Much of the time, it's me, M, and E, and they bicker and compete for my attention. It's of huge importance whether I ask first "So what's new in second grade?" or "So what's new in seventh grade?" and I try my hardest to alternate, but I fail.
Sometimes S is home, and then it feels like we are the most normal of pleasant nuclear families, except the girls still compete and grandstand for attention.
Lately, though, we have not infrequently eaten dinner with one child at a time. M is in a play which rehearses from 6-9 a few nights a week, so most often E is the favored one, sitting between us at the head of the table (for some reason E sits at the head of the table when there are four of us, with me and S on either side, and M next to one of us; if it is just me and the girls, I sit at the head of the table; but when it is two parents and one girl, the girl sits at the head, and we parents sit across from each other on either side). Tonight I put E to bed while S was picking up M, and then we had a late dinner with M.
These dinners are quite delightful. The solo child sparkles and gleams, conversing politely and enthusiastically, if a bit narcissistically. There is no squabbling and no sulking, just the happiest of children and her adoring parents.
I figure having one's parents to oneself is kind of like the sunrise: one appreciates it so greatly largely because one experiences it so rarely. Except lately I've been seeing the sunrise every day, and every day it's lovely. Which does not bode well for mutual sibling appreciation.