At around ten past four each afternoon I walk up the stairs and shout 'Small Bean'. LL is the first one I collect from her cot, normally she is standing up waiting for me by this point. She gets upset when she hears me shout her current most used nickname, frustrated I am not getting to her quick enough. Then we pretend to knock on the door and go and get her big sister from her room.
Every day without fail Mads rustles around under her covers and pulls out Pongo. Pongo is a cuddly dalmation, but he isn't just any old spotty dog, he is Mads absolute favourite friend. The one she needs to sleep, the one she wants when she is sad. Every afternoon she holds him out and gives him to her little sister, who pulls him in close and giggles. This simple act of sisterly love never fails to make me choke up a little bit. The fact that Mads wants to make her sister happy by giving him her most treasured friend.
Both are still blurry eyed from nap time, and normally have damp, bedraggled bed hair from getting sweaty in their slumber. I carry them, one in each arm (harder than it looks!) down the stairs and plonk them down on the sofa. I turn on the television and put on a film for us to watch- the current favourites being Frozen, Toy Story 2 or Monsters University. I leave them there together, still a bit sleepy, and go and get a biscuit from the treat drawer in the kitchen.
Most of the time it's a Rich Tea, but sometimes we are flash and have a pink wafer biscuit which is all of our favourites. They snuggle together close, neither saying a word, just staring intently at the television while nibbling on their biscuits. Sometimes I join them, usually with both sat on my lap, Mads playing with my ear and LL cuddling in close. But most of the time I sit at the other end of the sofa and watch them.
That half an hour or so of quiet time is one of my favourites of the day. Both are so cuddly after they wake up and they snuggle together closely. Mads always puts her arm around LL gently, LL still doesn't climb so we often worry she will fall off the sofa. LL doesn't loosen her grip on Pongo the spotty dog, she holds him tight, occasionally pressing her face into his soft pretend fur and smiling. Mads often takes him away and gives him straight back to her, enjoying seeing her little smile when she gives him a cuddle.
The best thing about being a mother to two is watching these simple moments. The way in which my girls effortlessly combine together. The way in which their sisterly bond is ever present. The way in which when I study them closely I can see that actually they do look pretty similar. I relish that half an hour every day before the madness and loudness starts again.
I couldn't resist taking some photos of them like this, and luckily they were so engrossed in Toy Story 2 that they didn't even notice I had my camera out. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing these two little girls develop and watch their love for each other grow stronger and stronger. Of course they get grumpy and have mini stops with each other, this is happening more and more as they grow older. I can tell that they are going to wind each other up constantly in the future.
But as they sit on that sofa after their nap each afternoon, I see two little sisters who are the very best of friends.
And nothing makes me prouder than that.
This month I am sending you over to have a look at Carie's blog. Her blog is one of my favourites, and the way she writes often has me feeling really teary even if there is no need to be! She has two little ladies a similar age to mine and another on the way.