Thursday, 22 January 2009

Together and apart

There are some moments I look back to the triplet toddler years and sigh with affection.

After all, we did the same things together, at the same time, mostly in the same direction. Life was straightforward like that. When one went to the park, we all went to the park. We took two hours to walk five minutes up the road, had a big fight at the swings, then came home in a screaming fit. I wept and hit the whisky. Happy days.

Because now, life is complicated. In fact these three kids express their individual interests in so many ways, it is downright confusing.

Like Squirrel is enjoying gym and trampoline again this term, but her sisters have given up on that. Tiger gave up because she would rather stay at home and make stuff, and Shark because she would rather stay at home and read. Hey, the other day she went off with Squirrel to the local playground and took Jill Paton Walsh in her pocket. When me and Dig fell about laughing at our little bluestocking, she didn't see the joke. The fact that here we are, home educating for her right to childhood freedom to run and play and handstand in the park on a Tuesday morning, and she chooses to absorb herself in a world war story so she can add another book review to her reading log.

And this shows the big difference between these three kids, emerging daily. Sometimes I think they are not triplet sisters at all, they share so few interests, apart from who got in the bath first, who ate a molecule more of chocolate cake, and who owns that toy camel, even though the toy camels are all identical and came out the factory nose to tail one after the other.

Well maybe they have a point there, because Squirrel is a complete opposite from Shark in so many ways, even though, like the camels, they are supposed to be identicals.

Squirrel loves carefree movement and activity. She loves dressing up and throwing herself about, and if she can dance it and jump it, waving her arms like a windmill, brilliant. Shark, on the other hand, likes to control stuff. Sails best of all. And when she can't do that, then frying pans, the TV remote, computers, sheaths of paper. Tiger meanwhile needs a constant supply of paint, cardboard boxes, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes, feathers, wool. And you will have entertained her until 4pm when she will complain about glue, but you will be the proud owner of a replica Javanese orchestra you can float in the bath.

I hardly need to add that meeting all these diverse needs takes a good deal of flexible management and swift prediction. And a car fully topped up with petrol, so thank you Dig. But not surprisingly, with these three very different people finding their own routes and roles in life, really we are forever exploring that boundary between autonomy and anarchy.

So I just want to say girls - as today you all go about your different adventures and I drive in three directions at once - I am glad you are all so different, and that you are developing so many far apart interests and expressions of yourselves that you can all be dancing and swimming and skating and sailing and studying and cooking and yearning to do cartwheels, all at the same time, all in different places, and you need only the transport to get there.

But I hope with all my heart that there are grown up days ahead of you when you are all eating chocolate cake together and are not so far apart that you cannot argue with claws over who got the bigger slice.

Just one for gym


Suburbia said...

It is so lovely to see them grow into propper little people :)

Katherine said...

You wouldn't consider doing it any other way, but it's a real credit to you and Dig that you allow them to be themselves. Some parents are good at 'squashing' kids into molds. Thank goodness there are people like you who don't.
But, as you say, it's tougher! They'll have a huge amount in common and be great friends when they are older. You'll see.
I've been reading your blog for some time and I think you're a wonderful Mum. I homeschooled 3, so I know what it can be like. Mine are 24, 23 and 18 now...respectively postgrad, postgrad, and just beginning tertiary education.

kellyi said...

How strange. I was just thinking today how different my lot are. You mention craft activities and two shout yippee and one groans.

Well done though on raising three individuals. I know some one with twins who dresses them identical and encourages them to speak "twin" because it's so cute. They are 5 years old, poor little mites.

OvaGirl said...

That is beautiful Grit, and they are lovely and you and Dig are bloody great stars.

sharon said...

I'm sure they will always have that 'sisterly togetherness', no matter how far apart they are when they're all grown up! It's lovely to see them develop into such different little people. I hope you and Dig are very proud of yourselves for giving them so many opportunities . . . even if they do drive you to distraction at times ;-)

Kitty said...

It's a credit to you that you are able to let them explore their own individuality. I'm with Tiger though - give me the glue and the 'making' thing all day every day, and I'm in heaven.

My No.1 was born with an extra ICT gene, so that's her thing, preferably coupled with design - she could spend hours happily redesigning something, or 'photoshopping' a picture.

No.2 just wants to play football, and add numbers up.

I love their differences. x

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to be seeing such unencumbered individuality! It is amazing that genetically identical children can evole so differently - does make you think about the whole nature/nurture debate as well.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

My mom raised three different girls, but there's a total of 12 years of age difference between the oldest and the youngest. What you are doing is a real feat. Raising three girls differently who are basically the same. That takes some ingenuity and patience and guts. It seems to me like a great juggling act. I admire you and Dig very much for it.

Grit said...

hello folks, thank you for your comments.

i would love to hear more success stories katherine, because sometimes home educating feels like trying to row in the dark, but without any oars.