E+E Column: It’s a Love/Hate Thing

All summer long Sophia and Isaac have swung between fighting like cat and dog or being thick as thieves, giggling and playing lengthly complicated games that I daren’t interrupt. Whether they’re going to have a good day or not seems to be predetermined before they even encounter each other after stumbling out of bed and by 9am I usually know how the rest of our day is going to pan out.

It’s frustrating as a parent when they’re having a less than harmonious day. On those days every single word and action of one has the effect of annoying the other, regardless of it’s intention. It seems as if they cannot be left together unsupervised without one ending up in hysterical tears after some slight wrongdoing. These days are long and they are tiring. The only solution I have found is to keep them separate where possible or otherwise constantly occupied. Not particularly satisfying as solutions go, especially when you’re trying to look after a baby, cook and fit in a bit of work alongside refereeing the warring parties.

But, (and thank goodness that there is a but), when they’re having a good day there are a delight to watch and spend time with. They are kind to each other, they cooperate to dream up complex games that entertain for hours, they cuddle, they giggle, they stand up for each other, and they seem to have endless fun. Being only two years apart means that more or less, they can play at the same level and one of the most heart warming moments I’ve experienced as a parent was when I woke up at a rather late 8.30 (I blame the baby!) to find them quietly in the box room, making creations with hama beads together. Upon chatting to Dan, they’d actually been in there for over an hour, working silently side by side as they slowly woke up to the day. It made me so happy and proud to see them working and playing together so peacefully.

It is those moments that I need to remember to cherish. Because despite the fact that there are days when they seem to squabble from sun up to sun down, these days are probably the minority – although it doesn’t seem that way when you’re in the middle of one! And actually, it is blindingly obvious that, bickering aside, they love each other to bits, they enjoy each others company and are loyal to the end. When I think back to my childhood, yes, I do have memories of us all annoying each other and fighting with my big brother but the majority of my memories with my siblings are of climbing trees together, looking after the little ones and happily wiling away days playing together. And I am happily and quietly hopeful that my three will have the same recollections in thirty years time.


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