Follow me, like a procession! Bea commanded us to proceed into the hallway and watch, enthralled, as she colored a square on her rewards chart.
I rolled my eyes and muttered to Frank, No wonder firstborns are egocentric!
One of the biggest adjustments of having two is the classic need for our firstborn to abdicate all the attention we had showered on her. And, Elle is our classic second – long fuse, content with what she can get. (Mostly. I’m noticing Elle already knows how to use her squawking to get what she needs…)
One of my biggest worries about adding a second was being fair. We had been able to shower Bea exclusively – how was I going to recreate that attention and those special moments for Elle?
The answer is, I can’t. It is literally impossible to give Elle the undivided attention I was able to give Bea. And that’s ok. It’s ok on so many levels – clearly second born kids are just as successful. But I also see that Elle gets more attention than Bea did. Perhaps it’s not exclusively from me, but when I’m making dinner or doing something else, Bea is right with her, reading and talking with her. The spaces in which I feel like I’m not giving enough are filled by her big sister.
Frank just finished reading The 5 Love Languages and I just finished reading the version for children. I was reminded that, while having a full “love tank” is so important, it doesn’t have to come from one single person. (Elizabeth Gilbert also talks about this in Committed.) We’re learning to outsource what we can, to spread out into our community for what we can, and to use our strengths (and stretch our weaknesses) to do what we can.
So, our firstborn still adjusts to split attention and our baby thrives on attention from many. And I’m learning that it’s ok that I can’t do it all myself. That’s why we have communities and friends and siblings – to help share the load.
Where are you in the birth order? How do you spread out your responsibilities?
Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt was “first.”