Poppy loves to help me look after her baby sister. Although her ‘help’ can often be easily mistaken for a massive hindrance (or probably torture from poor Milly’s point of view), it’s incredibly sweet and something I’m having to find ways to manage (sometimes with a slightly forced smile and fake positive tone) rather than discourage (tips anyone?)
However last week my two year old mummy wannabe really took me by surprise. When I asked her to keep an eye on Milly in the lounge while I popped upstairs, she proudly replied, “I’ll give her a massage.” I turned round to see her rubbing her baby sister’s wonderfully chubby legs with surprisingly gentle dexterity much to the delight of my littlest girl. At this point, being the mushy fool I am, I did well up slightly (before quickly whipping out my phone to capture the moment on camera of course).
Being a mum to a toddler and a baby is seriously hard work. There are moments where my patience is tested beyond limits I even knew existed. In the last four months I’ve had to take more deep breaths to hold it together than ever before – in fact I’m not even sure this technique works anymore! I’ve realised for the first time that I’m in fact the not-so-proud owner of a short fuse that has shown its capability to epically blow and an impatience with moaning that makes me feel hypocritical if I even attempt to think in a whiney tone myself. Although I know I’m being the best mum I can be, there are moments I haven’t been the mum I dream to be. Yes, sometimes fun mum, running around energetically in the park, baking cakes and being gloriously crafty has had to give way to narky mum who gets grumpy and starts counting down to bedtime by early afternoon. But then there are moments, like the massage one, when I realise, everything is actually going surprisingly well. We have ups and downs. We have meltdowns and mellow moments. We’re normal rather than picture perfect. But with Mr J by my side, we’re together bringing up two amazing daughters who already have a touchingly special bond.
Milly’s face lights up and her smile gets even brighter when her sister is in the room clowning around to provide her with entertainment. And for any moment where Poppy feels a little bit jealous that Milly has gatecrashed her world, there are about a million where her little sister’s surprisingly huge belches, fits of gurgles or mega watt smiles can dissolve her into fits of giggles. They are sisters not just in name but through and through.
This was why the massage moment particularly touched me last week. Because I could see, even at such an early age, such a natural sibling bond between my girls. I could see a relationship growing that I know from my own experience will become one of the most important and cherished in their lives.
Also, on a more practical level, it made me realise how worthwhile doing those baby massage classes have been. But I’ll save that for another post.