Kid 1 is in charge. Firmly in charge. As much as she sometimes tests her older sister’s patience, Kid 1+1 totally idolises her. This can be frustrating for me as their mother. Sometimes I want to say to kid 1+1, “but what do you think? have your own opinions! do what you want to do!”, but I don’t. So, I continue to see the mind games and the manipulation that occurs between older and younger sibling as it happens – live. I see kid 1 scowling at kid 1+1, or pushing out her bottom lip when she feels aggrieved about something/anything, and kid 1+1 caving and giving in. And I’m not sure I like it. I am an older sister. Is that really what I was like? Did I rule with a pout and a stare?
Then, as if it wasn’t enough that kid 1 dominates the relationship at times, second child syndrome dictates that kid 1+1 is not lavished with the full attention that kid 1 was always given. Not because of any malice towards her, but because there is simply not enough time (or energy) to do all the wonderful things that we did with the first one when you ahve more than one child. And it would be a waste not to re-use kid 1’s clothes/shoes/underwear/circle of friends *hides face in shame*. So, I feel guilty because I am not giving the second child everything that the first had and because the second child is basically living the life her older sister has allowed her to have.
Kid 1+1 does, from time to time, attempt an uprising, a coup d’état. She will fight the power and fight it with conviction and strength. But, eventually, order is restored and it always comes back to the status quo.
I am the oldest of four siblings. As such, I have never seen the sibling dynamic from kid 1+1’s perspective i.e. as a younger sister. But when I think about it, growing up, I generally did hold more sway when it came to my parents. Majority rule wasn’t a thing in our household. If I wanted to do something that the other 3 perhaps didn’t want to do, we would, typically, do what I wanted to do. There was probably some resentment from the others at the time, but, I either didn’t notice or I wasn’t particularly fussed. It was all too long ago and I can’t really remember.
But I do remember all the trailblazing that I had to do for the ones who followed after me. As a very astute person once said, with great power comes great responsibility. I was the one who pushed the boundaries on the 9pm curfew so that they could enjoy the 11pm, 1am and then the whatever-time-suits-you curfews that came after me. I was the one who had to face the shame and humiliation of being picked up by our parents and then complain about it bitterly so that they were able to get a cab home or stay over at a friend’s house. I was the one who, as a 70’s baby, just missed out on being a part of Generation Y, a club to which the rest of my siblings belong and which they all enjoy of. For this, my siblings should be forever grateful. So, as I muse further over this, I think that, perhaps, the power is deserved and, perhaps, kid 1+1 doesn’t have such a tough break.
I am also steeling myself for the battering that I will face in approximately 10 years, when I have two teenage daughters trying to weasel their way around their [insert your own ridiculously early time here] curfew.
What do you think? Do your kids live in egalitarian bliss? Or does one hold the power? Does it bother you?