This weekend we reached peak sleepover. Daughter two was off to London for a birthday sleepover at her best friend’s house. Daughter one is on an extended sleepover/exchange in Madrid. Daughter three had invited a friend around and only son, once he got a whiff of sleepover-mageddon invited his best friend over so as not to be left out.

He announced his plans on Tuesday after school pick-up, adding: “Can I use your phone, mum, because I am sure xx will forget to ask his mum so I need to do it for him?” I told only son this betrayed a troubling lack of trust in his best friend. An hour later I caught him trying to text his best friend’s mum with lots of emojis. I deleted the text just in time as daughter three had not yet confirmed her sleepover by this point. The next day only son’s patience had hit its limit. He marched out of school and straight up to his best friend’s dad. “I am sure xx has forgotten to ask you, but can he come for a sleepover on Friday?” he asked bold as brass. Only son is developing organisational skills on a par with daughter three. He has already invited a select group over for a sleepover to see his “new room”. I had mentioned that at some point in the future we might look to have the loft done. I’m envisaging turning the house into bedsits for when the kids get older and can’t afford to move out. In his head, only son has already moved into the loft.

I told his best friend’s dad that maybe another weekend would work better because I could envisage an all-out battle for the tv taking place if two sleepovers were to occur on the same day – daughter three, a sleepover fanatic with her own website called Sleepover tips and an extensive collection of sleepover books and data, had arranged a musical movie extravaganza for her friend. I knew only son’s plans would involve a Just Dance spectacular. Plus I had to be up early to pick up daughter two.
Friday loomed and daughter three outlined her sleepover plan which involved a late night session at Tesco. Apparently Tesco is more exciting after dark. I got back from work to find everyone on the trampoline in the dark waiting to go on a shopping session. I had told daughter two to whatsapp me when she got to her sleepover. There were no messages. Daughter one was similarly non-communicative from Madrid despite having been sent a picture of only son holding up an “I miss you” sign in the morning and a news alert that only son had his first loose tooth. I sent several messages to daughter two. “Are you there yet?” I rang her phone, but it went to voicemail. I then remembered that daughter two’s best friend’s sister was in daughter one’s band and that I have her mobile on a handy list in the kitchen which is marked with the words ‘only use in emergencies and do NOT say anything embarrassing’. I rang it. It went to voicemail. I left a message and loaded people into the car to go to Tesco.
It turns out Tesco now has a car park fee and you have to remember the last three letters of your number plate to enter in the car park machine. It was Friday and it had been a long week. The entire number plate had been wiped from my short term memory. The car was on the other side of the car park and only son was in a very bouncy mood. Someone announced that the first half hour was free. “Quick, kids. Let’s hit the supermarket. We have 28.5 minutes,” I said. Why is my life constantly lived against the clock?
We zoomed round the supermarket, lingering a little too long at the “American section” [sugar central] and were out in 27 minutes. Result. We headed home and it was only then that I realised that my phone’s WiFi was switched off. I turned it on and up popped around five messages from daughter two. “I’m here,” they all announced. “I really am here,” said the last one. They were followed by a string of messages from daughter one. “I really miss only son too,” said the first one. There was a 10 minute pause between the first message and the next one. “And everyone else,” she had added. This was followed by a third message: “I can’t believe I am missing his first loose tooth.”  Only son whatsapped her over the weekend giving her a full 360 degree view of his front teeth.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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