Shortly after her third birthday she became a big sister as we welcomed Little 3 into our family. There was a lot of stress around the end of my pregnancy with him having his heart problem and not being sure if he would be okay during the birth, then my 8 day stay in hospital when he was born too. With all that toing and froing, being looked after by grandparents while I was sent for monitoring and when Daddy was visiting and then suddenly thrust into life as a big sister Little 2 had to grow up a bit, not that we ever treated her as a baby as she was far too independent and clever for that but she suddenly didn't have all my time anymore.
Before Little 3 we did a lot together, hours of playing, cooking, crafting and messy play just the two of us when Little 1 was at school, it was our time and having been a stay at home mum since she was born it had always been that way when her elder sister had been at preschool and later big school (we did all those things with her when she was home too mind you).
Little 3 wasn't the easiest small baby, when he was tiny he screamed if he wasn't being fed, he had reflux and he was up much of the night, I was tired, worn out and fed up and this went on for months and months. I didn't want to do messy play or cooking, most of the time I couldn't as there was a baby attached to my chest or over my shoulder anyway. We got on with it, Little 2 was happy but I feel that she missed out for a while. It is only recently that Little 3 has finally started napping properly and sleeping at night, that he is much less tired and becoming a little happy cheeky, fun toddler and as a concequence I am a little less exhausted and I am ready to get back to the fun we had before.
I wonder what it has done to the relationship between Little 2 and I. I have been the one who had always been with her, as a stay at home mum and with Daddy working full time, there is just something there, an underwritten unspoken connection between the two of us, nothing needs to be said, it can't be seen but something joins us together, it is a totally different bond than with Little 1 and 3. It is hard to describe and it doesn't mean I love any of them any differently.
In recent weeks Little 2 has not wanted to play with me so much, she has begun playing with her little brother more now that he is becoming a toddler, she has become a little more like her big sister, telling jokes, growing in confidence and gaining a louder presence within our family. I have been thinking about her lately and about her starting school in September as she is not nearly as grown up as her sister was when she started. Little 1 was practically 5 and really ready for the challenges of school, Little 2 will be 4 and a half and I do not think she will be as ready as her big sister was.
There have been a lot of changes in our house in the past year and with Little 1 being more outgoing and out at school much of the time I think they have had much less of an effect on her than her little sister. I have not had as much one on one time with Little 2 as I once did now that Little 3 is around too and I feel guilty about that. I am making up for it now though, we have been doing crafting and baking again and I am going to make sure that we do lots of lovely things with the little ones before Little 2 starts school.
Parenting is hard and finding a balance is even harder, I can only hope we are doing the right thing by all our children to help them on their journey through life, as long as they are happy then we are too.