the teacher when she knows the answer?
Hang on a minute, this is Mina…
She thinks nothing of handling creepy crawlies that would have most girls (and some grown-ups) hiding under a quilt.
She stood on stage in front of 800 people at The Regent Theatre during the song sheet for my pantomime and sang Baa Baa Black Sheep to Jonny Wilkes.
She swims, rides horses and is built like a pocket battleship.
Come to think of it, the only real concern I have is that Mina remembers that she is not actually Black Widow from The Avengers cartoon and therefore keeps the simulated martial arts in the playground to a minimum.