I feel like I am a constant referee at the moment as there's an awful lot of bickering and squabbling going on. They really seem to be testing the boundaries with each other, whether its taking a toy someone else is playing with, eating something off each others plate, running away with something treasured by another sibling and the odd yank of the hair, tongues being stuck out and voices raised.
It's been incredibly draining and quite frankly exhausting sorting out all these tiny disagreements which of course to them feel huge. I'm trying to pull some positives from this stage and have consoled myself in the fact that while they might be finding each other an annoyance at times, they are actually helping each other learn so many life lessons and skills which will be super valuable. They are learning about emotions, learning to consider others, how to share and how difficult that can be, they are learning to respect choice and difference, they are learning that we might not always like what others do or say and so much more.
Whilst every little intervention is frustrating and exhausting for us as parents it gives us opportunities to give the girls tools to solve these problems between themselves, to negotiate with one another and to remind them to be kind and gentle to one another. It's easy for us to forget that they are actually only 5, 3 and 1 and that they are very much still learning these skills and that our role as parents is to teach them and guide them through through each altercation.
Being all girls and very close in age it's also really easy to group them together as 'the girls' and I think it's really important for me to remember that they are all individuals developing and finding out who they are with very different personalities and strengths and weaknesses - there are bound to be clashes. There's probably also a little bit of sibling rivalry going on too and they seem to be vying for my attention and going about it any which way they can. I love being a mum of 3 but it is incredibly hard to give each of them my time and I often feel guilty that they have to 'wait a minute' more often than I'd like while I sort a sibling out.
With 3 children there are also several combinations of 'fallings out' which is probably why it feels like it's pretty constant. There are plenty of lovely moments between them too which are easy to miss when you feel like you have spent most of the day solving problems. This morning for example Miss Tib's let Miss Boo have the last packet of the variety pack cereal, Miss Dot climbed up on the sofa and cuddled up to her sisters and gave them both a kiss and Miss Boo let Miss Tibs choose the after school TV programme. So as much as they are battling they are also making peace and although I'm pulling my hair out a bit they really do love each other very much, as long as someone hasn't got a better kinder egg toy than them that is!