The end of the holidays

It’s the last dog days of holidays. Everyone is still going to bed way too late and all attempts to impose a gradual reduction in bedtimes are failing. No-one listens to warnings about the first week back. No-one wants to think about the first week back. All black school socks appear to have vanished into thin air over the holidays.

Daughter one has her sights firmly set on the end of May when secondary school ends for her and her life can finally begin after years of school target stress, which is a shame because she is genuinely interested in learning. Daughter two has injured her foot is some sort of kamikaze jump across the sofa and hence was unable to accompany her mother and only son to a bouncing session at the local trampoline place, forcing her mother to bounce when she was not exactly in a bouncing kind of mood – it being a week before everyone goes back to school, she felt the need to conserve energy.

Daughter three and only son have been hiding out in their room giving it a makeover. This was number three on my list of things to do in the holidays – after cat training and obstacle courses for which we substituted something called football rounders – an interesting combo of both sports. Daughter three and only son have created a “cosy corner” in their room which involves fairy lights and teddies, but mainly sweets.

Only son is very excited to be returning to school in Key Stage Two, given that the classroom has a toilet and he has read the whole of Ratburger over the holidays so considers himself smart enough for “seniors”.

I was having a conversation with him the other day about X, one of his friends who got into a fight in the playground and was kicked by a group of boys some months ago, though, fortunately, he was not injured. I asked if only son had witnessed this and said that it is never okay to kick someone who is on the ground and especially not to kick them in the head. Only son takes such things to heart. “Yes, mum, the brain is the biggest muscle in the body,” he said. There was a pause. “Perhaps we should have a minute’s silence for X. He may not make it through the next few days.”  I then had to spend a while reassuring only son that X was in fact fine, though he had been fairly upset at the time, while re-emphasising my original message about kicking.

Only son picks up on most things that happen in the house, which includes the news. I asked him how he knew about the one minute’s silence. He said he had done it at school a few times. “I’m afraid we didn’t do it for George Michael, though, mum. School didn’t seem to notice that,” he said, remembering how upset I had been about George Michael’s death. This is just a small measure of his thoughtfulness. Only the other day when daughter two injured her foot, only son, who gets rather concerned about even the smallest of injuries to his person, stated that he had a face injury that had been bleeding. “How did you get that?” I inquired. “Just a minute, mum,” he said and went into the kitchen to consult daughter three. Apparently daughter three had scratched him “by accident” and he didn’t want to get her into trouble.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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