I have three kids. Those of you who know me know this. Those that have bothered to read my ‘About’ pages will also know. As will regular readers. So for those of you who are new (where have you been?) I have three children. Two boys and a girl.
I had them close together. Deliberately. For a few reasons. One, I started late and needed to get on with it; two, I wanted them to get on; and three, I was very close in age to my own oldest brother and it worked well for us. There are three and a bit years between Eldest and Youngest. Middlest is, well, in the middle of that somewhere…
Overall it has been a good decision. My children are a ‘unit’. Wherever we go they are together. Ready made playmates. They are tight. It has always been the way and even now they are 12, 10 and 9 it still holds true, although Eldest is pulling away a little and tends to stay with us more whilst the other two maraude off.
But then his younger siblings also entice him into things he might otherwise feel too cool for. For instance recently at a local fair they persuaded him on a bouncy castle slide that his 12 year old self may have considered beneath his advanced years. Of course he had a ball.
They have a lot in common. A love of all sorts of sport. Playing and watching. Competitiveness. Music. The same school. Being outdoorsy. A liking for terrible Disney Channel shows. Shared history. In jokes. A love of inventing madcap games (recently they spent four hours in the paddling pool playing water polo, in six inches of water)…
Even now, when friends are very important at school, they still spend all their weekends and holidays together. They don’t seek out friends particularly. Although they could knock on doors. They just ‘are’. Together.
Don’t get me wrong we don’t live in utopia. They fight, squabble, hurt each other deliberately and by accident. An awful lot. But fundamentally they do get on.
I really want this to continue. Although I know it will get harder as adolescence creeps in.
For instance tonight after a day spent in the pool on holiday and an hour of family football (which nearly killed me, I am sure I will find some energy to write about that at some point) Youngest’s hair was a chloriney, sweaty, tangled mess of knotted bum length strands.
She and Middlest got in a warm bath together. I hung around ready to assist with the hair washing. I wasn’t required. I merely spectated surreptitiously from behind the door as Middlest lovingly gave his sister a hair wash. Carefully applying and rinsing off shampoo and then conditioner. Advised by Youngest on how much and where to apply it. Tipping her head around in the shower to get all the suds out. Asking if the temperature was OK. I heard him remark that it was just like they ‘used to do after football’. Before we moved house and she got her own shower room. He had missed it. So had she.
I guess at some point a brother and sister will stop this sort of behaviour. For modesty. Naturally. This might be the last year on holidays that they do such a thing. It nearly made me weep to think of it.
I am sure something else will take its place instead. I hope it does.
For what great lessons they learn from each other. How to treat the opposite sex. How to be a decent member of their own gender. How to fall out and make up. How far to push. How to negotiate. How to fail. How to say sorry. And how to be unconditionally loved.
Nice. No1 was nice to No2 this evening. She spent all week negotiating, cajoling, reasoning, bullying her way to the top bunk on the last night of the holiday. But when she won the coin toss, No2 cried. A few minutes later she offered her sister the top bunk. Ten minutes later she was trying to milk it, but the initial act was kindness, rather than pecuniary advantage.