Janet Christie:Testing times for middle child

Food, advice, clothing, it seems I'm giving my kids way too much of a good thing. And it gets on their nerves. Who knew?


It’s the morning of Middle’s driving test. He’s up early sitting at the kitchen table revising tread depths and the like and I can tell from the angle of his head he wants to be left alone, but no, I just can’t help myself.

“Need a hand?” I say.

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“I could ask you questions. Test you. It’s 1.6mm by the way.”

“Yep. I’m good thanks. You helped me lots last night.”

“OK. Make sure you have some breakfast then.”

“Had some.”

“Because you need to eat.”

“Yep had some.”

“Have a banana and cereal. And apple juice and a coffee.”

“I’m good tha… Yes, OK I will.”

“So you’re ready for the test?”


“Remember to…”

“Mum, please don’t give me any advice,” he says, rising. “Don’t say anything.”

He leans down to kiss the top of my head, moves swiftly to the door, then turns and says: “Just wish me luck.”

“OK. Good luck…”

I’m silent as his footsteps pad to the front door. Then, I can’t help it...

“Did you have some breakfast?” I call. Then follow up with: “Remember it doesn’t matter if you fail. I’m proud of you anyway…”

The door slams.

“Take a hat...” I shout.

A couple of hours later he’s back through the door, beaming.

“I passed!”


“Naw, I failed.”


“Naw, I passed.”

“Never mind.”

“No, I did pass.”

“Everyone fails first time. I’m proud of you anyway. Never mind.”

“No, I really did pass,” he repeats.

He passed! Words fail me.