Excess baggage: when kids pack

Several airport-style trolleys full of excess baggage.

A few weeks ago, we had parents’ evenings for all three kids. And they all got glowing reviews from their teachers, which was nice. It seems that my belief that all of them are geniuses may not be completely unfounded. But then something else happened.

A few days later, they spent the night at my parents’ house as a half-term treat. Nothing big – a nice walk around the nearby reservoir followed by youngest introducing her grandparents to Encanto. They then had a lovely meal and sleepover.

But you wouldn’t think it was a simple overnight trip to a town a mere three miles away from us judging by their bags. You see, we thought it would be a good exercise in responsibility for them to pack for themselves.

Their bags looked pretty full as they got into my parents’ car. To call it excess baggage would be an understatement. They looked like they were off camping for a month. It wasn’t until the following day that we found out what they had – and hadn’t – taken with them.

To be fair, they all remembered their toothbrushes and that’s something plenty of adults don’t manage. Plus they didn’t campaign to take their Nintendo Switches with them in order to play Fortnite, so that was good.

All of them took at least three pairs of clean pants. I don’t know what they thought my parents were going to feed them, but it didn’t exactly scream of confidence on that front.

The nine-year-old – who, incidentally, has just been selected for a scholars programme – stuffed no fewer than four complete outfits into his rucksack. Sadly, these didn’t include pyjamas.

Youngest is probably the most thoughtful child I have ever known. Sadly this thoughtfulness didn’t extend to contemplating what to bring in her overnight bag. Among her haul were an activity book, four cuddly toys and some plastic food. I sense a culinary theme emerging here.

None of this mattered, of course. They all had a great time and got by with what they had packed. There were some interesting choices – sartorial and otherwise – but it’s all part of growing up and learning.

In other news, we’re planning a week away this summer. We’ll be packing the kids’ bags…

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