It seems that for our September Siblings portraits we managed to find the one and the only day so far in September that has been even the least bit Septemberish. For the record, future Carie reading this, this month so far has been the kind of hot that makes you want to peel off your skin and sit in your bones and we have loved it. We’ve had the paddling pool out, the children spent almost all of yesterday afternoon running a mud and rose petal milkshake cafe in the corner of the garden that will eventually be home to the new playhouse, and then we gave them a long cool bath to wash the mud off and get them comfy enough to sleep. It makes pictures of wellies and waterproofs seem rather incongruous.
When I was at home on maternity leave for that wonderful year after Pip was born we went to the park almost every weekday. Its advantage, apart from being walking distance from our house, was the nice rubber matted little people play area with a bright yellow fence all around. No-one could run off too far while I was pushing their sister on the swing, and the matting dries so much more quickly than the grass. We frequently had it to ourselves, which is possibly because it was also frequently raining. I remember the first time that Kitty went down the fireman’s pole, the first time that Elma could climb across the ladders by herself, and the first time Pip was big enough to come out of the sling and actually get stuck in crawling around after his sisters; it was one of our happy places.
And yet since I went back to work (a year ago – wow!) I’ve only taken them a handful of times. Part of it was Kitty starting school and the impact that had on our lazy afternoons, and a good part of it was just plain not being around. But it must be in my maternal muscle memory, because when everyone was getting a bit fidgety, and Kitty had turned down blackberry picking, despite desperately wanting blackberries in her packed lunch, I fell back on our old favourite.
The playpark hasn’t changed, and the girls dashed off to try to get the roundabout spinning fast enough to fly, but it was one of those moments when everything is both so familiar and yet changed. Even walking up there it felt different. Pip walked the whole way, sometimes holding my hand, and sometimes running ahead with his sisters, and it was suddenly so clear that I have three children now, not two girls and a baby. Pip can’t quite keep up with them on everything, but he’ll have a pretty good try, and he’s clearly doing well enough that the girls include him in their games without thinking about it.
Where the girls are concerned Pip is their adored baby, the third collaborator in their master plans, the pain in the neck that destroys their lego, and the innocent who they can persuade to do all sorts of mischief that they know really shouldn’t be happening. At times I suspect they rather miss the cute cuddly and immobile little baby that he once was, but not that much. The older the three of them get, the more fun they get up to together, and the more mischief; and there have been more than a few of those moments of late where I know I have to be the sensible adult and set the boundary for what should be happening, but inside I’m trying not to kill myself laughing.
And so I stood at the park, and for the first time in ages I wasn’t needed to help someone across the climbing frame, or lift them onto the slide, or even set the roundabout going; they had it all under control. It’s not always like that, but it’s a taster of where we’re headed, and it’s both exciting and bittersweet at the same time.
Two little sisters, and a brother too, being all grown up, in September:
Do go and say hi to my lovely cohosts; Lucy at Dear Beautiful, Katie at Mummy Daddy Me, Amber at Goblin Child, and Keri-Anne at Gingerlilly Tea; and to show us your sibling photos just link up below or come and play on Instagram under the #siblingsproject and tag @siblings_project_