Monday, 27 June 2011
M & O
This morning we were woken by the sound of Matilda and Owen tootling away to each other in their bedroom. My mind did a leap forward into the future. I imagined them getting up and playing quietly and happily together as I read my book propped up in bed and Fanf slumbered at my side. I can remember getting up and playing with my brothers. We weren't always quiet. We weren't always happy. But we were very often together. Now we're all growed up, my brothers are two of my best friends. Fanf is also very close to his sisters. We want Matilda and Owen to be great mates too.
Matilda can be touchingly sweet with her little brother. She likes to give him a taste of whatever she's eating, she's quick to round up Paddington and return him if he goes astray, she blocks off the stairs with the backpack to curtail potentially harmful escalades (and if he becomes too insistent she picks him up and dumps him unceremoniously at my feet) and she still gives him life-threatening hugs. She can also be jealous, aggressive and mean-spirited. Whatever he's playing with will be ripped from his fingers. If he tries to climb on the sofa when she's there she pushes him off. If she's in Fanf's arms she'll tell Owen there is "pas place" for him, that Fanf is "my daddy, pas Owen daddy". We think all this is pretty normal. We encourage all her nice behaviour but allow her to say if Owen is annoying her.
And sometimes the little tinker can be pretty annoying. He will paw at her face and pull her hair. Or he'll attempt to rip things from her fingers (though he rarely succeeds). But he also has his loving side. The pawing can soften to caressing and he loves nothing better than running about after her. I like to encourage this running game as it makes for nicely knackered little mini-beasts come bedtime.
I imagine the sibling altercations will only get worse as they get older. I fought tooth and nail with my brothers. Literally sometimes. We used to lock ourselves in the bathroom to fight so that mum and dad couldn't stop us. It didn't change the fact that five minutes later we were running around playing Thundercats again. Something I love about being with my brothers now is the feeling that with them, more than with anybody else, I can be myself. They know me, they've seen the best, and the grubby, grubby worst. I can brag, I can whine, I can do a big stinky fart. They won't judge. I won't judge them.
I sincerely hope that when Matilda and Owen are grown up they can do big stinky farts in each other's presence. And everything else that such loving familiarity entails.