Having four kids can be challenging at the best of times. I’m lucky enough to escape to work every day, so Mel has my infinite respect for being able to not only cope with all of them, but to manage them so well and not have high blood pressure as a result!
That’s not to say I can’t cope with them (and seeing as Mel has plans afoot to visit a friend for a weekend sometime soon, that will surely be put to the test!). It’s just that I have difficulty meeting their demands, and handling their differing temperaments.
That said, seeing them grow up, and the way they interact is a brilliant part of parenthood. My eldest, C, is naturally shy and sweet, but has a very bossy side. Middle daughter, A, is very considerate but also belligerent, something which I believe comes from her intelligence, and a wanting to always know more. Youngest daughter B’s character is still forming, but as a 2½ year old, her basic characteristics seem to be sweet and stroppy. My son is just a cheeky 7 month old, who’s already used to getting his own way.
The two eldest showed their specific traits over the weekend at their great-nan’s house. Middle daughter had been told off by Mel for something or other, and had been sent to stand in the hallway, just outside of the kitchen where everyone else was sat, and told to calm down. She was obviously upset at being excluded from what everyone else was doing, and started crying. C, ever the one to act beyond her years, went to comfort her younger sister.
A few minutes later, A came back into the room, visibly still upset. Sheepishly she stood at the door, swinging slightly on the handle.
“Sorry.” She said to her mum, barely audibly.
“What was that?”
Middle daughter responded by shouting, fresh tears falling down her cheeks as she did so. “I SAID SORRY!”
Both Mel and I are too old in the tooth to not know that an apology is always a quick way for the girls to get back into the fold, so Mel wanted to make sure that the apology was genuine, and that A, even at four years old, knew the reason she had been told off.
“Good girl,” answered Mel, “can you remember what you’re sorry for?”
“What are you sorry for then?”
Middle daughter glanced around the room, searching for the answer, before bursting into tears again and sobbing: “I don’t know! C didn’t tell me!”
The only lesson learnt that afternoon was that mummy and daddy cave in at the slightest showing of cuteness from their daughters.