They struggle a bit to find their own spaces, the lads do. They have to share their books, and the games are all communal. We don’t even really know who owns this T shirt, these shorts, those underpants. Given the logistical difficulties with getting around Abu Dhabi (and plus, did I mention I hate driving) I don’t do any after school stuff that they can’t both do. They do all of the same things all of the time. They always have which has always partly been because I’ve been so very tired ever since they were born really, and the fact that we get anywhere at all sometimes surprises me. They have a pretty intense relationship which makes our jobs as the adults in their lives sometimes simple, sometimes complex.

Until last night, they were even sharing a bed. When they were little, they would start off in separate beds, but we would always find them snuggled in together when we went off to bed, then, when we moved here, we inherited a double and a queen and we just never got around to getting them another bed. And anyway, we do the usual bed hopping that lots of families with young children do me here, him there, that boy here, that boy there. We don’t co-sleep, but the arrangements have always been fairly fluid, especially because I’ve spent a lot of time alone with them and often we’ve gone to bed at the same time.

But that’s changing. Last night, they slept not just in separate beds, but separate rooms. It was all planned and arranged by youngest lad. And while he, youngest lad, was busy organising his new space and his books and his lego and his pokemon cards, eldest was saying, ‘Mum, will you snuggle me before I go to sleep?’

Image: leaving Istanbul train station on their first ever overnight train journey.
train station, istanbul