Like every mother, I would like my daughters to grow up the best of friends. And they are certainly very attached to one another and play nicely much of the time. Because they are so close in age, they can do pretty much everything together. It's really heart-warming to look at them drawing together at the table, or observing a tortoise they found in the yard, or kneading little bits of dough into bagels and pretzels that will go in the oven together with the challah I'm making.
However, many mornings we are waken up by horrendous screeching, which usually means that someone snatched a toy away, or someone pushed or, as a friend of mine very wisely put, they are simply "fighting over dead air space".
I know this is normal. A quick search of the web produces results which state only too plainly I'm not the only one with a problem of sibling rivalry. Some people offer advice such as "make sure each child has a room and toys of his own, so they don't need to share as much" or "send them to different schools". I don't believe this really solves the problem; I probably have to deal with more sibling rivalry because we are home all day, every day, together - but it simply means the issue is always on the table and we can't avoid working it out (if we want to keep our sanity, that is).
Then there's the fact that we most often have to rely on our own resources. We only have one car, and my husband uses it. We live in an outpost. This means we can't just pop into the store, the post office, or the swimming pool - all those things require planning. My children, unlike almost any other children I know, don't go to extra-curricular activities. Of course, neither did I as a kid, and it didn't hurt me - I just made up my own. I drew, wrote stories and poetry and, in my teens, learned a foreign language all on my own. But it still makes me feel a flutter of panic when I consider that another five-year-old goes to ballet class, sculpting class, and an English class. We don't buy any workbooks or "education advancing" equipment. We just rely on plain old paper, pencils, paint, books, basic craft supplies, and whatever we can make out of it all.
What we do have are surroundings of beautiful nature and interesting wildlife, books, the Internet, and each other. We also have a well-meaning Mom who often fails to keep her temper but always gets up next day and tries again.