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I’m sorry to tell you that now is the time to work out what your kids are going to wear on Christmas Day and/or New Year or whatever other celebratory events you having coming up during Winterval.

I’m not being hysterical! Leave it until mid-November and absolute everything will be sold out in your child’s size.

It may be that you have a cupboard-full of party wear already – you may have a child who likes  dressing up, fine fabrics and things with a sheen. Your daughter might be into it, too.

But Kitty is an unstoppable tomboy. She climbs trees, skids along the ground, falls in the mud and puts tears and holes and indelible stains in all of her clothes. She lives in jeans and sweaters and trainers, all of which she manages to trash within weeks – it’s a talent of sorts. If I forget to put her hair in bunches, people take one look at her ragamuffin clothes, her Louise Brooks crop and call her “sonny”.

So party-wear is a specific special purchase and can usually only be worn once or twice before it is grown out of. In a fit of mania I once bought Kitty a grey chiffon dress from Bonpoint for something like £145 – she had wiped sausage grease on it within half an hour.

I ran screaming, bearing the garment aloft, to a bowl of lukewarm water with an added dash of fine fabrics washing liquid and massaged it gently, singing soothing lullabies, until the stain was out. But it was too late – the chiffon had already shrunk so as to unattractively reveal the silk underlay. I was so disappointed, frustrated and felt so foolish that I briefly wept.

Anyway, I’ve learnt my lesson – no more wisps of neurotic fabric from Bonpoint. Also, skirts don’t work – Kitty always ends up with them on backwards or caught on something or halfway up to her armpits. She needs a nice tunic or, better, a pair of shorts in a jazzy fabric (i.e. velvet) with a very washable but festive jumper over the whole lot.

Zara Kids has had a new load of party clothes arrive on their online store and I was practically dizzy, with something I could only identify as lust, as I scrolled through the collection. Also, being on it so early in the year meant that I had the pick of the crop and was not staring down the only three hideous dresses left in Kitty’s size howling “Who the fuck has bought EVERYTHING in size 4-5???”

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Sam, of course, being a boy, can just go to every event no matter how smart in his blue cords, a cotton shirt and a nice knitted sweater. He’s got no idea how lucky he is.