An ode to neighbourliness

Something wonderful happened to us a few weeks ago. We got neighbours!

I should probably explain that our house is on a large, battle axe block backing bush, in an older, established street. We only have one house actually next to us, and the people who live there are older with grown up kids – which is pretty much the same for everyone else on the street.

But then a new family moved in just over the way! With three children – a girl Little Miss’s age, a boy Picasso’s age and another boy a little bit older than Bookworm. Yes, it really couldn’t be more perfect. They all get on like a house on fire, and so far they have been for bush walks, played spotlight, built a cubby in the bush, played bikes and basketball, made a rope swing and established a kids club, and Little Miss is just loving having another girl around to play dress ups and fairies and do handstands with etc etc. Also, the Mum is just beautiful and I think will be a wonderful new friend.

Watching it all happen has really reminded me of my own childhood, growing up in a lovely community neighbourhood, where we were all at each other’s houses all afternoon playing outside or in the street. My memories of childhood are all kind of soft and golden, like a photograph taken on a late summer’s afternoon. I am so glad my kids are having that experience – I just love that when they get home they can’t wait to go exploring in the bush or play on the rope swing.

So here’s to good neighbours and great community!

There’s something about siblings

I find the interaction between my kids frustrating, sweet and fascinating all at once – probably because I am an only child. Here are a couple of the things I find the most baffling…

Their seeming preference for annoying each other over just calmly getting along
I really, really don’t get it. If you are walking past someone, why would you stick your foot out to trip them over? If everyone is sitting watching TV happily, why would you deliberately move your leg so it is touching your brother, thus causing angst and turmoil for everyone within earshot? The other day in the car, Little Miss was in uproar because Picasso wouldn’t stop “smiling” at her. I mean, how offensive can smiling be?? I often feel like I am repeating the mantra of that Guy Sebastian song – ‘Can we all just get along?’ Only I am not singing it, I’m screaming it from the next room where I’ve hidden myself away from the racket.

Their obsession over equality
Does it really matter if someone has an extra teaspoonful of chocolate sauce on their ice cream? Really? Or that two of them got three minutes of extra iPad time because the other one was in the toilet?  Or that two years ago I bought someone a 30 cent soft serve cone and promised one of the others I would get them one another time and I didn’t and of course the other hundreds of soft serve cones I’ve bought since that day don’t count because I bought them for everyone. Are siblings all defense  attorneys in the making??

It’s enough to make your hair stand on end.

But of course there are also things I find adorable…

They know each other better than anyone
Better than I know them, in some ways. Picasso knows exactly what kind of muesli bars Bookworm likes and the kind pasta sauce Little Miss doesn’t. Bookworm can tell you what book Picasso is reading and whether or not it’s his news day. Little Miss knows her brothers’ favourite ipad games and which Skylander Picasso wants for his birthday. The other day Bookworm was upset and embarrassed about a problem he had, and he didn’t want anyone to know – except Picasso. It really makes me see just how it is siblings ‘get’ each other like no one else does. And now they are at at school they have these cute conversations about lunchtime and the library and what teachers they like and what happened at assembly. It’s lovely getting a glimpse into their little shared world.

Their affection is steadfast
It never ceases to amaze me how you can be yelling at someone one minute, then playing and laughing in literally the next. How Bookworm scrawled, I hate Picasso on his doorway after a blow-up, and then right next to it, wrote I love Picasso just the next day. Or that Bookworm can be fed up to his backteeth with Little Miss, but still spend half his saved pocket money on buying her presents and writing her a beautiful card. I think something I’ve subconsciously worried about over the years is the fragility of relationships – that if you argue with someone, you run the risk of ruining the friendship. I also think part of this is because I haven’t had brothers and/or sisters to scream and shout at, but know that at the end of the day none of that matters.

So all in all, I’m glad I had three kids – if nothing else, it’s very interesting to monitor them as an ongoing social experiment 🙂