Last week Amelie went off on a week long camp (more on this later!) It was quite strange to send her away; out of all of them, she is the loudest child in the house by a mile. She is also the dynamic changer and argument maker and all round household button pusher. We all love her to bits – obviously – but it is certainly true that the house is a very different place without her. For a week, calm, peace and relative tranquility reigned. There were no fights for the remote, no one to try and squeeze an extra favour or half and hour out of bedtime, or kick up a fuss because she’d actually been asked to do something to contribute to family life. Silence and affable communal living slid into being.
It was awful 😆
It’s a momentary snapshot of life in the grand scheme of things. My girls know only too well that life would be utterly desperate without any of their siblings and sadly they also know to be careful what they wish for. We’ve always had reasonable relations between them as well. Fran and Maddy absolutely never argue EVER; I can count the rows they’ve had on 1 hand even after 12 years of having them both. Fran and Josie never fight. Josie and Maddy only fight if Maddy doesn’t bend to Josie’s will. But Josie adores Maddy and knows which side her bread is buttered, so they rub along okay.
Amelie, on the other hand, gets into scraps with everyone – until they break. So far she has demoted Maddy in sibling ranking and she and Josie have an uneasy alliance which works mostly because Josie is like seaweed in the waves; she bends, but she is well rooted and she’s still there when the tide passes. Fran and Amelie, while mildly affected in sibling rivalry by many family standards, really rile each other. They are vinegar in each others paper cuts, determined to be the person to have the last word or end up with the moral high ground. It’s a shame because they are very alike in many ways in terms of their interests but Amelie is always wanting to get a rise out of Fran – she’s a prize wind up merchant – and Fran cannot resist trying to get her into trouble or knock her down a peg or two. It’s a good job they don’t tend to resort to fisticuffs – but I suppose that’s what personal injury lawyers arefor 😉 I can cope with the arguments, but I suppose I should be grateful that I’m not always breaking up fights, mopping up the ailments of ‘accidents’ and sorting out broken possessions. At least their animated discussions are fairly short-lived and don’t tend to end in broken noses. I still remember the boy who broke my school friends arm over a log to settle a disagreement 🙄
It’s funny to think that if we hadn’t had more than 2 children we really wouldn’t have ever known that the dynamics of siblings can be less than harmonious. Amelie basically wants to be alpha female in the house. Fran is next in line for subjugation and she has Max in her sights too. I think she knows she would meet her match in me so far, we had quite a long ‘discussion’ about this recently 😉 And it’s fascinating to watch when you know her, because while I ricochet between admiring her and wanting to throttle her but I also know she is as brittle and fragile as glass and so much of her relentless drive is a facade. I can well imagine Amelie doing very well as a career woman who will step hard on anyone who gets in her way, but I can also imagine she will go home at night and cry because she knows she is resented for any success she achieves. It could well be a lonely place to be, if she doesn’t learn to temper her drive with tact. And it’s funny, because I also know she’s a sensitive and genuine girl who would be broken if she actually knew how much frustration she stirs in her sisters souls. She’s yet to understand that the only effect of her actions is not how it makes her feel.
What differences are there in how your children get along? Do certain relationships between them work better than others? Can you pinpoint the reason why some are as close as terraced houses and others would be better set in their own stately grounds?