My new parenting normal.

It’s a pity most of the generation who parented through the war have gone now. I could have done with their counsel. What do you do when the pressing danger and emergency measures go away?

It was nigh on impossible to discipline children in the depths of the pandemic. You couldn’t take their screens away for long – they needed them for home-learning. We were all grounded already. But we were in a global emergency. We were fighting to keep a killer virus under control, so we could forgive ourselves.

The structure we used to have no longer works. Fourteen or fifteen months after that first lockdown and I have a different family. My youngest may still have the charm of a four year old, but he’s off to high school in the autumn. My daughter used to sign up for every extracurricular activity she was offered, but now would watch anime all day if she were allowed. My livewire son is almost calm, which is just as well because he’s over six foot and would otherwise be hard to contain.

We’re hoping my eldest didn’t leave school yesterday, and there’ll be a place for him in the sixth form.

It turns out, he could get called back to provide more evidence for his final grades. But before I realised this wasn’t necessarily a great watershed moment, I indulged in a good cry. Not for him – he’s looking forward to what comes next. For myself.

I can’t help thinking about the serious little man during his first term. He was articulate, bright and gentle. We assumed he’d sail through education. But so much of life since then has been explaining him to his teachers and making sure he’s allowed to reach his potential. But now, wherever he ends up, he’ll be regarded as an adult. Unless he gives me permission to interfere (and which teenager willingly does that), my fighting/ explaining days are over. How do I show I love him now?

I’ll be fine. I’ve been making him a lot of tea recently. I’ll find something better soon.

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