We were in the car yesterday after day care pick up. I had a very... optimistically extensive errand list that I didn't think we would get through but I decided to just take a deep breath and go for it.
We headed to the library first to return a stack of books that were just a tiny bit overdue. We used the outside book return. Jake went first with his books, then Jack returned mine, then Katie, who had been waiting patiently with her three books, went. Jackson didn't realize that his fun was over and he turned to Katie expecting to put one of her books in the return. When she saw his sad face, she gave him not one, but TWO of her books to return. I was very proud of her kindness.
We hopped back into the car and headed to the mall. I wanted to go to Bath and Body for their free lotion. We parked and I went to the back to get the stroller out. Katie and Jake hopped out of the car and I reminded them that they needed to keep a hand on the car when we were in parking lots. Now, usually they ignore me until I threaten to put them back into the car but that day they actually listened!
I got Jackson settled and buckled in (he loves the stroller, or maybe it's just that he loves getting out!). Then I told Jacob that his spot was going to be next to the stroller, holding on to the side. Imagine my surprise when he actually listened and did what I asked! The whole time we were in the mall, except when he forgot, and for the couple of minutes at DEB when I told him he could dance to the music, and a few minutes at Bath and Body when he was smelling stuff. And when he forgot and walked off I just had to ask him "Jacob? Where are you supposed to be right now?" and he was back before I could blink.
There were a couple of tense moments when he and Jackson started to scuffle. But Jacob was holding onto the side of the stroller the whole time. HA!
Oh, and I don't shop at DEB. Never been in it. But Katie asked if we could go so I said yes. We went in and she marched her way to the back of the store. We looked at sparkly dresses and I put some of them up to her in front of the mirror so she could see how she looked. Then she asked where they did ears. And that the girl "over there" (points a few racks over to a little girl maybe a year older than her) was telling her mom that she was nervous to have her ears pierced. So we asked if they did ears, and they don't. It was a little odd. Then Katie led us out and off we went back to the car.
We stopped to get some groceries (and of course I realized once we got home that I was almost out of milk and orange juice, ugh) and then picked up a pizza for dinner. There was no fighting. None.
Then, on the ride home from the pizza place I sang them that James Taylor song about "you've got a friend in me". Katie looks at the boys and says, "If you ever needed me, I would come. And Jacob, if you were drowning in the water, I would throw you a life saver. And then I would jump in and pull you to shallow water. and save you. Because you're my brother." It was one of those "awwwwww" moments. And pretty awesome to hear, as their mother who gets to hear all of the fights and yelling.
And the other day when Katie was doing naughty things and Jacob was following her lead (mostly not listening at an earlier trip to the store), I told him that he shouldn't go along with her if she was doing something mommy didn't want her to do. I asked him if he was going to listen to Katie or if he was going to listen to mommy next time... because if he listened to mommy he wouldn't get into trouble. He looks at me and says, "Mommy, I don't want to choose sides."
While their teaming up can be a little trying sometimes (because I seriously don't need TWO children looking at me like I'm a big dork much less three with Jackson joining the crew), I love that they're sticking together. And that Katie would be there for them if they needed her. I always tell them, "You don't have to like each other, but you have to love each other because your brothers and sister will always be there."
So far that whole "love each" other thing is tested daily with arguments, stuff being thrown, scuffles that end with someone crying, water being spilled, but there are more and more "I'll always be there" moments like this one. And I'm very grateful for that.