Written by Hazel Davis


Sibling envy, sibling joy

Only child and mother-of-two Hazel Davis is loving finally having siblings. Even if she did have to birth them.

twins in a toy car
When we had our second child, my partner turned to me and said, “They’re going to want to kill each other at times. Are you going to be OK with that?”

“Haha,” I laughed, “But you love your brother!”

“Yes,” he replied, “But we repeatedly wanted to kill each other. And tried.”

I am a chronically only child. I am SUCH an only child that I used to spend hours dreaming of being sent away to boarding school just to have some company.

I’m such an only child that I find it really hard to share a) food, b) beds and c) clothes. Everything I’ve ever had (or not had) has been mine. Nobody’s ever given me a wedgie and tried to take my teddy, nobody’s ever stolen my jeans and worn them to a nightclub. Poor me.

I love watching friends interact with their siblings. I once stayed up, fascinated, as two brother and sister pals stayed over at my house and talked drunken nonsense to each other into the wee hours. It was both exhausting and a joy to behold. When I see them interact, I get a pang of jealousy that I will never have that unconditional bond with someone not my child or partner.

I’m now the mother of two daughters aged four and five and not a day goes by when I don’t wonder at how two people can be at loggerheads one minute and ready to kill for each other the next. One can whack the other with a book, get a massive telling off, then the one who’s been whacked will immediately run to her defence and give her a cuddle.

It’s totally standard for my other half, who has faced endless questions from me about siblings:

“Would you lend him your last pound?”
“Would you give him your kidney?”
“Can you tell what he’s thinking by looking in his eyes?”
“Whose knob is bigger?”
“Would you sex him if it would save the planet?”
“Wait, come back!”

I love how, despite the slender 16-month (yeah I know) age gap, the five-year-old can positively melt at the four-year-old when she’s done something cute. I love how they call me by their sister’s name all the time because they’re the main person in their life.

I love how all their ‘when we are grown-up’ plans automatically feature each other: “Well, G will be looking after my children while I’m doing that anyway.” I love how they beg and beg and beg for something and when they get it give it to the other at the drop of a hat.

I love how the oldest rises with the lark, runs over to her sister (an absolute sloth in the mornings), receives a punch in the face, cries for 10 minutes and then cheers and hugs her when she wakes up.

I love how when the oldest was away with her dad, the youngest continued to talk to her in the car as though she was still there (their dad told me that when his brother left home at the age of 16 – he was about 14 – he carried on having conversations with him anyway) *gulp*.

I love how they will always have someone in the world who’s got their back. I don’t say this in a melancholic way. I have plenty of amazing friends and a lovely partner BUT having a sibling is having someone else you can say, “Yeah our parents were SO WEIRD” to (and I’m sure they will) or someone you can call in the middle of the night and cry at, or someone you can steal jeans from.


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Written by Hazel Davis

Hazel Davis is a freelance writer from West Yorkshire. She has two tiny children but the majority of her hours are taken up with thinking about Alec Baldwin singing sea shanties and the time someone once called her "moreishly interesting".