It's no secret in our family: Little Miss M requires a lot of time and energy. There are many things our family doesn't do because she cannot tolerate the excitement, the crowds, the heat or the overload. Which of course leads to plenty of "that's not fair" and "why not?" in our day. I feel horrible when I have to say no to an activity or experience for the whole family, or when I have to miss an activity with all of my second born's friends and parents. Yet, I also see it shaping K-Bear, the "typical" sibling, into a wonderful person.
At only five and a half, K-Bear is compassionate and thoughtful. She knows how to push Little Miss M to get a reaction, but she also knows how listen and calm her down. At five and a half, she understands when Mommy cannot go somewhere with her or when I have to be gone for full days at a time for doctor's appointments and hospital visits.
Perhaps, because of this, I am often tempted to overcompensate in raising my middle child. Let's face it, the baby is two and with me all day everyday while her big sisters are at school and Little Miss M garners so much attention because of who she is. This leaves K-bear, the middle child, the typical sibling. I make every effort to make special date time with her, to go above and beyond to cuddle and snuggle. She is her very own person. She is Little Miss M's sister for sure, but she is also K-bear and for all she has gained from being the typical sibling, there are certainly difficulties along with it.
If you haven't read Ellen Stumbo's letter to the typical sibling, I recommend it. A lot of what she says is eye opening and truthful.
Parenting is hard and rewarding and confusing and you just really hope you are doing things right! I'm sure this isn't unique to our family. How do you make sure everyone's needs are met?
Amanda is doing her best to remember that she's raising three individual and remarkable young ladies; they are their own people!