This morning I attempted to clear the mountain of mess that had gathered on the kitchen table. My back/ leg were hurting quite a lot - I have an ongoing sciatic issue and I forgot to take the anti-inflammatories last night - I assume that's why things were so painful today. Anyway, I really wanted to clear the table as that's one of the main places that the boys use for creating etc when they feel inspired, so I persevered and managed to reduce the mountain to a small hillock before I really had to sit down - hooray! Meanwhile the boys were doing some of their own tidying and also playing, but by the time I was done it was obvious that they really needed to get outdoors and run off some steam. So we all stopped for lunch and decided that afterwards we would go to the park (so they could run and I could sit). Unfortunately, by the time we had finished lunch it was raining, and I was not in the mood for a cold wet welly walk. So we went for a drive to drop something off at a friend's, and just for a change of scenery - driving through some of the local villages, along scenic country lanes and past places where we have happy memories... which was all lovely, but the the weather was still drizzly when we got back and the boys were understandably still in need of space to be physical...
We did their coats up and I said they could run the length of our cul-de-sac (about a dozen houses) and back again, once for every year of their age. They started with enthusiasm, and then there was a fair bit of complaining, stitch and tiredness, but I encouraged them that if they could burn off some excess energy they would be able to sit nicely and play on the Wii afterwards. Once Youngest and then Middle had finished I encouraged them to cheer their big brother on as he still had a few laps to go. They cheered beautifully - and then did something totally unexpected. Eldest had just finished his ninth lap and was now walking the tenth lap. Middle (who shortly before had been dragging his feet because he was "reeeeeeeee-allllllllllyyyyyyy tiiiiiiirrrrred" yelled "come on (Youngest)", and ran up to Eldest, grabbed his hand (Youngest grabbed the other), and started pulling him along the road. They loved it - it cheered them all up to be sharing such a lovely moment of brotherly love. Obviously they were motivated by a joint desire to get indoors and on the Wii, but to go one further than encouragement and actually run the path with their brother, rather than just nagging him to get on with it - well, I was really blessed, and told them so. The laps were completed with smiles all round.
Once indoors the boys sorted themselves out on the Wii extremely easily. Youngest wanted to play a different game to the older two, so they agreed he could have half an hour on his first, then they would play theirs. Well once he finished his turn they put their game on (with no complaints from Youngest at turning his off), and then Youngest decided he wanted to play their game too. They kindly said it was "fair" for him not to play (which he wasn't so happy about), and I made a suggestion that maybe it might be kind to let him join in anyway... it might even be 'fair' as he wanted to play both games but they didn't... but I would leave the decision to them as I could see their point too. Well they talked nicely and decided they were happy for Youngest to join in as long as he didn't ruin it for them!
There is no moral to this story (well if there is you can draw your own moral from it). I'm not going to say "this is what I did, and if you do the same, you could have saintly children (ahem) like mine too" - because that's twaddle. You've read the blog, and those of you who know us are aware that it is SO NOT true. Like most siblings, the boys have times when they play really nicely together and moments when they don't play so nicely and I get fed up of refereeing. But moments like today's deserve to be celebrated. I want to remember today and treasure it in my heart - and I want to tell others too, that today - this afternoon - my boys did a lovely, lovely thing. My back may still be grumbling but my heart is singing!