I am the proud mom of two little girls. Two amazing little girls who are as individual and unique as you ever did get. Not just in looks but in behaviour and character as well. My eldest daughter is an amazing child. She is clever, good at sports, kind, generous and she feels things very deeply. However, it is very apparent that she is very ‘needy’. Emotionally needy. So what do we do when one child needs you more than the other?
Lately I have found myself confiding in my youngest daughter to please help me when it comes to ‘managing’ my eldest. To put this into perspective, the youngest is 5 in two weeks time, and the eldest is 7 in about a months time. When I do this, I feel so guilty. #momguilt
I shouldn’t have to do that. She’s so little. But the fact is that I need her cooperation in order to actually achieve what is required.Here’s what happened today, as one example of what I mean.
Getting Ready For School
My eldest is terrified of being late. I don’t know why. She has never been late for school. Even if she was late, it’s not like the school will punish her but the thought of being late terrifies her.
She also has sensory issues so she freaks out if clothing is too tight on her wrists, or ankles, or if it’s too “heavy”. The weather turned yesterday and it is now so cold that she has to wear her jumper under her blazer. The blazer is compulsory for their winter uniform. She responds well to rules. So she doesn’t argue about the blazer, or the tie around her neck, but she has decided she hates her jumper. I guess because it’s optional.
But when it’s 6°C, is it really optional? Not in my opinion.
Yesterday morning it took me 20 minutes of calm reasoning and pleading to get her to wear her jumper. After many tears, she eventually conceded. The worst part of it all were her reasons for not wanting to wear her jumper:
- It makes her feel heavy.
- It makes her look fat!!!! (A topic for another blog post – I’m far too emotional about that to write about it now.)
Today it took 15 minutes.
The Silent Observer
During yesterday’s battle, my youngest was observing this whole scene whilst also trying to get her two minutes of airtime by ‘dragging her feet’ and not putting on her *blady* shoes! Every day! Same struggle.
Today – same story. Only today, half way through the jumper battle, she decides to say to her sister, “Don’t worry, you won’t look fat.”.
I know she did it to be kind to her sister. Or did she? I also know that she did it to deflect the fact that she, once again, was not putting on her shoes! Because I do actually see her.
But up until that point, the eldest hadn’t yet used that phrase as an argument to not wear her jumper.
I found myself hissing at the youngest,
“Why did you say that? Just leave it alone. I don’t need that right now. Can you not just help me with her because otherwise we ARE going to be late and you know how she will behave then? But don’t tell her that!”
No, I’m not proud of myself. It’s not the youngest child’s job to help me, the mother, to manage her overly sensitive older sister is it?
The Brutal Truth
But the fact is, she does know what I mean. Just as I know the eldest child’s trigger points, so does the youngest.
You see, as clever as my eldest is, I suspect the youngest is even more so. She also has the added advantage of not having the emotional and sensory issues that her older sister does. I suspect in time that this one will turn out to be one of those “ones to watch”. She’s a fighter and she’s stubborn, a born leader, independent and calculating in order to achieve her goals. She is also the most loving, and cuddly little monkey ever!
These are all qualities that I admire because, the reality is that I am far more like my eldest in character and personality, and I guess that is why I ‘get’ her when many others don’t. It’s quite possibly also the reason her and I fight as much as we do.
My mom and sister actually joke that I am the ‘needy’ one. I need my mom far more than my sister does. It’s a fact we all realise.
The other thought to consider is, does it have something to do with birth order?
I am the eldest child. Now I have two daughters, just as my mother did. But this is something I see with my mom friends too. Because the eldest child is the first to reach all the stages of life, we as their mothers are there to help them, hold their hand, support them through it, because it’s our first time too.
The younger child, and all the siblings after that, will never be the first to do most of the things, unless they choose different hobbies or sports. But as a rule, the eldest does things first.
As parent’s, by the time our second, third, fourth of fifth child get to the first sleep over, the first day of school, the first time riding their bike, etc, we have already experienced this as a parent with our first-born child. That’s not to say that we are less interested, less impressed, less proud. But what else is there to do when one child needs you more than the other?
It’s because we are less scared …
Parenting is scary. Parenting is hard. There’s a first time for everything, and the first time is always the most scary. And we mess up sometimes too – I Let Her Down, And I Didn’t Even Know!
That old saying, the first child is brought up, but the second child is dragged up, doesn’t mean we don’t care, love or see our other children. It’s that we’re still playing catch up with the eldest. We tend to have more faith in our other children that they can achieve whatever milestone it is, because the first-born blazed the trail in front, led the way.
I guess what I’m saying is the even when one child needs you more, it doesn’t mean we aren’t there for the other(s). Each child will eventually blaze their own trail through life. We just have to be there to support them in the way they need. And each child will need you in a different way.
This post is written from my own perspective on parenting two little girls. I’m not a perfect parent and I’m not a parenting expert. I’m a mommy blogger, blogging my life as a parent and the struggles I face in the modern world the way I see it.