I often get asked if Ella and Lily get along well. Most of the time, my answer is that they play beautifully together 95 percent of the time and fight five percent. This summer, however, the percentages are more like 50-50.
Even though I had them scheduled in separate camps and activities, they still managed to bicker a lot. When we were at the beach with a total of 13 kids, my girls were the only ones fighting. At one point they were standing in the middle of an empty beach screaming at each other about who had run into whom in the waves. I was mortified.
We've been playing musical beds around here during the past few weeks. Ella and Lily have shared a room since Lily was a baby, and they've always done well together in there. But partly because of the bickering and partly because of the need to get Elizabeth out of the porta-crib in our closet, we've shifted bedrooms. Campbell now sleeps in the bottom bunk in the girls room, and Lily has moved to the top bunk. Ella has moved to the big bed in what was Campbell's room, and Elizabeth will be joining her in there as soon as she sleeps through the night more consistently.
I had hoped that splitting the girls up at home and having them at school all day would reduce the amount of bickering, but they're still getting on each other's nerves a lot. Ella wants to be the know-it-all, bossy big sister, and Lily absolutely doesn't want to be bossed around. I think this is just an inevitable phase.
Despite their bickering, the girls have been desperate to have a slumber party in Ella's big bed. Last night I told them they could both sleep in Ella's room, and there was much rejoicing. I warned them that if I heard ANY fighting at all, I'd separate them immediately, and I honestly expected that they'd last 10 minutes, max, before I had to go in there. Instead, I heard lots of whispers and giggles, which did my heart good.
After they fell asleep, I went in to check on the girls and found them snuggled up together, sharing one pillow. I got teary eyed seeing them like that. It was a good reminder that despite the bickering that goes on, they really do love each other.