New Year, Co-Parenting And Sibling Bonds

For those who aren’t familiar with the arrangement, care of my eldest is split between her Dad and I 50:50. During term time we alternate nights and who ever picks her up on Friday from school has her all weekend, meaning we alternate weekends too. This works well (mostly) because she isn’t going straight from one of us to the other, but instead there is school cushioning the difference. It is how we have done it for the last 5 years. 

Sisters in matching dresses sitting on a sofa looking at an ipod between them

In school holidays we mostly alternate weeks to minimise the number of swaps between us. It’s always the change that M finds the hardest. In the past she would go from my house where she had 1, then 2 siblings as well as my partner to her Dad’s where it was just her and him. Towards the end of the summer her Dad moved in with his girlfriend and her son so at one house she has us and the other an older 'brother', her Dad and his girlfriend. 

On Monday evenings at mine after a weekend at her Dad’s M struggles with the change in rules, routine and that she has 2 younger siblings trying to play with (and accidentally destroy) her toys. It was with some trepidation that I opened the door to her on the Friday after Christmas ready for a week with us. She was a little unsettled, but the new toys including an iPod touch she had bought with her Christmas money helped sooth the transition.

A Day Trip To Norfolk

On New Year's Eve we visited my Grandmother in Norfolk and took the opportunity for a beach walk. It’s a couple of hours drive each way which is challenging for the younger 2: Baby Boy because he gets frustrated when he isn’t asleep and Little who gets car sick. M can happily spend the whole time reading or playing on electronics so she has it easy.

The girls are always very excited to visit Nana, but when we arrive it’s a challenge to get them in the same room as her and to hold a conversation. We went on New Year's Eve because the inevitable sleeps on the way home would mean the children would be unlikely to go to bed at their normal time and it wouldn’t be as frustrating on an evening where we would be staying up anyway.

Little went straight to bed from the car, M was eventually persuaded upstairs at 10 something because we put on a boring TV programme and Baby Boy I eventually got into his cot asleep at 11.45pm. This made it the first New Year's Eve in a while I stayed up for. G and I had champagne and relaxed and the children all slept through the fireworks. Result.

2 sisters splashing away on the edge of the sea in coats and wellies

Sisters on the sand messing around and laughing in coats and wellies

Other than the Norfolk day trip we had a pretty quiet week and mostly stayed at home. The 3 of them messed up the house faster than I could tidy it, but there was a beautiful bond visible between my daughters. They played together for hours and hours, only broken up with periods when M was playing on her iPod. Most of the time they didn’t want or need anyone else around (as long as there was a steady supply of food). 

Never before have they played together so nicely for such a long period of time. It helps that they had new toys, and I guess also that Little is getting older and better able to play, while still being malleable enough to mostly do what her big sister wants and how.

Little was really upset when we dropped M back at her Dad’s for the following weekend and we had a really cuddly afternoon. On Saturday we took Little to Smyths to spend some Christmas money which helped soften the loss and having her Dad around helped too, he's better at playing than me.

The time together made me wonder what the girls relationship would be like if they lived together all the time, but I guess like all siblings they would have their ups and downs. There is no point feeling guilt or regret for things that will never happen.

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