Joining in

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy talks about how her youngest can finally join in with her sisters…

Today my little baby finally got to be a big girl. And, boy, was she pleased about it. Having reached the grand old age of 18 months, a whole new world of groups and classes has opened up to M. She gets to go with her sisters. She gets to join in.

For the first time, I got to take all 3 of my girls to the same organised activity. I say ‘I’. I’m not crazy. I took reinforcements. Daddy, Grandad and I took charge of one child each, and headed to the local sports centre for toddler gymnastics. The twins used to go all the time, but the closest M had ever got to those ladders was being whisked away by Granny, who would sit with her on the sidelines. When she started to walk, I had to ban her from the room all together. M seems to have been born without the ability to fear. Whereas T and especially G needed encouragement and reassurance before they ventured up any equipment without Mummy’s hand, even when walking more than a few steps was a challenge, M tried to climb the ladders and toddle along the balance beams after her sisters. But this time, no one was stopping her. She’s finally a big girl too.

The twins and I hadn’t been to the class since before Christmas, and I was slightly worried they’d have reverted to being a bit nervous and hesitant. Especially G. After a little assurance, T always throws herself into things and never looks back. But G takes her time. She studies and tests and tries. We’d got to the point where she’d scale heights and jump and run, but would all that progress be lost? Turns out I needn’t have worried. She didn’t take on the highest bridges, but I know she will next week. She balanced and ran and crawled and threw, and she had a ball. So did T, and so did M. My goodness, so did M.

It was Daddy who drew the short straw. Well, who was assigned it by those in charge.

‘I want you as my partner,’ G informed me as we discussed who would look after whom before the class.
‘I want Grandad! I want Grandad!’ insisted her twin.

So that left Daddy to do the hard work. The toddler chase. Just like I knew she would, as soon as M entered that room, she was off. She had to be physically restrained to join in the group warm-up, though as she proudly walked round in the circle, you could see she was brimming with joy. She was one of the big kids. And as far as she was concerned, she could do anything they could. She climbed up ladders, trying to push past any older child who was taking too much time, and stepped straight out onto the high bridges without a second thought. Daddy was exhausted.

As G and I took a clambering break to balance beanbags on our heads (I did four, I’ll have you know. Walked 10 steps before they fell off too. Is it wrong to be proud of that?), I spotted M toddling along an upturned bench, following T onto the highest jumping table in the place. As her adored big sister leapt through the air into Grandad’s arms, M’s little face lit up. It was all Daddy could do to reach her in time and stop her simply stepping off the three-foot platform all by herself.

She may only be 18 months old, but in her head, she’s 3. And a fearless 3-year-old at that.
When the time came to cool down, her face once again lit up as she copied the stretches, her chubby little arms barely reaching past her grinning face. And when she was given a sticker and allowed to stamp her card to show the clever things she’d achieved, I thought she might explode with pride. Only the promise of lunch persuaded her to leave. I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed half-an-hour more.

I hope it’s the start of things to come. I still harbour the fear that, as the twins grow up, going to nursery and school, M will be missing out. She’ll constantly feel left out. Left behind. But it seems she’s going to take matters into her own hands. OK, so she’s not quite a big girl yet. As her sisters when on to their dance class after lunch, M obliviously slept off her exertions in the buggy. But she’s getting there. She can walk and run and climb as good as many a pre-schooler, and can talk and sing and dance. She’s no longer the twins’
strange baby sister.

‘You’re a big girl now,’ T informed her as we talked about the fun we’d had.

‘Yes, she’s not 1 any more, Mummy,’ G said, turning to me.
‘She can be 3, like us.’

Sounds good to me. In fact, think I’m just going to start telling people I had triplets…

How do you deal with the age gap of your kids when going to classes and activities? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below.

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