Janet Christie, Mum's the Word: Come home Middle Child, we need you

I'm walking home from work when Eldest texts.'What's for tea? Might go to Other Parent's.'

“What’s for tea? Might go to Other Parent’s.”

His choice of venue depends on what I’m offering. Other Parent’s lasagne is much preferred to mine (“from the supermarket, not your homemade stuff,” according to Youngest) and his Schwäbisch Maultaschen (big fat German ravioli) are the dogs. They’re also shop bought and transported from the Fatherland, I like to point out but, “it’s the way he prepares them,” says Youngest, “The frying.”

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I’m happy to lose the Parental Bake Off if it saves me cooking, so text back a calculated, “Baked potato, possibly with cheese.” That’ll get rid of them.

“Yaaaass! That’s your best one. See you soon,” he texts. Oh.

Never mind, after I’ve fed Eldest and Youngest with my signature dish, the cavalry rides to the rescue in the unlikely form of Middle Child who returns from his Algarve sojourn next week. His text is either a complete fabrication or a herald of hope.

“Working hard, built banisters and big stairs out of crates, also a new bar to tie the horses to when the cowboys come in at midday. Tomorrow I’m on pizza team, rolling the dough from 8am until 1am next day. Last week two of us rolled 700 pizzas, fast work, great fun, speak soon, love you xx.”

I’m thinking ‘700 pizzas, I could take two years off. The problem would be storage…’ when another text pings.

“I’ll make us pizzas when I’m home.”

Woah. Middle Child has a habit of reading my mind, and if you were as familiar with the mind of Middle Child as I am, that’d worry you too.

He continues: “We should get a blackboard and chalk in the kitchen, write what food needs to be eaten and stuff. Very useful here.”

He can have a blackboard, chalk, one of those little blowtorches for crème brûlée, anything he wants. This is going to be sweet.

“Gonna be hard to leave this place, but easy to come home, xx,” he writes.

I can’t wait. Come home soon Middle Child. n