G&T - 26-and-a-half months M - 4-and-a-half months
Is there any way to ensure your children will get on? As the second of three girls, all born within three-and-a-half years, who have always been close, I thought that was the key. Small age gaps. As fate would have it, I ended up having my own girls all within two years. Perfect. As G and T walk along holding hands, declaring they're best friends, and leaving old ladies cooing in their wake, I always feel a happy glow. They'll be buddies forever. But I can't help but worry about M. By most family's standards, she's pretty close in age too, at just 22 months younger. But that's not as close as one minute. The twins have grown up doing everything together, hitting every milestone within weeks and helping each other learn along the way. They can usually be found happily playing with each other, laughing about words they've just made up. It's fine that their biggest joy seems to be that Mummy has no idea what they're saying, but will M be let in? Will she ever be able to infiltrate the inner circle? When she was born, her 'eldest' sister, G, adored her from the off, grinning and stroking her. In fact, our biggest problem was keeping her away. She had a particularly troublesome penchant for delightedly shouting her name over her Moses basket when I'd just got her down... T was a bit more standoffish, seemingly irritated by this squirmy little bundle taking up all the space in Mummy's arms. But that's starting to change. M is just more fun now. She grins and laughs and grabs at toys, and is just generally more interactive. She's turning into a pretty fun toy, and T loves her now too. Last night, as I was cleaning the girls' high chairs, M was waiting in her bouncy chair, getting a bit tired and annoyed, until G and T started to have a jumping contest. M's eyes lit up, her face broke into a huge grin and along came the world's most wonderful sound. Baby giggles. She was loving it. And so were the twins. Once they saw the reaction, M was the only audience that cared about. They leapt higher and higher with every chuckle, calling M's name and competing to be in the best spot to catch her eye. That's when I realised. M is going to have it good. She'll always be the little sister, the baby. And that will always ensure she's fascinating. Every time she crawls, when she lands on her bum as she's learning to walk, those first few words... they'll all be made even sweeter because she'll have an enraptured little audience. T's right. She is a great new toy, and that means she'll be a prized possession for years to come!