11/05/2011 23:57 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Terrible Twos: Two Terribles For The Price Of One

Some people asked me, when I started writing this column, whether Terrible Twos referred to Ava's age, or the fact that I have two toddlers – her little sister Ruby is a year younger.

I'll never regret having them so close together and the way they play with one another, how close they are, is a constant source of joy for me. However, I'll admit that having a two-and-a-half year old and a one-and-a-half year old does represent some challenges.

Ava is, without question, Ruby's idol. Anything Ava can do, Ruby thinks she can do too. Worse than that, Ava agrees with her. So while the big one is busy legging it up and down the stairs, jumping off beds and getting herself on and off her enormous (takes up a third of the garden) trampoline, the little one is risking life and limb (and the wholeness of her cranium) attempting to do the same. I seem to live with my heart in my mouth.

Anyway, I have been able to see for a while now that these two are as thick as thieves. And they proved it in no uncertain terms the other day when I had to get down on my knees with Ava to have a word. I was using my stern voice. A bit louder than usual, a bit deeper than usual, quite (I thought) authoritative.

But as I was explaining the whys and wherefores of not pushing your little sister off the sofa so hard she does a backwards somersault, I felt the presence of said little sister at my elbow. She was playing peekaboo with Ava and making (don't know how to best describe it really but her family will know what I mean) sort of growling monkey noises. This, somewhat inevitably, was distracting Ava, so I guided Ru back into the living room, and returned to the naughty one (who was looking not very sorry) on the Naughty Step.

But when I did, and I had re-engaged my stern voice, Ruby ran back out and started mimicking me.

Not just mimicking, mocking. Every time I began speaking, in an attempt to finish my sentence, Ruby shouted over the top of me: "RAH RAH RAH RAH RAH!!" I tried just opening my mouth, without even uttering anything. "RAH RA...!"

Ignoring Ava's giggles, I gave Ruby my 'look'. She closed her mouth and I turned back to Ava to continue: "You mu..."


They had ganged up on me. I felt defeated. Despite the fact I was defending Ruby's, well, safety, she clearly felt the need to stick up for that big sister of hers – and I don't half love her for it.

Are your children close?
Does their relationship give you enormous pleasure as a parent?