"It's not hot lunch day, we only have hot lunch on Wednesdays - you know you're not allowed to be here" she said with authority. The Third Little Traveller knew he'd been caught but immediately took the defensive role. "Well, I had money left over from the book fair, my book was only 20 so I had 10 in change". She knew she had him, they'd been no mention in the car that morning of change or being able to buy hot lunch. "I'm telling Mum - you're going to be in so much trouble."
The reason I can recite this conversation verbatim is because I endured an episode of he said/she said on the way home from school yesterday. Anyone with more than one child has experienced he said/she said. It fits in to the sibling injustice program of "how come he got..." and "why did she get to..." and my all time favourite "Why do I always have to..." In all of these conversations Mum becomes a three syllable word "Muuu uuuuuu uuuuum".
Hot lunch may well be the biggest excitement of the Little Travellers school week. The rest of the week is filled with sandwiches, carrot sticks and youghurt drinks, but on Wednesday, standing in the line for a possible Fajita or plate of spaghetti is, I'm told, "super awesome". Watching your sibling stand in line for hot lunch while you nibble on your soggy cucumber, not so super awesome.
However, by the end of our trip home from school, we'd moved on. Deals were made, future rules decided and everyone was happy. The conversation moved on to the Third Little Travellers impending birthday. We talked about cake, chocolate or vanilla, swimming and presents.
This morning as we all crowded in bed together watching the The Third Little Traveller open his presents he was then presented with a bag from his sister. "I made you a present" she said with genuine affection. In the bag was a collection of items she had gathered from around the house, a second hand Qatar Airways eye mask, a 2 year old pencil sharpener, an eraser, her math facts from last year and a pink hairband.
The Third Little Traveller was overjoyed with his gifts - he didn't seem to notice that the pencil eraser had someone else's name on it or that he didn't really have enough hair for a ponytail. I didn't tell him that I'd found the youngest little traveller, naked in his room, using the eye mask as underwear yesterday.
With the bag was a hand written note from the second little traveller to the third, he read the note out loud and the room went quiet.
I was surprised she held herself back and didn't feel the need to add "but you really shouldn't have had hot lunch yesterday"
He put the note down and shuffled across the bed for a very awkward if I touch you, promise you wont you bite me hug.
That's the thing with siblings, we can be so ready to pounce and so quick to judge. Sometimes we just care a little bit too much. But sometimes we care more than anyone else in the world.
Happy Birthday my little man, I think possibly the best present we gave you were the siblings who not only act as lunch monitors, but think you're asome as well.