I don't deny it. Everyday, I have to be a referee, a judge, a middleman, a peacemaker. Right, sometimes I just don't care because I figured out these two need to learn to negotiate and find ways to reconcile by themselves.
It can be something as trivial as who gets to press the lift button, who gets to open the letterbox, who gets to wipe the dinner table, who gets to read a book first, who gets to eat a sweet, who gets the cuter hair clip and so on. Sometimes, it will inevitably result in hair pulling, pushing, snatching, pinching and even hitting.
Yes, so it's not always rainbows and butterflies in my household no matter how many loving pics you see on my social media. Then again, that's just part and parcel of motherhood for any mum who has more than one kid, right? And well, it's not that I have many, I only have two and I feel my hands are full day in, day out.
That said, I have to tell you that I never, ever did have any tinge of regret having more than one. Double the kids, double the exhaustion, but double the joy. That came true for me and I can't say enough how the rewards by far outweigh the responsibilities.
In any case, having a young sibling made my big girl grow up overnight. This year, I witnessed her showing love and concern in a selfless way that made me pale in comparison. I saw her going the distance just to make sure her little sister was safe and sound every time we went out. I heard her singing lullabies and telling bedtime stories just like how I did. I felt for her every time she got bullied or beaten by the wilful toddler.
You know what's the most angelic thing about her? She LETS the sister squeeze, pinch, shove, push or hit her (Yes, I'm still working on the little one's somewhat violent way of showing her frustration), but she never ever retaliates. Sure, she might complain, she might whine and she sometimes weeps in a corner when it gets really painful. But all she needs is an apology, a hug and a kiss from the little sister and they will just make up. Every single time. If the little one is too proud or stubborn to say that she is sorry and refuses to go near, the big girl will not hesitate to go over to her and be the first one to give a loving hug.
I can't say having two kids makes me love the first more because I already love her so much, but it surely makes me appreciate having her more.
I can spell
Angel: Mummy, mummy, I taught meimei how to spell! She can spell FAMILY now!
Me: Is it? That's awesome, isn't it? Will you wanna show me? *half expecting the little one to say a string of gibberish*
Angel: Ok! Here goes. *says to meimei* Say F. Ariel: F!
Angel: A. Ariel: A!
Angel: M. Ariel: M!
Angel: I. Ariel: I!
Angel: L. Ariel: L!
Angel: Y. Ariel: Y!
Angel: See, I told you she can spell FAMILY.
Can't say I was expecting that, but can't say she was wrong too. In fact, the way the little one pronounced the letters perfectly and the way they echoed each other in unison, that just had to make my heart smile.
Hush, my little sister
It's not of a surprise to me that Ariel has been throwing tantrums, you know, those classic kind where she bawls for no reason and starts rolling on the floor. When Angel was this age, she had her fair share of such episodes too and I'm glad I learnt the best way to deal with it - just don't care. The more you care, the worse it gets because she gets the attention she was seeking. But if I ignore her pleas, after say ten minutes, it always works and she just suddenly gets over it and stops crying. That is why I can start to talk to her about it and teach her the proper way to voice out her needs and frustration.
Anyway, we were walking back home one day and when we got into the lift, as always, the kids took turns to press the lift buttons. Ariel has been trying to press the 'floor' button now that she is growing taller but since she is still not quite there yet, she didn't have the strength to press it properly. That was when Angel stepped in to help her and even though we told her she could then press the 'close' button, you can jolly well guess what happened. She started whining, complaining, pushed away the big sister and it wasn't long before she made a mountain out of a molehill.
Seriously. She cried all the way as we walked along the common corridor, as I opened the door and as Angel and I both took off our shoes, she decided to just sit down and cry it out. With every scream and every tear that she could master. I bet my neighbour thought that she just scalded herself or that I was torturing my kid or something.
As usual, it was pointless trying to reason with her at that point in time so I decided to move on with the chores and asked Angel to go play in her room too. After a few minutes that seemed like eternity when this sort of thing happens, the crying stopped and I thought maybe she just decided to call it quits since no one was willing to give in to her.
Then, I saw them playing in the kids' room and the big sister said "I went to hug her and tell her to stop crying. Then I helped her to take off her shoes, held her hand and brought her in to play with me. See, she's not crying already."
I swear to you, I was the one who could have cried there and then.
There I was, trying to console myself that I wasn't being unfeeling and hard-hearted by letting my child cry. And there she was, showing me what it means to be kind and have a heart of gold.
Come back, come back!
This was somehow a funny yet rather emotional incident that we had recently.
We were in a neighbourhood mall one day, just the three of us. I bought a chocolate pancake for Ariel who loves to eat it and she was happily munching as we slowly walked to the opposite side of the mall to get home.
She was very distracted by the shops and the passers-by and suddenly, she just decided to stop for a moment. So the big sister and I realised that and we stopped too, just a few steps away from her. The thing was, she didn't seem to notice us and when she got her concentration back seconds later, she turned around to look for us. And she looked in the wrong direction.
For some reason, she didn't think of turning around to see if she could spot us, and when she didn't see us, she decided to run. My first reaction was obviously to call out to her (ok, I admit I giggled a little first) and so I shouted "Meimei!!! Here!!" Not once, but a few times.
My yells did the reverse of what I wanted it to and as bizarre as sounds, my two-year-old could not decipher where the voice was coming from and so she ran even faster. Yes, still in the wrong direction. And the more I called, the more she ran. There, a toddler with chocolate stains all over her mouth, screaming "Mummy! Mummy!" and scurrying with tiny steps was enough to make anyone stare.
We were chasing after her when I heard my big girl give a loud gasp and she not just ran, she sprinted with all her might. You probably know she is a good runner and so yes, she caught up with the little sister within seconds saying "Meimei!!! Not here, we are there!!" and led the crying toddler back to my side.
I tried my best to soothe the toddler and assured her we would never abandon her. I told her we were right there beside her but she didn't see and instead ran away from us. I hugged her tightly and told her I could not imagine what would happen if she were to go missing. I can't let that happen, I just can't.
Then, I saw a look of sadness in Angel's eyes too and turned around to ask if she was feeling all right. She looked at me solemnly and said "Mummy, just now when I was chasing after meimei, I had tears in my eyes. I was so afraid I was going to lose her."
You see, these are the incidents so real and so raw that they never fail to strike a chord and make me an emo mum. For every fight or quarrel that happens, the pure love between the sisters goes a hundred times further in reminding me how blessed I am to have both of them.
I love them both and I know that deep down, she loves her and she loves her just as much too.