It’s nearly 19 months since my littlest one was born – literally in a flash. It took all of 17 minutes for her to enter the world. She’s certainly full of life, as demonstrated by a party I recently attended where I spoke to literally no-one, due to the fact I was running after her constantly as she climbed stairs, got on the stage with her sister to start singing, talked to dogs, pulled their tails and generally tried to escape.
Her older sister is now 3 1/2 and also growing up fast, full of potential and ready to learn new things every day. It’s great to see the sibling relationship develop.
When littlest one was first born, my eldest was a bit bemused and used to give her the odd tap on the head, perhaps wondering if this thing was real and actually here to stay.
What I want for them more than anything is a good relationship which means they can support each other through their lives – life can be tough after all and what better friend to share the good and bad but a sister?
Of course they’ve reached a stage where bickering (nay wrestling) and general falling out is occurring. But I reassure myself by observing the following 10 ways that demonstrate to me they love each other:
1. They ‘fetch’ things for each other. This is impossibly cute. Just this morning, as I was struggling to get them out of the door to the childminder, the older one brought my 1 1/2 year old her pink cat “to cuddle in the car”. Similarly, 1 1/2 year old will fetch her older sister her favourite toy cat and pass me her eczema creams when she’s getting dressed in the morning.
2 – They care when the other one is upset. If my 3 1/2 year old is crying, I’ve noticed that the little one will give me a puzzled, concerned look, point at her and say her name. Similarly, 3 1/2 year old always wants to know what’s wrong with the little one if she’s upset and will think of things she might need to feel better.
3 – They engage in pretend play together. This has only just started to happen over the past month or so. Playing ‘tea parties’ is a current favourite, or ‘cottages’ using their playhouse in the garden.
4 – They spoon feed each other. At mealtimes, feeding each other is an endless source of amusement. It does make mealtimes stupidly long and I’m usually itching to tell them to hurry up, but I don’t as it’s so nice to watch.
5 – They share chocolate. Yes – if one is given a piece of chocolate, she will actually give a piece to the other. Not all of the time, obviously, but on occasion.
6 – They notice when the other one isn’t there. I’ve recently clocked that they both feel just that bit lost without the other. Just this morning I was getting the littlest one ready for the childminder and 3 1/2 year old was still asleep. She looked all concerned and asked for her, and then her face lit up when she saw her (and promptly smacked her on the face, shouting her name loudly to wake her up).
7 – They call for each other at night time. They have rooms adjacent to each other and after bedtime I can often hear littlest one calling for her big sister and giggling. I can see this is a sign of things to come – bunk beds have already been requested!
8 – The older one teaches the younger one words. I love watching this – every so often 3 1/2 year old will sit down with her little sister and commence language prep, for example “say pink!”, “now say cheese!”.
9 – They’ve started to gang up on me. Quite alarming for this to happen so soon – the other day they demanded the television on when I already said no, and started a united front which involved them both shouting at me whilst forming a barrier to me entering my own lounge. I resisted, and yet I wonder for how long I can keep it up.
10 – They cuddle. A lovely point to end on – they do cuddle each other at various points throughout the day.
At the end of the day, after the little one has had her story, they have their own ritual which involves a kiss and saying night night to each other. I like having that special moment for them and I hope they remember it in years to come.
Let’s just hope this ganging up malarkey doesn’t last or they’ll be turfing me out soon!