Oh, the two of you.
You woke up earlier as I was on my way home from work and instead of battling with you to go back to sleep, as we usually would, your mama decided to get you up out of your cots to see me. I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by laughter at the door, to see your shining little faces on a Thursday evening when ordinarily I would have to wait until Saturday to hold you, to bury my face in your hair and remember that you are mine.
You helped yourselves to a cheeky plate of chips, even though you had already had your dinner and your bedtime milk. And then we played, properly played, catching you and tickling you and blindfolding you with my cardigan to make you squeal. It always makes me laugh when you slow down to ensure that you will be caught, you are so innocent in your expectation that we, the mummies, will amuse and delight you. Even Josephine-dog got in on the game, growling and waving her paws and doing that funny run where suddenly her back legs are almost ahead of her front.
You seem to grow so much when I don’t see you for a few days and this week has been no exception. How can you so suddenly know so many more words, how can your little voices be so clear? It always comes as a shock to me that when I leave our home, you go on – that the family are not put on pause whilst I am gone.
These are our last few days as a family of five. I know that I have been promising this for a while but this time it’s true. Before very long your our arms will be full of baby and you will seem suddenly oh, so big. You know, in an abstract sort of way, that your mother allegedly has babies in her tummy. You can point to her when you are asked where the babies are and you tell us, triumphant with your own knowledge, “Dere!”. But I’m not sure that you know what babies are. ‘Babies’, to you, are hard-headed plastic things that you like to rock vigorously, bash against each other and push at high speed around the garden in your little prams.
I am looking forward to spending some time at home with you. I haven’t spent more than a week at home since you were very small, so small that you barely looked like Nenky and Plumpkin at all. A part of me daydreams still about scooping you all up a day or so after the birth for a quick beachside minibreak, even though I know that after birth and with two newborns at home visiting the beach will probably be the last thing on my mind. But I want to chase you across the sand, to catch you and swing you and laugh with you. I want to introduce you to paddling in the sea and let you demolish my sandcastles and I want to buy you ice creams as big as your heads and watch your eyes widen at the cold.
So we won’t go to the beach. But we will go to the park. We will kick a ball across the grass and I will push you on the swings, the big-boy swings, because having watched your mummy swing on the big swings you are no longer interested in the safe, baby version. We will eat watermelon in the back garden even if it is raining and I will fill your paddling pool with warm water so that you shan’t be too cold. We will snuggle in the mummys’ bed, all seven of us, and we will watch In The Night Garden and Charlie and Lola because you love them, rather than making you watch Grey’s because I love it and because I’m hoping to subliminally influence you into medical careers.
And when I go back to work your mummy will still be here and still love you just as much, because the heart expands when new people come along. You may struggle to adjust for a little while but we will help you and soon, you will not be able to remember a time that you were not big brothers, that your little sisters were not there. And soon after that you will begin to love them, and they you. I’m not saying that it will be easy but I promise that it will be worthwhile.
With all of my love,
Your mother x
This is my monthly update for The Siblings Project, which I co-host with Lucy from Dear Beautiful, Katie from Mummy Daddy Me, Keri-Anne from Gingerlilly Tea, Carie from Space for the Butterflies and Annie from Fable & Folk. We’d love to have you link up below with your own monthly sibling update and also do check out the new instagram page.
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