If I told you that I bribed the children for these photos with lemon drizzle cake you might be forgiven for thinking that the three of them had inhaled half the loaf. Believe me, my friends, believe me, when I tell you that that had had not a tiniest taste of the lemony sugar crystals that drift across the top, not the slightest scent of damp sponge nor heard the tiniest crinkle of its cellophane prison. They don’t need sugar to spend Sunday afternoon rugby tackling each other over the front lawn, they simply need to be back together.
Their separation had been neither lengthy nor without purpose; Kitty and I spent most of Sunday at a birthday party for one of her dearest class friends, heading off mid morning leaving John with the little two, a radiator to remove from the wall and two large bags of plaster. After having only each other for company, both Elma and Pip were utterly delighted to have their big sister back in the fold, and chose to demonstrate this in time honoured tradition by alternately trying to push her over, and smothering her in adoring hugs. She in return spent most of the time trying to get them both in head locks for the photos as her best idea as to how to make them stay still long enough to be in focus. It’s love, pure and simple.
As we went back to school for the second half of term at the beginning of the month it’s been really interesting to see how this school year, when all three are in separate classes, has shown up in their individual development and in their relationships as a little trio. I always think of the bonds between them as being somehow elastic, a line between Kitty and Elma and a line between Elma and Pip with one big band keeping the three of them roughly together. At any given time, one of the bonds will be stretched as one or two pull away from the rest, and one of the bonds will be slack as they become closer together despite the age difference, and no matter where there’s tension, it all seems to even out in the long run.
Sometimes the stretch will be between Pip and the sisters he calls “m’girls”, and it was very visible last summer when they were in the same class at school and Pip was still the little baby at home with Daddy; they had a shared vocabulary of songs and experience, and were less interested in involving Pip the destructive in some of their make believe, for somewhat understandable toddler tornado reasons.
Right now the stretch is between Kitty and the littler ones; she has thrown herself into school life even more so than last year and is just soaking up every scrap of information she can lay her hands on. A lot of her learning is through singing and reciting verse (with actions) and she got beautifully peeved with me the other night because I got stuck reciting the last section of Skimbleshanks (from memory, in the dark) when to her mind a poem is something you say a couple of times in class and then you’ve got it (Mummy’s brain holds far more useless information than yours sweetheart, there’s less space available for railway themed poetry). I love hearing her singing around the house or trying to test my entirely non-existent German. If it’s got a bit of a latin root then I can have an educated guess but “curtains” and “chalk” were entirely beyond me.
Last week saw our first lantern parade (we missed last year’s because it was too far to travel) and it was so sweet to see her off with her class and all their gorgeous papier ache lanterns, right in the thick it, while Pip and Elma stayed back with us to wield paper box lanterns and admire the tea lights glowing through their painting, and sniff the paraffin burning in my vintage hurricane. Kitty’s class will be starting to gear up to their end of term festival soon and I will move heaven, earth and meetings to be there to see what thriving really looks like.
And with that stretch, the slack has fallen between Elma and Pip; with only 20 months between them, once Pip left his baby days behind him, the age gaps was only going to close, and at quite some speed. Pip has caught up, and while Elma is still learning and growing and changing every day, she isn’t doing it so speedily that she’s dashing away from him again. They’re pretty much the same size, though Pip weighs more, borrow each other’s clothes and spend half the time considering their wellies to be entirely interchangeable and the other half protesting loudly if you present them with the wrong ones.
Next year they’ll be in the same class and I can see them playing together in class far more than Kitty and Elma ever really did. In the last week Pip has spend a morning in Elma’s class (and looked pleased as punch at being so grown up) and Elma has spend a morning with Pip, just because they wanted to be with each other. They’re a contented little pair and without Kitty in the picture they treat each other as equals which is both adorable and on occasion leads to some pretty impressive falling out. But after all, isn’t that what being a sibling is all about.
Two little sisters, and their brother too, in November:
Do go and say hi to my co-hosts: Donna at What the Redhead Said Natalie at Little Jam Pot Life, Keri-Anne at GingerLily Tea, Amber at Meet the Wildes, and Katie at Mummy Daddy Me. Our fearless leader, Lucy at Dear Beautiful, has been laid up poorly so you might want to pop back later in the week for her post but in the meantime go here to see her latest big news. And then link up your Siblings posts below, and if you’re joining in on Instagram if you use the hashtag #siblingsproject and tag @siblings_project_ we’ll be able to see them too!