sisters1.JPGI’ve discovered something about my second-born- I don’t know that much about her. Her birthday is in a few days, and when it comes to thinking of what she might like, I am uncertain. Sure, I can ask her. But I know what she’ll say; anything will be a variation of what her older sister likes. The reality is, she lives in the shadow of a big sister, and can often be found duplicating what the elder does. Because of this, I never know if what she is choosing to do is really her choice at all. I remember a time we were making bookmarks- I gave each a pattern to follow for the front. Big Sister signs her name to the back, surrounds it with a puffy cloud and embellishes with a cross. Little Sister proceeds to turn her bookmark over and do this:dsc02854.JPG

She ended up crossing out her name because it didn’t look as good as you-know-who’s. I carry this in my Bible, and it hurts a little every time I see it. I always wonder what she would have drawn, had she been the only one making bookmarks that day.

I cannot relate because my family position was the older sister throwing her weight around, so I thought I’d open this up for any advice you might have. First, is this really a problem? I mean, I’m seeing some humble and submissive qualities in her, not altogether a bad thing. People who grow up as people- pleasers may have their set of issues, but not as bad (or as many) as Type A’s, in my opinion. And maybe there is nothing wrong with liking a thing because somebody else liked it first, and having it better, because it was tried on Big Sister first. But I wonder if I’m missing some opportunity of giving each their own identity if I don’t figure out how to let this one be somewhat autonomous. How am I to encourage it, when she is isn’t often alone, and rarely gets to pick the game of ‘Tenusay’? 🙂

Definition: Tenusay- v. usually in the form of a command. Directs other children to speak lines the pretend play leader, usually the oldest sister, is thinking up as they go.

ie. “Tenusay, ‘Rick, I’ll marry you if you get a haircut’…”

5 Replies to “Sisters”

  1. Ah, yes….somehow I find myself relating quite well to S 🙂
    Just kidding, but didn’t you have a blog first ?!?!?

    I definitely find myself being a people pleaser, but there are things I’ve found that I do that you do not. I’m sure along the way S will find what she enjoys regardless of what big sis is doing 🙂

    Maybe there is a way to find some one-on-one time with her, maybe that’s what you can do for her birthday ???

  2. Coming from a large family myself I can think of many things that may promote individuality. I was the oldest though and cannot really appreciate what S may be going through.

    It is important to try to spend time alone with each child- mom and father. I remember my dad taking me out to dinner when I didn’t have a date for homecoming- 3 years in a row. They were very special ‘dates’ for me. Maybe with mom having a lunch together or shopping or a movie.

    One thing we did in our family was rotating jobs around the house. You could do something similar with each child having a ‘day’ that they pick out the books to read or game to play or what show to watch etc… We also each had a day assigned to pray at dinner. Just some ideas.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Oh that bookmark story made me sad too. It’s probably normal though and will play a part in shaping her identity. My youngest bro to this day wants to be like our oldest bro-and better. There is that admiration/competition going on. I am also the big sis (ringleader) in my family, but since I’m the only girl, it is a little different. The only part I’d be concerned about is where it affects her self esteem in a negative way. Our boys love a book called FOLLOW THE LEADER (by Erica Silverman) where the big brother leads all the time, is horrified when little bro starts to lead, but in the end finally accepts that little bro will lead sometimes, and that is fun too.

  4. P.S. When you notice Sarah is interested in something unique, I’d run with it. My tiny boy has some of his own funny interests (maps and flags); so he got his own children’s atlas for Christmas & loves his own “map book”. Wasn’t Sarah the one that first wanted to be a princess all the time when she was little?

  5. Remember on the Brady Bunch – I think it was Bobby and all of his pictures in kindergarten were coming home in black crayon. Everyone panicked – thought he was having serious issues about being the youngest of six kids etc etc… Turned out that by the time he got around to picking out his crayon – all of the other colors were gone! That was all.
    Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. Maybe artistic bookmarks aren’t Sarah’s thing. I think she is definitly her own person – as are all of your beautiful children.

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