Thursday, 30 March 2017


We found out that baby #2 is a little girl and my first thought was

 ‘what on earth am I going to do with sisters?!’  
Here she is!

I didn’t have any sisters you see, I had two brothers. the closest cousins to us in age are boys as well so I spent a lot of time in male company as a child.
And I always wanted a sister.

It was my deepest longing for a long long time. I always had this feeling that any loneliness or otherness I felt would be instantly solved by the close kinship involved in sisterhood.
I inhaled books like ‘Little Women’ ‘What Katy did’ and even ‘Sweet Valley Twins’ which all include strong sister relationships. Literature has a lot to answer for when it comes to idealism!

I knew of course in theory that the sister bond was not completely perfect – for one thing my mother and her sister were demonstrably not close at all, yet the utopian idea of another girl to share the stuff of life with was strong.

A lot of my games with friends were about playing at being sisters, and I actually dressed my amenable little brother up in girls clothes on occasion (!) The door was finally closed on my hope for a biological sister when I was told that dad had had a vasectomy. Regardless I stubbornly spent the next year petitioning for our family to consider adoption.

Alas my plea fell on deaf ears and I gradually resigned myself to a sisterless existence.
As an adult I would watch the sister relationships I encountered with great interest. My best friend Emma and her sister Katie were always good to observe. There was an ease and strength to their relationship underpinned by a fierce loyalty to one another, a level of understanding and of belonging to one another that was new to me.

Now I should at this point pause to shout out to brothers – I love mine enormously, they are both wonderful loving and strong men who have formed me hugely, I was very privileged to share my childhood and adolescence with them and I am still glad to call them my friends as well as family. Yes I know what to do with brothers.

But sisters?

I worry that they will fight, that I will have these sky high expectations of their relationship and be disappointed with the reality. I’m worried about the hormonal teenage years (I was a nightmare as a preadolescent) my girls will be very close in age and while hopefully this will lead to firm friendship I am aware that it may also breed competitivity and resentment.  

This morning Clara rested her head on my stomach and the little one was kicking like crazy, I know she could feel her but who knows what she made of it. She’s still too small to confuse with existential truths about where babies grow. But It made me smile to think that she will never remember a world without her little sister in it.

In short I am excited for all the potential there is for these two to be champions of one another. 
Also I am nervous about how as parents we can best nurture strong and secure bonds between our children which will lead to wonderful lifelong connections, whilst allowing them to remain unique individuals.

Answers on a postcard please!