child genius series with excitement.
You see J got through to the very final audition stage. He was picked out as being one of the brightest kids in the UK. After a series of tests and interviews, including several hours of filming in our home, he made the top 30.
We went up to London for a further day of tests and interviews and it was after that we found out he hadn't made it to the top 20 who end up on the televised programme.
Despite it being J's idea to keep progressing as far as he could through the selection process (we had begged him not to once we had watched last years programmes on 4OD), he wasn't too disappointed when we broke the news to him that he hadn't quite made it onto the programme.
It meant we could go away on holiday to Paris in February half-term and then again on holiday glamping in May. So that more than made up for any disappointment.
The way things have progressed with Trinity's diagnosis of JIA and hospital visits has meant that we would have been unlikely to have been able to continue with the filming schedule anyway. Back in January on that Child Genius assessment day with her leg in plaster, we still believed it to be a short term injury.
So things did work out for the best in practical terms.
But now having seen the programmes aired, it's so much more than that. I'm feeling so grateful that we had a lucky escape. I was in tears watching Kale return to his seat after scoring zero in one of the rounds. He pounded a fist on his heart and mouthed 'it hurts on the inside', repeating that statement twice.
We'd seen this programme criticised in the media. But our experience was that the crew made J's experience a positive one throughout the selection process, so I felt the criticism wasn't justified. But seeing this wonderful lad, Kale, with so much going for him, feeling like that just broke my heart.
No kid should be made to feel like that.
Some people put the blame firmly on the parents, saying they are too pushy and put too much pressure on these kids. But I'm well aware of how much editing goes on and how the production crew need to have a 'story to tell' so I suspect it's highly edited footage that we are seeing in the final cut.
Even our favourite, Thomas, who seems to be a firm favourite for the title, is receiving bad press. With the 2nd July issue of Waitrose Weekend stating that 'Thomas, 12, is obsessed with financial markets, so will probably bankrupt the country one day'. We love Waitrose and with the cookery courses we have done with them and D has done and how supportive they've been towards our children, I was actually quite stunned to read this. I know it's intended as a bit of a joke but imagine how Thomas and his family would feel reading that. These are real children and real families with emotions and feelings.
It was Thomas and his family who sat next to us on that audition day back in January and they were one of the loveliest families we've ever come across. Thomas was such a kind caring lad that oozed happiness and enthusiasm. He smiled all day despite his heartbreaking background story of losing his dad at such a young age. He is incredible.
We heard first hand from him that his primary motivation for applying for the show was to show that not all parents are pushy and that kids can be exceptional whilst having kind, caring, supportive parents who are proud of them no matter what.
We were really proud of how well J did and how far through the process he got. But the reason we were so proud of him was not because of his intelligence or academic ability but because he was overcoming some of the difficulties he faces with his aspergers by putting himself forward.
We know he was very much out of his comfort zone in all of the interviews he undertook, yet he gave it his best shot. The tests were a different matter as he adores tests and we suspect he did really well on the academic side of things and it was just his final interview where he probably came across as a pretty well rounded kid which meant he didn't get through.
He wasn't boastful. He didn't show off. We weren't the 'pushy parents' that the programme likes to portray. So he didn't make the final cut and boy was that a lucky escape!