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My worst parent - Wayne's world of nail varnish

Wayne was a cheerful reception child. He was sociable and well integrated into my class. I was a young teacher with four years' experience, working in a school that served a large council estate in north London.

Wayne really enjoyed playing in the "home" corner. He would dress up in the clothes that were available and participate in cooking, washing and other role-play activities. He was never any trouble, a pleasant child who was not very academic but interested enough in learning and joining in.

I had little cause for concern over Wayne's behaviour or continuing development. He seemed to be making progress in all areas of the curriculum. So I was puzzled when his mother flagged up concerns she had during a parents' evening.

"I am worried that Wayne is always dressing up," she confided.

"I don't think that is a problem," I replied.

"Yes, but it's always girls' things which he puts on," was her reply.

"Well, I'm sure that it is only a phase he is going through. You shouldn't worry about that. After all, he is only just five," I assured her.

The next week, I was busy helping the children get changed into PE kit. I noticed that Wayne was having trouble with his footwear, trying to remove his shoes and socks for the gym lesson.

Imagine my shock when I found that he had beautifully painted toenails.

"Who has been busy painting your nails?" I asked.

"My mum," he replied.

"Whose idea was that?" I enquired.

"My mum's," he answered.

The writer is a retired teacher in Cornwall. Send your worst parent stories to and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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