Christmas is many things, but there’s one aspect of it that you don’t hear much about in the consumerism-obsessed, slick advert-soaked world of the media.
I’m sure though that it’s one that most parents will be aware of: that extra little weapon it adds to our armoury in aiding our little darlings in their eternal battle between Good and Naughty:
“Father Christmas is watching!”
I’ve written before (here, and also here) about how Ellie seemed to be going through a ‘girly’ phase, how she’d told Jake that he was no longer her best friend, & that it was instead a girl from their little playgroup. Jake seemed a bit sad when she told him, as he said Ellie was still his best friend.
On Saturday while I was in the kitchen making lunch for them, I heard this wafting in from the lounge:
Jake: “So I’m your best friend now?”
Jake: “I’ve always loved you”
Ellie: “And I love you”
I walked in on a great big cwtch.
My eyes met with Jake’s & we shared a smile…
Definitely a Magic Moment 🙂
For more magic moments just click the pic:
Last week I wrote a post for Tara’s Gallery on her terrific ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog about the special twin-bond between Jake & Ellie. It seemed at the time that Ellie, as they get older & more independent, had become a little distant from Jake as she was making new friends.
They go through phases, don’t they? Or maybe she had the lurgi & we didn’t notice so much. Or quite possibly Ellie just likes to prove me wrong!
Whatever the reason this week she’s been really loving & affectionate, not only with Jake but also with me.
I’ve been picking them up from their little playgroup this week. Usually when I do Jake gets really excited & runs towards me shouting “Daddy! Daddy! You’re back!” before jumping into my arms. Ellie is usually more reserved, but this week she’s been beating Jake to it, welcoming me with a big hug.
As usual this morning she woke up first & went downstairs ‘on her bum-bum’, then Jake followed a little later, in the same way. As soon as she saw him she ran up to him, saying happily: “Hello Jake! Are you alright?” then giving him a massive hug. Twice in the morning she hugged him again, saying “I love you, Jake”.
It’s moments like that that make all this Daddying stuff worthwhile…
The “best friend” thing is still there, although I found out just after that post that only girls can be Ellie’s friends – I’m not even her friend now! – so I guess Jake & I shouldn’t take it too personally. At the moment Jake’s best friend seems to alternate between a boy at playgroup – who, by sheer coincidence, has an iPad that he lets Jake use* – and Wibley Pig. Who, as far as I know, doesn’t have an iPad.
Actually they’ve both been in unusually good spirits all week. Often there’s grumpiness & tantrums in the mornings & evenings but in the last few days there’s been very little. I’m not really sure what it is: recovering from illness, our having had a nice 3-day family weekend where we spent a lot of time & did a lot of fun things together.
In the light of the terrible tragedy of a fellow parent blogger who I’ve come to know over the years I’ve felt moved to give them extra care & attention, so that could well be a part of it.
Whatever the reason, long may it continue
* For short periods of time & under supervision
We’re fans of Attachment Parenting here. Throughout their young lives the only times the twins haven’t been with either me or the Mummy they’ve been with the Mummy’s parents, & even then never for very long. We always try to give them us much attention as we can: to talk to them, listen to them, play with them, laugh with them, comfort them. We feel very lucky that we’re able to spend so much time with them as I know many parents simply aren’t able to, however much they might want to.
Since moving to Wales we’ve been taking them to a kind of pre-Nursery group a few days a week, like Nursery but with fewer children & which seems to get out & about a bit more.
The main difference with this new playgroup, apart from it being more than just the usual hour or so they had before, is that for most of the time – for the first time in their lives – we’re not with them. They’ll be going to Nursery soon so we want to get them ready for being in a group with us not there. We’d been worried that they might be distressed there without us: it wasn’t too long ago that they would freak out at a playgroup even if I had to go away for a few minutes to use the loo or to change one of them, although they’ve been OK with that in the last 2/3 months.
So how is it going? I’m actually starting to feel a little redundant! One day last week when the Mummy picked them up Ellie ran over to her, said “Hello Mummy” & gave her a hug then ran back to carry on jumping on the trampoline. Monday she really did not want to leave & went into the biggest meltdown I can remember her having, lasting a good 5 minutes. Van Morrison in the car seemed to calm her down eventually! The woman who runs the group – let’s call her ‘Karen’ – is terrific & Ellie in particular gets very excited whenever we even mention her name. Hmph! It’s nice to be needed…
This morning when I dropped them off there were 2 other little girls there. Jake went up to 1 of them & gave her a great big hug. She just stood there looking a bit confused: I’ve seen that a lot when the same has happened in other playgroups. Apparently her brother is about Jake’s age & is often quite aggressive with her: she’s more used to being whacked when he doesn’t get what he wants than being hugged.
He’s there too some days, & this morning ‘Karen’ told me that after seeing Jake being so affectionate that he himself has been hugging his sister there, instead of just lashing out. I’m not in the habit of welling up in front of strangers, but… That little guy made me such a proud Dad!
I like to think that his, & Ellie’s, affectionate & sociable nature is in part at least due to the love & attention that they’ve had from us, that the hard work – if you could call it that – is paying off.
I’m probably being overly simplistic but I think that with children you tend to get back what you put in: give them love & they give love back & are loving to others. If they’re neglected they become insular & nervous. If they grow up with anger they are more likely to become angry & aggressive themselves.
I’m not pretending that they’re little angels – far from it! The do all the normal 2-year-old things like fighting over toys, & lashing out at each other & us in frustration when they can’t get what they want. But the love is there & it shines through every day. And that’s what matters, right?
So how about you? How much time are you able to spend with your children? Do you think it’s as important as I do? Or are things like providing for them materially & keeping a clean & tidy house (which we often don’t!) more important for your family?
Like this? You may also like:
- What is Attachment Parenting? (ivillage.com)
I love the way they greet me every morning with the 2 most beautiful loving smiles I’ve ever seen
I love making them smile
I love Ellie’s “Eh!” verbal hug
I love hugging them
I love it when they reach up for a hug
I love Jake’s ecstatic, delirious, tonsil-exposing laugh
I love Ellie’s squeals of delight
I love making them laugh
I love carrying Ellie on my head, & so does she
I love bench-pressing Jake, & so does he
I love watching them play
I love watching them play together
I love playing with them
I love the games we invent together
I love it that when you play with one the other laughs too
I love singing to them
I love dancing with them
I love that they seem to have a new facial expression, noise or gesture every day
I love watching them grow & develop: gripping, clapping, waving, sitting, crawling, standing
I love the way they try to talk
I love the way they try to talk to me
I love their determination
I love that they were born only 2 minutes apart yet are so different
I love their apparent intelligence
I love it that they smile when I make a joke even when if they don’t get it
I love sharing in their joy of discovery
I love seeing everything as fresh, new & exciting as if through their eyes
I love their love of company, of both children & adults
I love it that others love them
I love it when I can stop them from crying
I love that I can feed them when they’re hungry
I love that when they want to sleep but can’t that I can give them the sleep they want
I love that when they need to sleep but won’t that I can give them the sleep they need
I love how beautiful they are, inside & out
I love them, they love each other, & they love me
I love that
For Tara Cain’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers