Today our local art center had a showing and reception for all of the grade school children whose art was specially chosen. My daughter who is in kindergarten was chosen and it was an incredibly proud moment for her to see her artwork in a real art show! We went as a family, with her twin baby sisters in tow and she had a beautiful moment with an elderly lady that I would love to share.
As usual, when going out with the twins, they got a LOT of attention. My partner and I both try our hardest to shower her with attention when this happens and today, her special day, was no exception. Normally people say to her 'You must be mommy's helper' or 'I bet you help with them' which is truly meant kindly, but not the most positive thing for another kid to hear when they are gushing over how cute/pretty/smart the baby twins are. And to be honest, as amazing as Lily is with them, we try really hard to NOT make her a helper since she's a kid herself. Our expectations of her are to try hard at school, be a good friend, be respectful, etc. They are not for her to be a babysitter or third parent. So while strangers saying this are meant well, sometimes I feel it puts a negative spin on new siblings.
After hearing for an hour about 'Helpers' at the art show, you could tell she was feeling down. Then an elderly lady said to her 'You know you are really lucky. Those babies are going to look up to you, and want to follow you around and do everything you can do! You get to teach them lots of fun stuff and you will have a great bond when they're older.' ...Folks I could have cried! The first positive comment from a stranger who made having siblings sound like more than a chore! Lily instantly changed attitudes and you could see the little wheels turning in her head! After hearing helper for so long, this was truly amazing!
So I wanted to share and say thank you to this insightful lady who confirmed what mommy and daddy have been saying for a while now! Maybe this will spread the word on positive comments to older siblings. Showing them some attention too can make a world of difference, even if the babies are adorable!
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