Monday, 20 April 2009


"I love you Edie."

"Lub you so much Nenée."

"Have fun at nursery Edie. And I'll see you when I get back from school. And we can play together then, ok?"

"Ok, Nenée. Edie see Nenée after cool. Lub you."

And so went the exchange between the two sisters yesterday morning, as it does two mornings a week when Edie goes to nursery. When she's not at nursery and she's at home with me, Renée's presence is sorely missed.

"Nenée at cool."

"Yes, Edie. Renée's at school."

"Nenée come home soon."

"Yes, darling. Renée will be home soon."

This conversation runs on a loop throughout the day because Edie's tiny 2-year-old world does not exist without her big sister around. And despite the hair-pulling and biting, Renée adores Edie with such a genuine passion that she will forgive even the cruellest displays of toddlerdom (such as drawing on her newly-coloured in picture of Dora The Explorer or pulling the ear off her favourite teddy bear, or the worst crime of all - stealing her coveted last piece of Nutella on toast). For all these wrongs, Edie is forgiven in a heartbeat. They are as close as two sisters can be and for this I am so thankful.

You see, I never had a sister, and although I never felt the need for one (probably because I was far too selfish to share anything), giving birth to two girls and witnessing their bond developing and becoming stronger each day, makes me wonder whether there is a void in my life as a result. Growing up with an older brother, my world was dominated by the pacing of freezing touchlines as I witnessed him getting bashed about the rugby field on a Winter morning, or competitive games of Football and Cricket in the garden. There was no lacking of a brother/sister bond, but our lives were spent at opposite ends of our own worlds. And as much as I adore him now, I do wonder whether if I'd had a sister, things would have been different.

Recent research has shown that sisters provide no end of psychological benefits for each other. The knowledge that a friend may come and go, but a sister is for keeps, must be a bonus when dealing with the inevitable teenage friendship fallout. In a recent article in a women's glossy magazine (yes I'm not quite sure how I found the time to read it either), five famous women and their sisters were asked to talked about their relationships and what strikes me about each and every couple is that despite disagreements, arguments, differences of opinions and beliefs, sisters are always there. Author Esther Freud says of her sister Bella, "she protected me, but I was also her ally - it worked very well." And Bella on Esther "When she was 7 she was being bullied by a boy in her class and I went and threatened him." Other comments range from "I cherish our closeness and that non-judgemental love" to "I've realised that nobody's got it figured out, so we might as well muck-in and support each other." It's comments like this that make me feel happy for my daughters. Happy and relieved.

Having two girls you are inevitably asked the same questions over and over.
  1. Are you going to try for a third so you can have a boy?
  2. Don't you want a boy?
And my answer is this. If you try for a third child then you have to want a third girl because you have a 50/50 change of getting one. It would be heartbreaking to be disappointed to have a certain sex. And no, we don't feel the need for a boy. Ok, I lie a little. My husband secretly does, but I can honestly say that's him, not me. I love my two daughters and I am overjoyed to see the bond they have. I am sure they would be just as welcoming to another sibling, whatever the sex, but I am happy just the way things are.


  1. Aah, sisters! My sister and I have grown closer as we got older, especially after she had her son (even though she lives in another country). But as teenagers, she was always nicking my stuff, clothes, earings, shoes, make-up etc and ruining them! It used to drive me nuts! We used to have physical fights all the time, but as I say, now she is lovely, however she did borrow my hoover not long ago and buggered it up, hoovering up rubble....dont ask! Some things never change. x

  2. Hello Emily, I like all your blogs but i esp like this one. I've got two older brothers and growing up with them was not easy, being continuously beaten up and left winded. However, I didn't feel a void and I guess I went on to make sister like friends with a few girls who interestingly now I think about it either don't have any siblings or just no sisters. Maybe there was an availability for a closer friendship or maybe I'm reading too much into it. Anyway, I do get on brilliantly with my brothers now but I do notice other womens rlationships with their sisters, especially as they have families and can often support each other, and then I feel a void.
    I know I've got my big boy but I'm so glad the two littlies were girls and look forward to nurturing and watching their relationship grow. Fingers crossed! I'm sure it's not always plain sailing.

  3. A heartwarming post. I agree with you, sisters often do have a very special bond. My two girls are incredibly close, people now think they are friends as they act that way and are the same height. I enjoy seeing it because like you I had brothers and it was a case of keep up or keep up!

    When I had my third, the hubster said he really didn't mind what sex the baby was (and he meant it). Then when I gave birth to a boy we had to peel him off the ceiling he was so excited!

  4. Great post. It is so lovely when 2 sisters get on. I wish that my two boys would be like that but they are not and I'm just having learn to accept it.

    As for the sex of the third. I always joke that we shouldn't have another in case it is a boy - but the reality is I'm used to boys and wouldn't know what to do with a girl. I think you'll be thrilled whatever you get and it will be the right thing for you.

  5. Aww, how cute. Joss has missed Maya today too and kept asking for her, just not understanding why she was no longer his constant companion. It's heartbreaking isn't it? But their time will soon come...

    As for having a sister oneself...I had 3 brothers and when I was younger I was so glad of it. Sure we fought like cats and dogs but from what I saw of my friends with female siblings, so did they. And I wouldn't have wanted to share my Sindy doll with anyone, not even (especially not, perhaps) a sister. As I was growing up, my brothers were my ever-constant defenders - sort of, platonic knights in shining armour. I looked up to them hugely and we enjoyed a boisterous, rowdy, fun youth together.

    Now, as an adult I think it would be marvellous to have a sister - as you say, that friend who is loyal to a fault and in whom you can confide anything to at any time, day or night. But I've been lucky to find some incredible girlfriends, who make admirable adoptive sisters. So I can't complain. I guess ultimately we all make the best of what we're born with.

    I think we all make

  6. My sister and I are just over 11 months apart, and were in the same academic year at school. Our parents sent us to different senior schools and this meant that we were pretty good friends throughout our teens. Many people knew us for years and didn't know we were sisters. We live in different countries now, but our kids are very close and we're going on holiday this summer together! :-)

  7. As a bit of a tomboy, I was always glad I had a brother instead of a sister. After all, what could be more fun than weird He-Man/Barbie hybrid make believe games? He-Man as Barbie's son, for instance? Or Skeletor doing showjumping on the back of a My Little Pony? I hope I provided the sisterly balancing influence on my brother. We have always had a great, close relationship but as with all things I think it's mostly luck whether you get on with your siblings or not.

  8. Rebel Mother - yes I think it's often the way. With both brothers and sisters. Even if you don't get on as youngsters, you invariably become closer with age. Never vacuum up rubble with a household vacuum...didn't you tell her??!!

    Mum on the Run - Hello there! Like the new name. Yeah you're probably right - about the ones without sisters having more room or need to make friends. Not sure if that makes it a good thing to have sisters so close - I do notice with grown-up sisters that sometimes they feel they've got each other so they don't need so many other friends.

    Reasons - Ha ha. Bless your husband. Yeah I think it's natural for a man to want at least one boy. Got to keep the name going!!

    BiB - Yeah I think you're pleased with whatever sex you have in the end because each child is so different. BUT, I'm not having a third!! The comment on my last post was a joke!!!

    Mamma Po - Oh it is totally heartbreaking when they miss each other. When I take Renée to school and I have Edie with me, Edie always creates a scene when we leave because she doesn't want to leave her sister. It's slways embarrassing to drag a screaming child down the street! And as for having a sister - my Mum always used to ask me if I wanted one and I never said yes - like you I probably wouldn't have wanted to share my Sindy!! At least with a brother we coveted different things. And yeah I'm sure siblings of both sex have good old scraps...

    Expat Mum - Wow - that is close together. That's what they call Irish twins I think!! Yeah it's lovely when cousins become close too - I hope the holiday is a success.

    Cave Mother - Yeah it is probably luck. My Mum, who's really into star signs says that Renée is a great elder sibling because she's a Leo and they make good leaders. She just likes bossing her younger sister around!!

  9. I have three sisters and a brother. The closest sibling is my brother who is six years older than me so we were never very close growing up. But we're all there for each other now.
    It's lovely that your two have each other. What a bond to be nurturing.
    And thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower.

  10. Three is an odd number anyway and it might break up their dynamic!
    I have one of eat and they are really close too. It's such a joy to watch and I really hope that carries through to adulthood.

  11. Very nice. I don't know how you have the energy to maintain such a good-spirited blog but am deeply impressed. Sweet stuff.

  12. What a lovely tale, my lot are spaced out so the same sex siblings are quite far apart in age. I wonder if that will influence how close they are? Mind you everyone seems to look after each other and to see them all out playing in the garden together (yep even the teenager) is heartwarming. I never had a sister only a little bro, but I think I went and found my own sister and my best friend is just that to me. Great blog (of course lol!) luv Karen x

  13. I grew up with 4 brothers and a sister who I'm not (and never have been) particularly close to. We have little in common other than family, have different values and motivations, different interests and outlooks on life. I am very close to my youngest brother, and was closest brother in age was also close but sadly he died a few years ago.

    I have two daughters and they are complete opposites, but I hope they will get on well when they're older. At the moment the Teenager-in-waiting (12 yr old) calls the 9 year old a freak and she in turns cries and says that she wants to swap her sister for a nicer one!

  14. Maddie Grigg - Thanks for visiting! Yeah it's a hard one. I'm learning through all the comments that it seems to be luck of the draw whether you get on with your siblings or not. I know it was something I worried about when I was pregnant with the second, but thankfully (because I don't think we did anything particularly special) there has never been any jealousy.

    Tara - Yes we're definitely stopping at 2. Think I may be pushed over the edge with 3!! I think whatever sex they are it's such a relief when siblings get on. I love eavesdropping on their conversations!

    Omega Mum - You'll have to read some of the other posts when I'm not in such high spirits!! I think it's the sun that's making me happy. If the sun goes I'll start moaning again!

    Mum Gone Mad - Yeah - I do wonder if closeness has anything to do with age gaps. I'm hearing all sorts of opinions so I'm beginning to think it's luck!

    notsupermum - Oh dear - the poor little one - you see I think it's all to do with luck...

  15. I have 2 sisters. I am in the middle. The oldest is shy. She doesn't talk to us. My youngest and I talk a couple times a week. And... we are all close in age.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog today and following!!! I clicked to stalk you too!!!

  16. I too always wanted a sister, I had a younger brother who just ended up getting me into trouble!

  17. My sister and I are very close these days, though we only really developed the sister thing over the last few years. Up until then, I held the role of a (very absent) parent, or favourite aunt, as there are 12 years between us.

    It's nice to read about your two. I hope that I will be happy whatever Number 2 turns out to be - I have images in my head of a joyful reaction to both at my scan - but I do think that a girl would be easier in so many ways... Mostly because I know what to do with girls, but also because we have loads of girl clothes in the loft and the chest of drawers and wardrobe are pink (can't have separate rooms for them unless we move house) and, for the most part, the sister dynamic I have experienced and witnessed in others (especially when older) seems much better than the brother-brother or brother-sister dynamic.

    But of course a boy would be lovely, too!

  18. Hey Emily! just quickly, been away for a few days so that's why I didn't reply to your last comment yet. Went to recharge on baguette and fromage, back home in France :)
    I love this post. I have 2 boys and I particularly empathise with what you said about people commenting on it. When we found out the sex of the baby when I was pregnant with Victor, everyone looked at me, very concerned to make sure I was ok with the fact it was another boy. I was THRILLED!! My 2 babies were going to be just 17 mths apart and were going to be best friends. Until I found out I remember feeling uneasy about having a girl and of course I would have loved her just as much but I was so happy with a second boy. I couldn't understand why people reacted like this. Same with having a third, if we do have a 3rd baby one day we will be having another baby not a particular sex and yes I know people will be even more disappointed for us if it is a boy, but we will be delighted with a healthy baby.
    I grew up with a sister who was 4 years younger than me and the gap has always been a problem between us. We had a real love and hate relationship until she entered her twenties, but now I can say we are best friends. I also made a pact with her that if I never have a daughter she will have to lend me her twin girls for girlie shopping trips and wedding organising!

  19. That's so cute, my little boys are similar!

  20. With four boys I always get the 'I bet you wish you had a girl' or 'I guess you'll be trying for a girl now then'. Er, no. I would have loved a girl but not instead of the boys I have, if that makes sense! I would still love another baby and I honestly wouldn't be disappointed to have another boy (and happy and healthy is as important to us as ever these days :-( .)

  21. Hit 40 - Hi thanks for coming! I don't mind being stalked!! Good that yo had two sisters to choose from!!

    Irish Mammy - Hi there. Yep, although I think it was the other way round with us...think I got my brother into trouble instead!!

    Mary T - Ah that's lovely. And yes it works with brothers and sisters too I think.

    Tasha - yeah I think the sibling relationships become much closer later in life. ANd I was the same as you - I was worried about having a boy because I didn't have any experience with them!! But I think you get used to whatever you have pretty quickly!

    PHM - Well helo there! I wondered where you had got to. How lovely - sounds like you had a great time in France. Lucky you. Yeah, as with Tasha - I was worried about having a sex I wasn't used to. But I think you do get used to it pretty quick!!

  22. Mary T and Ella - I must have been writing my reply when you posted - didn't mean to leave you out!

    Mary - I'm pleased that your boys get on so well. I suppose, even though I wrote about sisters, it doesn't matter either way. Biys can be just as good friends and allys as girls.

    Ella - Exactly - and yes it does make sense. Once you meet your little bundle it doesn't matter what sex they are. You could never want to swap them!! And yes, after everything you're going through, healthy is the most important thing x

  23. So sweet. What a wonderful bond they have and they'll have that for life. My sister is 11 years younger than me. We are close despite that although I'm more motherly towards her than sisterly, but she can still take me to one side and point out what I've done wrong. But I love her for it. Great post!

  24. Ah, I am with you. I have two brothers and have always craved a sister, though there's no guarantee we'd have got on. (I think we would though, I'm a woman's woman). Poor little Q won't get one either as we're stopping at two - but I agree with you that as parents we are blessed whatever we get. We are very lucky to have children at all. Yours sound very sweet. LOVE that you fell in love due to Marine Parade, btw! It really is fantastic, isn't it? Maybe we cd meet for a coffee next time I'm in Sussex, we spend all our hols in Eastbourne. Cxxx

  25. Firstly thank you so much for your lovely really means a lot.
    I haven't got a sister either and would have loved one (I think), instead I have a brother ten years older who's as much use as a chocolate tea pot....and I haven't seen him in years.
    It's great that your daughters get on so well, I think with them being so close in age it helps too.
    My children are two years apart and have always been best friends and look out for eachother.....although now my daughter is a teenager things are changing a bit....because obviously my son isn't a bit interested in lip gloss!

  26. Hi - Firstly I want to say thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a lovely comment. Secondly I want to say that this is a cool post. Like you, I don't have a sister, and since I have one son and one daughter, my daughter doesn't have a sister either! What I do have is two female cousins (our mums are all sisters) who are the closest thing I'm ever going to get to sisters. We don't live in each other's pockets, but we're 'there' for one another. You can't beat the 'shared history' - although the same can be said for long term friendships?

    It was lovely to 'meet' you. Take care. :-)

  27. That's so sweet!

    I have one of each, and they love each other dearly, but I don't think it's quite the same. I, on the other hand, was an only child. I often wonder 'what if.......

  28. Rosiescribble - thanks - yes it seems that sisters can be themselves with each other, regardless of the age gap, without fear of losing them if they speak out of turn. Got to be a good thing.

    Cassandra - yes I think you would have got on with a sister too!! Love Brighton - miss Marine Parade (and hubbie's ex-flat). In hindsight we should have kept it! Yep, definitely up for coffee. Just say the word x

    magnumlady - hope you're feeling a bit better... no lovely photos on this sight unfortunately - I have to visit yours for that! Yeah I think closeness in age helps their bond - although they still have very different needs at the moment.

    Kitty - thanks for popping by - lovely to 'meet' you too!! Your cousins sound like sisters - and I think cousins can be just as close especially if they grow up near to each other. My daughters have a female cousin who they adore - my little one says that she's her 'best friend', but yesterday a dog she met on the beach was her best friend too so I think she may have the fickle gene!

    Suburbia - Thanks for visiting!! Yeah I had one brother and we did lots of things together but I think it would have been altogether different if he'd been a sister instead! And yes I wonder how different it would have been for you to have had a sibling...not just a sister! Interesting!

  29. There's only 14months between my girl and boy - I popped them out one after the other and as a result they have been very close to each other from the point that the youngest was able to grab the older one's hair - at about three months!
    I love watching them hanging out just chatting and laughing with each other.
    I'm an only child and always longed for an older brother and a younger sister. Even now, I am terribly envious of my friends who have sisters that they are close to. I am convinced my lack of siblings are the reason I've never had a "best" friend - maybe I just don't know how to do that whole bonding thing.
    Mind you, my mother maintains that if I'd had a sister, I would have made her life hell. So rude .....

  30. I yearn to get on with my sister, but we are so different, and always have been. I was a tomboy, she was not, I found school fun and easy, she found it difficult and hated it etc. Also there was the added problem of the fact that our mother treated us differently and found it easier to look after my sister, which has always caused tension between us. So what I'm saying, really, is that it is not always perfect. We do get on now, but we hardly ever see each other.

  31. Selina - Hi. Gosh - you did have them close didn't you?? As I said to Expat Mum above - they call those Irish twins don't they?!! Brave, brave woman you are. Yeah I love watching mine too - and listening in on their little conversations. Too, too cute. I'm sure if you'd have had a sister you would have got on...your Motehr was just being provocative!

    Kate - Hi there. What a shame you and your sister don't get on - but like you say it's definitely not always perfect. Who knows what will happen between my daughters. They get on now, but you never can tell...

  32. I suppose if I'm brutally honest I'd have to say, when Sally was born I was hoping for a boy. And when Charlie came along she's quite open about the fact she wanted him to be a girl. To say we're both perfectly happy with the outcomes is an understatement...

  33. I wish I had little girls...
    Check out my blog, I've awardede you the Honest Scrap award.

  34. I really lovely read. I have a sister whom I adore and we are very close, albeit quite different. She has a 3 year old daughter who gets on so well with Amy they could almost be sisters when they're together. We live 200 miles apart so don't see eachother that often but we will always be there for each other.

    People do ask me if I would consider a brother/sister for Amy but my answer has always been a definite no. But with Amy having autism it wouldn't make for an easy ride.

    CJ xx

  35. The Dotterel - Hello and welcome! Yes I think 99% of the time men would like to have a son but a lot less than that actually admit it! I'm glad you're all happy now.

    Marathoner - Ooh thank you. I will come over and have a look. How kind. Yes, girls are great, although as someone said you have a lifetime of being worried and skint!

    CJ - Thank you. And yes it's great when cousins get on too. I read an interview today on Claire Louise's blog where a family had 6 children - all of them with some form of autism! Now that's a handful!

  36. I have two boys then a girl. Can't tell you how irritated I was when pregnant with number 3, by all the "a girl would be nice" comments - often said in front of the boys. Stupid thing to say. I always replied "Three boys would be great, I'd love that", which was true.

  37. Iota - yes everyone always seems to want symmetry for some reason. Girls, boys - I would have been happy with any of them!

  38. Oh that's lovely. As a mum of two girls I completely agree. I was lucky enough to have a sister, adn while we're very different, when times are bad, or when times are good we always turn to each other. I'm asle lucky enough to have two sister in laws who are like my little sisters, so you never know, if your brother marries a good 'un you might get that sister yet.

  39. Jo - yeah my little girls are totally different too. Both in looks and personality. Who knows what the future holds for them?? They could end up hating each other!! Although I hope not...