Sod plans... I love it when I see my family come together.
Like most big sisters, Lily rules the roost; Timmy observes or copies her admiringly (he's her biggest fan), Joe gets on with his own thing (sensible) and Evie concentrates on working on her baby walker moves, bouncing in her Jumperoo, or filling her nappy (the girl is busy).
But now and then I am given a preview of the future - a moment in which I can see that the closeness in age between the children (biggest age gap 2 years 3 months; closest 3 mins (the boys)) will be worthwhile. OK, it wasn't exactly 'planned' (didn't think my third round of IVF would work let alone result in twins; never expected to get pregnant naturally with Evie), but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Because, despite the roller coaster of sleepless nights, pre, peri and post natal depression and anxiety, constantly fluctuating weight and waistline and four years in which I've been (or so it seems) almost constantly pregnant, I am beginning to see what the future might be like.
On Friday, for the first time, when Timmy followed Lily up to her bedroom when she went to get dressed, he wasn't greeted with a slap in the face, but became a collaborator in a game of 'flashing the light', jumping on the bed, and dissolving into giggles over anything and everything. Peeking in the door, seeing them both in cahoots, on equal terms and - basically - cracking up, I realised how similar they both are and, whilst unfortunately, Timmy often comes a cropper when Lily's tiredness, bad mood or big sister status gets the better of her, I can see that in the future a close bond will form between them.
One of the reasons I put myself through more IVF was FOR Lily. I always wanted two children - I didn't want Lily to be an only child (although for parents of only children, I can see the advantages this can have). My grown up siblings have been a real support to me over the years - they are the only ones who understand our parents (or come as close as is possible), who share my upbringing and who can crease with laughter at the fact we used to light matches behind the shed (rebellious) or plan to make a whole cake and eat it raw when we grew up (ewwww).
More sibling bonding was observed by the staff at the boys' crèche this week on the day Evie joins them. For the first time, they seemed aware of her being there, and made sure she always had her toys and was looked after. I love that.
I'm sure there are lots of advantages of leaving longer between your children (the average age gap has risen to 3.8 years apparently), but the fact that our kids seem to be (at times) on the same wavelength, and that this will undoubtedly improve (because the age gap will shrink as they grow) I'd say that my sagging tummy, and copious under-eye bags are looking like a worthwhile price to pay for ensuring my children are surrounded by love and have people to turn to throughout their lives.
Plus, when I'm old and insane, they can take turns to have me to tea on a Sunday afternoon instead of being lumbered with me every week.