The night before I gave birth to my second daughter, a horrible, dramatic, and (now) clearly hormonally fuelled thought flashed through my mind: I was about to ruin my firstbornís life. It was never going to be the same; we would never have the same bond, connection or time together.
After having my undivided attention, love and affection for two years, she was going to have to share me ó as well as her father, her toys and her room. In fact, for the first while she dare not hope for an even split; chances were the newborn was going to take up a lot more than 50 per cent of my attention.
I cried (OK, wailed) and mourned the loss of what I believed to be her blissful existence, all the while telling myself that it would be good for her, having a sister would be like giving her a friend for life, yadda yadda yadda. I knew deep down that the positive self-talk was true, as was a wee bit of the rest of it. There was no question that the addition of a sibling would be life-altering.
Five years later my girls are the best of friends. And the worst of enemies. You know what Iím talking about. One minute they are cheering each other on, pushing one another on the swing, and considerately lobbying for extra dessert on Sisterís behalf. The next minute they are pushing each other OFF the swing, eating Sisterís dessert and calling her names ó while sitting on her head.
How did Charles Dickens put it in A Tale Of Two Cities? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
That pretty much sums up our household experience day in and day out.
To put it bluntly, the stress of having these two going at it as often as they do can take its toll. With the flip of a switch ó or in our case the knocking over of Lego or snatching of a favoured doll ó no one is having a good time.
I get my fair share of one-on-one with the youngest; sheís only in school mornings, so spending quality time with Big Sister was obviously in order. Itís not the first time weíve had mother-daughter time on our own, but truthfully there hasnít been much of it. Finally, with the holidays past, visiting family packed and gone and rhythm and routine graciously returning to our lives, I whisked my seven-year-old off the city for a date.
After failed attempts at getting last-minute tickets to see Cirque du Soleil, we ended up on Lonsdale in North Vancouver lunching on yummy Malaysian cuisine and then trucking up one side of the avenue and down the other browsing bookstores, bakeries, thrift shops and the like. We managed to spend six hours digging through boutiques and unearthing treasures, sampling new foods, and learning that we really do enjoy spending a day in each otherís company. In fact, it was heaven.
No one yelled, stole the otherís cookie or sat on anyoneís head. Neither of us was even tempted.
Kirsten Andrews is offering a new Simplicity Parenting course beginning Feb. 2. For details visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or email email@example.com. Like Sea to Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook for updates and inspiration.