I’m the big sister in my family. Between my little sister and I: I had to hold the broken flower together at one of our many childhood photoshoots… I had an earlier curfew in high school… I got in trouble for stupid things (while she did not). Why does she get away with that? I’d question my parents’ judgement in my younger days. As genuinely close as my sister and I were (am): It was sooooo unfair.
But now I get it: There’s something about a little sister. There’s something about the dynamic of birth-order. There’s something about the oldest being the first born and the last-born being the baby. There’s something that I GET now, being a mom to two girls close in age (like my mom was at my stage).
(For the record, my sister will tell you that she got the short end of the stick because she was the baby… the grass is always greener, isn’t it?)
The little sister in my own family now (LilMiss) stands on our couch, jumps off of steps, still throws food on the floor, screeches her head off wildly for no reason (and then says “Scream!” laughing) and makes a total mess in the bathtub. I even let her eat snacks – on the couch – in our family room. ?!?!?? When my LadyP tried all of that stuff, I’d promptly teach her the ‘sshhhs!’ and ‘no’s’ and ‘we can’t do that here’ filosophies… and she got it right away. My little one doesn’t necessarily get it right away. My first-born (LadyP) was like a mature woman from birth (she chucked her pacifier at the ripe age of 3 months)… this little sister is still a baby. A BABY. My baby. And everyone knows the baby gets much more leeway. “She’s a baby” I tell my 3-year old when her little sister goes all wild-woman on me in the bath and makes our floor look like I just washed an elephant. “She’s a baby!” I say as I giggle and lovingly lift and remove her from running on the couch like a mad Cabbage Patch Kid. (The food-throwing gets no mercy though. I do have standards, people.) My LadyP calls her little sister ‘our baby.’
Except LilMiss is not really a baby anymore. She’s 18-months old. Going on 19-months.
My point: I get it now, Mom. I get many things now that I’m experiencing them as a mother. I get the pantry-chaos. I get the ‘my brain is full’ phrase that you’ve become so famous for saying throughout our lives (i.e.: “I don’t remember… my brain is full”). I get how the older child is the FIRST BORN and the last-born child is the BABY. Each has her own place. Each will have her own complaint. They both get equal love, but in different ways. Sure, I probably need to work on being a little more consistent with my instructions and expectations, but we all treat each of our kids a bit differently no matter what. Each child gets parented according to their own needs, personality and what they can handle. Parenting is individualized, right? Wow. What a concept. I now can smile at that.
I just hope my girls smile when they’re my age too.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND CERTAIN THINGS MORE NOW THAT YOU’RE A PARENT?