Part of the joy of having more than one child has always been standing on the outside and looking in at they way in which their relationships are building and developing as they figure out what it’s like to be a three, and how they each fit in to the puzzle.
With Kitty and Elma it’s clear that Kit is the ringleader. Where she goes, Elma follows, devoted, innocent, and usually all too willing to let slip a few secrets about whatever mischief it is that they’re planning. Kitty at five has very definitely figured out that you might not want to tell Mama and Daddy all the details if you think they might not think something a brilliant idea, even if she still has no way of keeping her subterfuge off her face, and Elma’s happy disclosure and the resulting glares from her big sister are one of those moments when you have to work really really hard as a parent to keep a straight face. They’re never doing anything particularly pixie-like, they just think they might be, which makes it all the funnier. Of course once you add Pip into the mix the whole dynamic changes again. He adores his sisters, but any request from Kitty to play a particular part in her make believe, or any request from her in general, is met with a beaming smile and then a cheerful disregard as he potters around doing whatever it was that he wanted to do.
He is so sweet with her though; his adoration mostly taking the form of launching himself into her arms at unexpected moments and trying to give her kisses by face planting, open-mouthed, on the nearest bit of her. She loves it, and finds it deeply frustrating that he won’t play as she says in equal measure, but when evening comes and we’re all tucking up on her bed for the bedtime story, she’ll happily tuck him up on a pillow next to her, and if he can’t have Mama then a Kitty-hug is a pretty good thing in his book.
The biggest change that the start of school brought was the chance for Elma and Pip to find out how they fit together when it’s just the two of them and it’s so lovely watching that friendship go from strength to strength. Perhaps it’s because their age gap is smaller than between Kitty and Elma, or perhaps it’s the size gap, or lack thereof, but they play together so much more as equals. Elma is the leader, sort of – she decides what to do and then Pip will copy her so they end up copying each other in everything, from racing around the lounge to playing one of Pip’s frequent games of hockey/football/golf/cricket/anything with a stick. Pip has a habit of ambushing her for hugs in a move that is half a hug and half a full on rugby tackle. She could probably just about withstand it if she knew it was coming but so often the first you know of Pip’s hugs are that they’re both lying on the floor. She doesn’t seem to mind though – especially if he’s willing to play at being pushed around in the toy pram, something that he’ll rarely do for Kitty.
These pictures came from our recent day out to Charlecote, taken while we pottered and explored and found the fairy dell and tree stumps perfect for hopping on. And at the end of the formal garden we sat for a little while, looking out over the sunny meadow, watching the deer and watching the people watching the deer; Kitty looking so very grown up of late, Elma happily preoccupied with her own thoughts, and my little Pip Squeak, just about hanging on to his patience to let me take a couple of photos.
Two little sisters, and a brother too, in one of my favourite ever photos of the three of them, in April:
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