Pickle is beginning to assert herself, and it’s clear that she will be Taking No Prisoners. She rampages around the house, looking at everything, climbing up everything and pulling over or eating everything in her path. You can hear her coming before you see her. Bom – she’s decided to come and see you – bom-bom – she’s heading this way – bom-bom bom-bom bom-BOM – ta DA! She’s HERE with her four-toothed grin and sticky-out hair! She growls in triumph. She bounces up and down on her nappy-squishy bottom. She is queen of all she surveys.
Ziggler is in two minds about this development. In her favour, she thinks Pickle is funny. She likes playing ‘peepo’ with her and she enjoys having crawling races. But Pickle is getting a bit too much attention for her liking these days; she likes playing with Ziggler’s favourite toys and it has to be acknowledged that she is a bit growly and bity.
Watching them together is fascinating. I usually start off a bit Joyce Grenfell – ‘gently, Ziggler. Gently. Gently please. That’s not gentle enough.’ and always end up screeching ‘GENTLY!’ and diving across the room to wrench the two-year-old’s arms from round the 10-month-old’s neck as they plunge to the floor together in a potentially fatal death-hug. There’s not much point in telling off 10 month old but I do it so Ziggler feels I’m being even-handed. Pickle has a particularly joyous grin she keeps for these occasions.
Having a sister myself, I’m interested in how their relationship develops and keen to encourage them to love each other. Being the younger sister I’m trying hard not to favour Pickle when refereeing their squabbles.
Sausage and I have grown up with stories of sisterly spitefulness, like the time when she was three and I was one and she STOLE all the best Christmas presents and gave me all the rubbishy ones and my parents couldn’t say anything because, after all, it was Father Christmas who’d left the presents and not them (my parents will never, ever stop telling this story at Christmas time, a fact I find hilarious and Sausage less so, quite rightly feeling she should have been forgiven for this transgression by now, thirty five years later). Then there was the time Sausage sat on the loo and pretended to be doing a very long poo while she timed me to see how fast I could tidy our shared bedroom. And, ok, I was very occasionally horrid too, doing things like listening in on her teenage phone calls and reading her diary. But I think we both feel that our sisterhood is one of the best things about our lives and part of that is being able to have enormous screaming rows and still love each other afterwards.
I hope Ziggler and Pickle have as good an experience of sisterhood as I’ve had, so I’m determined to let them have their fights and only intervene when serious injury threatens. They share a room now and I hope they’ll want to for a while so they can whisper and giggle and do ‘shows’ with their teddies after lights out. I hope neither of them will be horribly dumped by some Jack-the-lad knobber but if they are, I hope they can call each other up to sob/commiserate. And I sort of hope they conspire in naughtiness against me, but you can ask me that again in five years or so.
One of Ziggler’s favourite things to do is to push Pickle on the swing in the park. I just watch. They both giggle. Each is, for a minute or two, entirely enough for the other.