After people ask us how we’re sleeping and if our little baby is healthy after her NICU fiasco, the next questions are usually about our toddler and how she’s doing as a big sister. Is she jealous? Is she gentle? Does she like the new baby?
Simply put–she’s amazing.
Now before I brag shamelessly about my oldest child, let me start with a disclaimer. Most of the time, the tot does her own thing and is indifferent to the baby. During Z’s first 48 hours at home, the phrase we heard most from Big Sister was, “Baby Sister, Watch this! Watch me!” However, Big Sister quickly learned that Little Sister wasn’t doing much watching. She was mostly sleeping. And eating. And pooping. (Sometimes all three at the same time.) So Big Sister started to pay less and less attention to her sister.
With that said, let’s get back to the bragging!
Toddlers are supposed to be selfish and self-centered. They’re supposed to be jealous of the new sibling (aka the competition). They’re supposed to be feisty and mean, because they suddenly have to share mom and dad with a new, demanding little one.
At least with our big girl. (So far.)
It started in the hospital. Big Sister cried when she couldn’t visit her baby sister in the NICU. And not a whiny, pouty cry. She was sad.
At home, Big Sister has been extremely sensitive to Little Sister’s needs. When the baby cries, A suggests ways to make her better: “Baby need Mommy’s milk?” And if the baby is in her bouncer and starts to cry, Big Sister urgently demands, “Daddy, pick up Baby Z!”
When the baby’s asleep in her crib and starts to fuss, our (almost) two-year-old rushes to her room: “I check her!” Then she runs through her little self-made checklist: “Baby need paci? Baby need blanket? Baby need hat? Baby need (ther)mometer? Wait (for the) beep!”
Before her nap today (which the toddler now tries to avoid by using the very rational argument “My awake now. My happy!”), we were sitting on the couch reading books. Big Sister asked to help hold the baby and then she made a point to show Z all the pictures. That’s right! Pass on your love of books and reading!
And when big sis is feeling needy, she doesn’t ask for us to put her baby sister down. Instead she asks, “Daddy, pick up two girls?”
So while I know that two sisters so close in age will inevitably fluctuate between best friends and frenemies, I’d say their relationship is off to a good start.
And A has shown me some of the better parts of human nature–selflessness, purity, compassion.
I could learn a lot from my little big girl!