A shift in dynamic

Three siblings looking in different directions as if to illustrate a shift in dynamic.

One of the few silver linings about being in lockdown is the extra time I get with my family. I’ve loved being around more and it’s time I’ll always be grateful for.

It’s been particularly fascinating watching the shift in dynamic between the kids. Most notable is the changing relationship between youngest and her brothers.

She’s off to school in September so there’s no escaping the fact that she’s not a little one anymore.

Similarly, they’re heading towards the business end of primary and we’ll know where oldest will be going to secondary in under a year. Time really does fly.

Until recently, both boys have regarded their sister as a baby. Similarly, she has idolised them. The mutual appreciation has been strong and, of course, lovely to see.

They’ve infantilised her and she has merrily gone along with it. In turn, she has called the shots and they’ve been happy to comply.

Now, I don’t know whether it’s because of lockdown itself, the fact that we’re adapting to a new home or them all getting older – or a combination of all three – but things are changing quickly.

All of a sudden, the sibling rivalry has kicked in. For the most part, they’re still lovely together. But, every now and then, they fight like cat and dog – or cat and two dogs.

What was once a safe haven of reciprocal respect is now an alternative, gritty version of Disney’s The Incredible Journey, in which the three leads sporadically hate each other.

If either of the boys upsets youngest, she’s not abashed at aiming a kick or chasing them. The claws are definitely out now.

Being that much older and conscious of their size difference, they don’t lash out when the situation is reversed but do shout – or should that be bark? – at her.

I know this is entirely normal – my sister and I were simultaneously the best of friends and enemies as kids. So, apart from intervening when the fighting gets too much, I’m going to leave them to it.

I suppose I just find the timing of it darkly amusing. As soon as youngest got her school place, we ordered her some uniform.

I know this is pretty early but, as we’re in lockdown, she won’t get the same transition to school as she would have at nursery. So we thought it might help.

And, of course, she has wanted to wear it every day since. It seems that there’s a direct correlation between the appearance of her gingham dress and all three kids getting arsey with each other.

Maybe it’s just coincidental timing, or perhaps all three have come to think of school as the promised land and are getting territorial.

They’ve been playing capture the flag missions on LEGO Dimensions lately, so perhaps they all think of the new attire as a landgrab of sorts.

Whatever the explanation, the permanent state of them all liking each other was nice while it lasted.

So, with a shift in dynamic, the baby years are over. We’re onto a new leg of our own Incredible Journey. Now we must prepare for the challenges associated with the next stage of parenthood…


  1. Eddie

    Its lovely to see when they can get along and be amazing siblings despite the age gap. I’ve found similar with my girls (2, 5, 7, 9 and 9). Know too well the cat and dog squabbles too. Hope she has been enjoying school.

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