I’m the referee in this home game

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STEVE CANAVAN: Hard truths and sage advice for fathers-to-be: part two

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Along with supermarket shelf stacker, cinema popcorn seller and radio station presenter, I now have a new job I can type onto my CV.

I haven’t got any qualifications in my new role and I haven’t actually been doing it for long but with it being a round-the-clock job that starts from the moment my eyes open in the morning and goes on sometimes for the entire day, I feel like an expert in the field.

My new job is extremely hard work but sadly doesn’t include any perks of a normal job like a pension, holiday allowance and a monthly wage into my bank account.

So what is this role, which sometimes has me breaking into a sweat and leaves me feeling like I need to head straight to the airport for an unplanned relaxing holiday but doesn’t give me a pay slip to open and admire?

Well I am now a referee.

My duties include ensuring fair play at all times with a neutral point of view, addressing frustration and intervening early with a calming influence, solving any conflicts that arise and being prepared to show the red card for any behaviour deemed unacceptable.

But in my new role of authority I’m not working with two rival football teams – I don’t even own a whistle or a stopwatch anyway – but I am refereeing two opposing teams.

They are Team Caitlin and Team Alyssa. Both consisting of one player, they have a rivalry similar to that of Pompey and Saints.

My daughters aged two and 
three years old, like most siblings, don’t seem to see eye to eye on many things.

The slightest little thing can create a war zone in the Hayden household.

That includes which chair they sit on at the breakfast table. Even though both chairs are exactly the same and both will give exactly the same breakfast experience, it can cause a squabble.

Or sometimes a book can be the cause of discontent, with both of them pulling at one side of the book with cries of ‘I had it first’.

This is where I come in to try and restore calm to the situation. Every situation is not the same, though, and sometimes it’s better to leave them to it and work it out for themselves.

At other times it’s better to sit down and chat to them and sometimes detective work is needed to see who instigated the argument.

What I find most interesting when watching them squabble, argue and fight with each other is the fact that as they get older, the sibling bond will be the strongest and will probably outlast all others.

So even though it’s a struggle now and might be for a few years to come, one day the squabbling will stop... hopefully.