Kate just turned three. She has an older sister, Lauren who is five and a younger brother, Cooper who is seven weeks. During my pregnancy, we worked hard to prep Kate for the day she would finally be able to say “I’m the big sister.” But, shhhhhh! Don’t tell Kate that this means that she isn’t the baby anymore.
Kate and her older sister have a typical sibling relationship–as in Love/Hate. They can be playing and sharing one minute and screaming and pulling hair the next. The thing is that Lauren thinks to herself “Well, I’m the biggest and that means I’m the boss.” And Kate, well, Kate is pretty bossy herself. Let me, rephrase that–Kate is extremely bossy–did I mention sassy?–and if anyone tells her what to do, she looks them in the eye and blows a wet, noisy raspberry at them. This includes me, my husband, Grandma and Grandpa and hopefully does not include her preschool teachers next year. Kate thinks to herself “I’m the baby and I should get what I want!”
How does the introduction of a newborn baby brother change things? In addition to the fact that Kate can proudly announce “This is my baby” to everyone we meet, there have been some changes–both good and bad– as far as Kate is concerned. She now has to walk when she’d rather be carried, she has to share my lap even when she isn’t in the mood to share it, and Mommy can’t always get her what she wants when she wants it. She has to wait through endless diaper changes, nursing sessions, and worst of all–through long stretches of mommy bouncing and patting the fussing baby while he screams.
Mostly though, Kate adores Cooper. Even though I am not as available to her as I was seven weeks ago, she doesn’t seem to resent him one bit. As a matter of fact, she adores him. She wants to hold him several times a day–and his crying doesn’t phase her a bit. She’s just as happy to hold him when he’s crying and she’ll say “Don’t cry, little guy, don’t cry.” If he’s sleeping in another room and wakes up crying, she runs–sprints really–to comfort him. For her, this means eagerly shoving his pacifier into his mouth and sometimes even trying to pick him. As I run behind her pleading “Kate, please don’t pick him up!” she’ll call over her shoulder “But I’m the big sister!”
I rarely get a moment with Cooper entirely to myself during the day because as soon as I sit down with him, she rushes over, puts her arms around him and says things like “You’re such a cutie baby!” and “You’re the best baby in the whole wide world!” I am sure that someday, Kate will not be as enthralled with as her role as the middle child, but for now she seems content. She doesn’t begrudge Cooper for taking over her role as the baby. She’s just glad she has the “Cutie-est Dolly in the Whole Wide World.”