The special bond between siblings, the joy that you feel welling up inside you the very first time that you see them playing together or holding hands whilst out walking. Or how about the moment when one of the darlings falls over and grazes his knees, tears in his eyes he cries out and his bigger sister goes to him and gives him a cuddle and tells him 'it's ok I'll kiss it better'. Growing up with a permanent friend who is always there for fun and adventures. Parents contemplating their second or subsequent babies run these idyllic images through their minds along with such other optimistic meanderings such as ' they can play together - it'll be so much easier for us when they have each other and don't have to depend on us for stimulation every minute of the waking day, they'll learn to share as they grow up too'. Mwhahaha you poor misguided fools ! You are indeed correct, the joy they bring each other at times is a beautiful thing, when it happens though you cling onto it as tightly as you can as a mental image to keep you going through the other 80% of their childhood which involves some or all of the following : pushing, arguing, sharing issues, attention seeking, whining, waking each other up day or night, biting , hitting , general winding each other up.
I'm not a child-hater by the way, far from it I have eight of my own ranging from 16 years old to 2. But sometimes you have to look at things honestly. The amount of times someone has said to me - ' so Annie, how's things going? Must be hard what with Kitty and Ozzy being so close together in age ' cannot be counted on my fingers and toes , or those of all my children either. I've chosen to have my children close together,, a decision I stand by but over the years the 'must be hard work' / 'you've got your work cut out for you' comments have rolled into 4 figures I swear. The problem is the reply ... I usually give a generic answer that rolls off my tongue - ' Yes, it's fine, hard work indeed but worth it - they are so close it's really nice ' .
After 16 years of motherhood though I am tempted to change the reply to a more honest one based on the daily experiences of someone with 2 toddlers at present. I was thinking of something along the lines of - 'It's been a f*cking nightmare this morning, they have constantly poked and prodded each other, whined and moaned, Oz has been trying to insert a small metal fire engine into Kittys ear and she's kicked him off on the sofa twice now. They were up at the crack of dawn, when one wakes up they make so much of a racket that the other wakes up and then they are in 'hyperdrive' mode until they have had breakfast. I have only had time for 1 cup of coffee all morning and was at the playground at 9 am just trying to wear the little sods out, I feel twenty years older than I am and I swear to god I have sprouted 50 more grey hairs in the past 3 hours'.
Maybe I should try it for shock effect just once when someone I dislike ever so slightly asks me how I 'cope'. I am convinced that the generic 'it's lovely they are so close' is just something that bitter parents of 2 or more say to those with just the one to stitch them up...