I love both my children in equal measure. But I do play favourites. Little Princess Pink is my favourite girl and Little Monster Blue is my favourite boy, and I tell them both that often. The trouble is, when they get together they drive me more than a little bit insane. There is just over two and half years between them and it’s fair to say that when LMB arrived, a certain (some say spoiled) girl wasn’t best pleased, and I recount regularly telling people that as siblings they had a love / hate relationship. LMB LOVED his big sister. And she hated him. Yet over the years they have bonded and formed a relationship which continues to centre on the love / hate theme, though in a much more rounded and balanced way. They very often have periods where they LOVE one another. “Oh wee guy, you are just so cute and funny.” (said in the voice a sweet elderly lady would use when saying Coochie Coochie Coo to a newborn in its gigantic Silver Cross Pram) or “ Come and play tea parties in my room, we can make Candy Floss!” or “ Look at mine Cow, him says Moo-Mooo. You play mine farm with me.” It’s a delight to hear.
Then of course there are times when they cannot stand the sight of each other and seem to both be on a personal mission to see who can be the most annoying, irritating and more shockingly, cruel to one another. The invite to ‘play in my room’ is sporadic and not always doled out with a degree of comforting regularity. Many a door has been slammed in the other ones face, and many a time one has forcibly been evicted from the other ones room, with much weeping and wailing. They battle often, and growl and grimace at one another over the breakfast table. They tell tales on one another that would put Jack-a-nory to shame. But I accept all of this, as I’m no stranger to having a sibling, and I know it’s to be fully expected that they won’t always see eye-to-eye. What I find of most interest however, is how my relationship with them as individuals is so much better (and I tend to find I don’t use that horrible shouty voice I hear myself using and think, who on earth is that scary lady?) whenever the other one is not there.
Take last weekend, Little Princess Pink and I went on a mightily fine jaunt to London town, where we spent lots of time with my best girls, and bubs, and with each other. We giggled and rolled our eyes at the funny American lady next to us on the airplane who whilst dozing, snorted loudly and woke herself up. We ‘ooh-ed and aah-ed’ at the sights across London as we rode high over the murky waters of the River Thames on the London Eye. We laughed heartily at my reaction to my bottle of water falling out of my bag whilst we were surrounded by pigeons and I had a mini cardiac thinking an actual pigeon had just flown into my back. Her behaviour was impeccable. Her manners were ever present. She was a sheer delight to be around. Super Daddy reported much of the same back at the ranch. Little Monster Blue was a gem, they sat on the sofa with their pizzas in boxes, and bottles of beer (LMB’s being a cranberry juice in a glass bottle which he truly believed was beer for children. Is that wrong?) and they had some good proper father and son time together. There were no tantrums (from either of them) and much fun was had by all. Yet, five minutes in the door on our arrival back from London and the scary lady with the shouty voice was back. The most heinous of crimes was committed when LMB ripped up LPP’s guide to the London Eye (Sorry Auntie Jo) and she bit down on her bottom lip hard and retaliated by telling him that Hercules Morse As Big as a Horse (from the Hairy McClary books for those not in the know) would come and bark in his ear. I found myself counting down the hours to bedtime.
This week has been a momentous week in which Little Princess Pink started school. She has as a result been the focus of lots of attention, and we’ve been careful not to leave the big guy out. Nevertheless, he still went into nursery each day, all day, and LPP and I spent more quality time together on the ‘three and two halves’ days that she wasn’t in school (tsk, to ‘phasing in’.) Again, we’ve had a lovely week together. A cinema trip, a last minute school shopping trip, a mammoth tidying of the toy cupboard / wardrobe and art boxes all passed without incident. Likewise, on Friday morning, between the hours of 8.45 and 12.30 when Little Princess Pink was at school, the big guy and I had a tip-top time together free from tears, tantrums and telling tales. We went to Tesco and LMB happily sat in the trolley without the usual squawking and demanding that he walks beside his big sister. He did however reveal halfway round the store that he thought we were going to a disco, not Tesco, perhaps explaining the excited reaction from him when I’d first mooted the idea of Tesco. We coloured in, emptied the entire contents of his toy box on his bedroom floor and put it all back away again, and had a jolly good time in the process.
School pick up went without a hitch, LMB being extremely excited to see his big sister, and her equally so. Home for lunch, a quick change of clothes and out to the soft play to meet friends was on the agenda for the afternoon. Yet we’d only been in the door for somewhere in the region of 11 minutes and I found that the scary lady with the shouty voice was hanging around again. Lunch descended into nothing short of a chimps tea party. Changing of clothes was met with great mirth and a strop or two. Apparently being seen in your school uniform in the soft play is the thing to do. Getting in the car and getting seatbelts on was preceded by a squabble over who was getting to sit in the front – easy answer- no-one, you are 5 and 2, deal with it. In the short time it took us to get to the soft play, LPP had according to LMB ‘snapped his arm’, she’d broken her heart in the manner you’d expect if she’d been told all childrens’ television was ceasing to exist and LMB had folded his arms, stuck out his bottom lip and declared ‘I’m not talking-a you’ when I mentioned in passing that it was their favourite macaroni cheese for dinner. I give up. And, yes, that all sounds fairly tame, and some may say I need to deal more appropriately with squabbling, strops, huffiness and horridness, but it’s just. So. Frustrating. Once again, I find myself counting down the hours to bedtime. Then bedtime comes, and reading to Little Monster Blue is a fun affair, he is at the stage where every story is his favourite and they are all rather hilarious, made more so by his insistence that I read every story in a funny voice. Settling Little Princess Pink down is the same, we chat amiably about the best parts of our days and chuckle as one tries to top the other with how much we love each other – ‘To Pluto and Back a million gazillon gamillion times. Or ‘more than vanilla ice-cream with a flake on top.’
And so I settle them both down, kiss their sweaty foreheads and bid them both goodnight, count my blessings, remind myself why contraception is so important going forward and pour a big glass of wine. Aren’t I an awful mummy?!