Reviewing the week’s achievements



Only son is going to be a published poet. His poem tribute to a jaguar has won him a spot in a poetry book. I slightly suspect that all 10,000 entries to the poetry competition may be being published somewhere and that this is just a way of getting parents to buy poetry books, but still he’s got a certificate and everything. The only problem is 1) the certificate has spelt his name completely wrong, much to the delight of his sisters, and 2) only son is adamant that he does not want to be a published poet. “I am NOT a poet,” he said most definitely.

The poem is based on random thoughts about jaguars, eg, thinking about jaguars’ speed, only son was interested in getting them to go even faster. He wrote: “A trainer would make you quicker, But you might eat them for dinner.” The last line is where he seals the deal: “I hope you get to Canada, Spotty jag-jag-jaguar.” For some reason, only son thinks jaguars’ ultimate ambition is to get to Canada.

It’s just one high point of the week. Daughter two told us on the school run that she had got the top mark in her history class for her “use of sources”. She claims not to know what a source is so this was good going. As my mum says, daughter two is the “dark horse” of the family. For her parents evening this week, she told me that on no account should I mention that her top reading choices are the Argos catalogue and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. “The teacher thinks I am a serious intellectual, mum, because I am very quiet,” she said. “In any event, I’ve moved on from the Argos catalogue.” I confess that I did mention the Argos catalogue at her Year 7 parents evening.

Daughter three then piped up from the back of the car that she had been chosen to do a Chinese exchange. “What, to actual China?” I asked, quickly followed by “who’s paying?” It turns out that she has been selected to buddy a Chinese student round the school and the exchange does not involve going to Beijing, but to the school canteen and back. Phew. Apparently it is a great honour and I am sure daughter three will be a great buddy and is probably boning up now on all things China.

In a rare show of interest for her mother, daughter one asked me how my week was going work wise. Usually she knows it is best to avoid this subject and switches off as soon as I start speaking and definitely at the bit where I list the latest technological problems I have encountered [this week the computer has started putting random lines of apostrophes in articles].

“I’ve had a good week too,” said only son. “I was doing maths and my teacher said that I had been very resilient.” “What does resilient mean?” asked daughter two. “It means that I have taken on a challenge and kept trying,” said only son. Everyone looked highly impressed, mainly because he knew what resilient meant.

Only son is having his first ever sleepover this weekend. Only son and his friend are like two shaken up bottles of Coke when they get together. We are all going to need to be at our most resilient to get any sleep.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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