I had 2 older sisters growing up. There was a large age gap, so basically, I was an only child for many years.
My sisters tell me often that I was spoiled. Maybe I was. My parents were a little older when they had me, more established in their careers, and it was kind of just me around the house.
My mom was a nurse. So when she went to work, she left before I woke up in the mornings. That left my dad in charge of getting me ready for school.
Now that I am remembering this memory, I’m laughing to myself. Because, yeah, it’s going to seem like I was really spoiled.
I don’t remember how old I was, in elementary school is all I can recall.
My dad use to get up and turn the tv on for me to cartoons. I remember Tom and Jerry.
He would pour my cereal and set up a TV tray next to the couch for me.
He would then carry me down to our basement/tv room and set me on the couch to enjoy my morning breakfast and cartoons.
Yeah, Life of Riley, right?
My older sister was in high school and would be getting ready at this time. I’m sure there were a lot of eye rolls coming from her during this period.
I laugh because it seems silly. I know my dad loved me and to him it was his way of “taking care of his baby.”
But, I try to imagine doing this for one of my kids, daily and think, there is no way. I don’t have time or the desire to cater like that.
But really, as parents we all do things for our kids that others looking in might think is extreme. Or we let one kid get away with a little more due to their birth order.
At the age of 3, my oldest was doing so much. I expected her to. Dressing herself, cleaning up after herself, learning all her colors and letters.
My now 3 year old, is still a baby in my eyes.
I dress her, I don’t expect her to be able to clean up much and she still calls every color pink.
I expect so much of my first born and see her as capable. My 3 year old gets it. When I ask her to do something she says, “I can’t mom, I’m just little..” And I laugh, because she’s obviously big enough to play me, to understand she’s only got to open up those ginormous eyes of hers and curl that lower lip and she will get what she wants.
I don’t think it’s playing favorites, I just think it’s different times in our parenting lives that determine how we treat each kid.
Most of the time with our oldest we are so concerned with milestones and reading all the parenting books. They seem a bit more mature.
When I had my second, I was still focused on my oldest. While I was breastfeeding the younger one, I was quizzing the oldest with flash cards.
When I was rocking my “baby” to sleep at night and my husband was working the night shift, my oldest was by herself watching tv.
Does that sound weird of me? Maybe, I don’t know. My 3 year old is never alone. She either has me, her dad or her older sister with her. My first born didn’t have that luxury.
My oldest is sensible and responsible. My second is funny and loves having a good time. (I can already predict their teenaged years.)
I’m also older now and so much wiser (Ha Ha). With ever child, I will have different experiences and expectations. I can already tell you my youngest, who is only 8 months old, may be able to get away with murder when he’s a little older.
I can already hear each child reminiscing when they are older, reminding me of how I was easier on one child or seemed to like another better.
But, it is just how it seems to go.
My sisters and I recall different experiences growing up. Different feelings, different relationships with our parents. My kids will probably do this too.
I hope though, that no matter the differences, they still feel they got enough love and support from us. As parents we are doing everything we can, everything we know how. With every child we learn a little more (and sometimes become more relaxed).
In each of their own ways, they are all still “my baby” and I’m sure in some ways I will never stop thinking that.