The 'Me Too' Syndrome

My husband and I talked about having three children from the time we
knew that we would be getting married. Well, initially he wanted to
have six kids, but I managed to talk him down—thinking that six might
be just a bit too much to afford. Three seemed like a nice number.

When our first child was eleven months old, we decided to start
trying for another baby. Nine months later, we welcomed our second baby
girl. The first couple of years were difficult, with basically raising
two babies while working full-time as well, but once they got a bit
older and able to play with each other more easily, we hit a stretch of
fairly smooth sailing. They are close enough in age that they tend to
hit the same milestones at around the same times nowadays.

Enter baby number three ... She was born when our oldest was almost
five and our second daughter had just turned three. Now, her big
sisters adore her and there's really been very little sibling rivalry.
But "baby" has now turned to "toddler," a very independent, stubborn
toddler no less-and life has gotten much more interesting.

Her
favorite words at the moment are "mine!" and "me too!" She not only
wants to do everything that the "big girls" do, she thinks that she can
and it's extremely difficult to convince her otherwise. Tears and
tantrums are more common than I like to think about, usually resulting
in a sobbingly frustrated little girl finally turning to someone for
help with whatever she was trying to attempt that she wasn't quite
ready for anyway.

Did our older two girls put their own boots on
before age two? I don't remember for sure, although I very much doubt
it. Could they use a "big" spoon or drink from an open cup? Our
youngest does. Oh, not always very neatly, but she wants to try. She
knows how to ride a three-wheeled scooter-not very far or fast, but
she's got the idea down pat. She's also let us know that she's much too
big for the "baby" swings - at eighteen months old she
surprised us by showing that she could hold on and swing (gently) in
the "big kid" ones. Keeping her off of the soccer field at her older
sisters' games is a challenge and I still think that she's convinced
that she is on their teams too.

Not that this is necessarily
a bad thing. Having a toddler who is very interested in this whole
potty idea (because big sisters use it, of course!) isn't something I
am complaining about for sure. And little miss independent is quite
happy to work on dressing herself and other tasks that she sees bigger
kids doing themselves. It's just taking some getting used to on our
part. I keep finding myself saying, "you can't do that yet!" only to
revise myself shortly afterward as I realize that often, she can.

Where
this will take her as she grows older, I don't know. There will be many
times where she is just plain "too little" or "too young" yet, and
she's going to have to learn to accept that. Gracefully, I hope.
Because while screaming ‘me too!' at the top of her lungs with tears
pouring down her face may be (at least somewhat) understandable for a
two-year-old who is just learning how to communicate, I'm thinking that
it'll be much less so when she's twelve.

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