They don’t have any luck in the closet, but they do in the dryer. Still in the laundry room, all three girls huddle in a circle to help get their sister dressed. “We must hurry!” says my oldest, helping her sister’s arms into the unforgiving sleeves. “The ball, the ball is starting soon!”
Once she’s in her dress, they stay in their huddle. Now in silence, they admire each other with slow nods and winks.
I welcome this kind of play because it doesn’t always happen. Just two hours ago, they were fighting over breakfast. Competing for the pink spoon with hearts on the handle, the princess cup that had only the illusion of more milk, the chair that wobbles, my attention.
With my daughters who are 5, 3, and 1, there’s a pecking order. Fights over territory usually happen between the daughters who are closest in age. I read once in a magazine that the reason for this is simple. Like in the wild, they’re competing for the same resources they think they need to survive.
“I don’t like my sister!” This is what my oldest screamed at me after breakfast. “She won’t let me read my book in the corner, and…she’s so yucky!” she said, staring in her 3-year old sister’s direction. Then, for what felt like an eternity, they bounced back and forth with “No, you’re yucky!” “No, you are!” “No, you!”
You can read the rest of the essay here on The Washington Post.