Different. Challenging. Mind-Boggling. Busy. Frustrating. Bed Wetting. Thankless. High Chairs. Driving.
Here’s what’s different. The millionaire’s family earned the title for good reason. All amusement park rides, airplane row seating, restaurant tables are set up for families of four but there’s more than that, things I had never considered.
When we had Hanna, we feared adding a second child would disrupt the great relationship we were in the process of developing with her. Enter Ellie and we wondered why we ever waited.
Older sister Hanna loved her pet project and laughed along with us at all of the firsts she was experiencing vicariously through a younger version of herself.
When Chloe came into the picture, those firsts were old news, Hanna was 6 ½ and I am realizing, there will NEVER be a time (until they are in the red hat club as retired Vets, dolphin water-skiers and crayon eaters) that they will be doing the same thing at the same time.
Hanna and Ellie play well together. They constantly ask when it’s Chloe’s naptime to get her out of their hair and their sticker books. So the butcher and the baker carry on as fast friends while the candlestick maker tags behind eating a lot of wax. I worry there will never be a time they will run in the same circles or have the same interests. When Hanna is 12 and the baby is 6 they’ll be hard pressed to find an eye brow threading appointment side by side.
Three’s a crowd in the back seat, on the couch, in the tub and is becoming complicated and cramped.
What about me? I’m older, less attractive, ageing exponentially every year and finding less time for general grooming and/or hygiene. Contrary to what you might think, I’m less patient. You might assume having been through two children in diapers you would sit back and relax with the third. Instead you look at the third child with bewilderment wondering why they haven’t been paying attention to all of the hard work you did with the older siblings? Why haven’t they caught on?
They don’t like the same music, t.v. shows, movies and I find myself dumbing it down sometimes for balance, encouraging the older siblings to go back to a time where Dora was queen of the universe so the baby feels more like a family member and less like a clingy pet.
Ellie will never play the role of big sister to Chloe the way Hanna did for her because she has options. She can choose to play with her older sibling, marvelling at the schoolyard tales of how she and her friends out-played the boys in a game of freeze-tag, big-kid antics, technology and dialog or, she can sit on the floor with an 18 month old and teach her how to make the sound a duck makes a little more like “quack” and a little less like “cock.” The choice is simple. Older sibling wins out every time.
What I’m learning is they will all have a different experience. They will live in the same house with the same parents with the same number of siblings yet their life challenges and victories will be unique to each of them.
Hanna was the first and only child with all of our love attention for two and a half years.
Along came Ellie who robbed Hanna of some of the attention but none of the love and in return she gave Hanna some of her own.
Chloe might be the tag along for now but someday when her sister is competing in that dolphin pulling water-skiing tournament (ski for the cure) she’ll be driving the boat…..with all of our love and attention.