Sometimes I worry about my children. Do they fight to much? Should I get involved when the shrill screeches of "She stole my shirt" and "She took my hair straightener without asking" reach such decibel levels that the neighbours curtains start twitching and the dogs take cover beneath the sofa? When one child has been playing on the computer for too long and another intervenes. Physically? With fists? When someone has used up her allotted time on the family laptop but STILL won't give it up? "I NEED it to DO my HOMEWORK!!!"
But when I said something the other day Ellie looked at me as if I had two heads.
"Mother" She explained, as though talking to a little child "we're sisters. That's what sisters do"
Well thanks for telling me! And I guess she should know. She's got three. And I only have a brother. We did fight, but not about borrowing clothes, makeup or hair styling equipment. (thank goodness, I hear my mother say)
And the children do seem to get things sorted out by themselves. Bethany for instance has taken to hiding her makeup from Ellie's itchy fingers by secreting the goody bag in Jessica's closet (I am just waiting for the day that Jess discovers this treasure trove and comes down to breakfast made up like a clown)
And The older two have taken to locking their doors against potential predators.
And usually we can straighten out who has a turn, when and for how long with the aid of a kitchen timer (for giving a "times up" reminder) a firm voice from Mummy (we said Rebecca could use the computer after 5 minutes Jessica) and a trusty wooden spoon (just tapping it gently onto your palm works wonders, as they usually remember very quickly how it felt across their knuckles when they didn't take you seriously last time).
And if I needed a reminder of how much they do truly love each other, there was this morning, when a very tearful Jessica came into our bedroom, sobbing that she had just had a very bad dream. As I cuddled and consoled her, I asked what the dream was about.
"I dreamed that I had 10 brothers and sisters and none of them were Beth, Ellie or Rebecca. And I was so sad!"
They may have their falling out. They may not always want to share. They may despair of each others habits. But they couldn't face the thought of not having each other. Love is definitely a sister.