While making small talk with another mom today, she asked me what it is like having three kids. After the usual disclaimer about hectic bedtime routines and how invaluable it is to have a hands-on husband, I had to give credit to my big kids and how helpful they are with the baby, especially Em. She is truly such an unbelievable helper and loves to be near her baby sister.
I explained to this other mom that this past fall Em was a different kid. She was shy, always hiding behind my legs and incapable of saying hi to a stranger. She was hesitant to try new things and uncomfortable being on her own in groups. In response we pulled her out of preschool, took the opportunity to enroll her in some activities she has grown to love, and most importantly, let her revel in her role of big sister. Oh, how she has grown.
I explained how Em’s whole life she had been Jax’s little sister, and Jax is a force to be reckoned with. Suddenly he was in school five days a week and it was as if Em was left to fend for herself, but she didn’t know how. We took the steps to help build her self-confidence, but it was really Little H who showed Em that she isn’t just Jax’s little sister. She is someone’s Big Sister, too, and that is a very important job indeed, one that she is extraordinarily equipped for. One she was born to do.
Learning to be H’s big sister has been the single greatest gift I could have given Em and helped her blossom these past few months into a girl who walks excitedly down the stairs to gymnastics, who dances with abandon at ballet, and who is willing to be dropped off and try something new, like an art class, with instructors and peers she has never met before. She knows now that she can do anything, because we are there to catch her, but mostly because H is there watching her, learning from her all the time. Em knows she wants to be a good example, and without question, she is more perfect at being a big sister than I could have ever dreamed. The perfect big and little sister, all rolled into one.