I have been wanting to write about this for some time but was afraid that I would not be able to control my emotions, and tears, when I do.
You know, when I gave birth to my second baby, it seemed like my firstborn, willingly or not, had to grow up overnight when she became a big sister. At just three years old and starting to understand basic instructions, I wasn't sure if it was too much for her to handle and I thought I was already being very sensitive to her feelings by having a siblings gift exchange, by explaining to her about babies, by trying my best to speak in a calming and soothing voice, by making sure I not only gave the baby hugs and kisses, I also cuddled with my big girl whenever I could.
Then, the truth set in and with all the chores piling up, no extra pair of hands and an additional human being to look after in the house, I started to expect more of my girl and gave her more responsibilities - at times more than what she could handle.
"Go play with meimei in the living room while Mummy makes dinner, okay?"
"You are the big sister, why must you always snatch the toy?"
"Yes, just because you are BIG, you should learn to give in more."
"She is just a baby, she can't understand me. But you can, and I need you to."
"Mummy needs to take a shower. Can you play toys with meimei and look after her?"
"You can't do this and can't do that because your sister is going to learn all these bad habits from you."
"Where are your manners? Do you know you are going to be five years old already?"
"What kind of a big sister are you and what are you teaching your meimei when you do this action?"
"Don't run so fast! Meimei can't catch you and she will fall down!"
"You need to be a role model, you know that?"
"This is for babies, not for you. You need to grow up and be more sensible."
"If you are naughty, then she will be naughty. But if you are good, she will be good too."
"How can you eat slower than a one-year-old baby? And I thought you are the bigger child?"
"I told you to look after her while I am busy, didn't I? How can you let her get hurt???"
"Nothing belongs solely to you anymore. From now on, you have to share everything with meimei."
"I need to make meimei sleep first before I can read to you, okay?"
"Do you really love your sister? Because you are not really showing that you care for her."
"Let meimei go first and you go second, can?"
"Can you get a pair of socks for meimei and wear her shoes for her?"
"Why didn't you hold her hand when you cross the road?"
"Why didn't you give meimei a sweet before you ate one up?"
"If she gets lost, then it is your fault."
"If this is how you are going to behave, nobody will like you anymore."
Go on, I can give you an endless list of things that I have said to this darling girl of mine and even if I said them out of frustration and fatigue at times, the truth is I can't take back my stinging words even if I want to.
I can't tell you how many times my heart ached and how many times I felt guilty when I went to bed at night. I would always console myself that tomorrow would be a brand new day and I would be able to hold it together better. Furthermore, the best thing about kids at this young age is that they forgive and forget easily and do not hold grudges at all - which makes it even easier for me to fall into the vicious cycle. Time and again, after a few days, I would start saying things that sound most unfair and yet, I couldn't help it at that moment in time. Sometimes, I just wish to slap myself after.
Is this how things go for other mums with more than one kid or am I doing something very wrong as a mum of two?
Good or bad news, I think the hubby does the same too which makes things even more unjust for my big girl at times, if I must say so. Nowadays, whenever I realise that we are hurling more responsibilities and tasks to Angel and expecting more of her simply because of her age, I tell myself to let loose a little and remember that
she is still just a child.
And I need to show it to her just how much she matters in my heart.
P.S.: Dear Angel, for all the times I scolded you, please know you have been the most awesome big sister and Ariel is just so blessed to have you in her life. I can't thank my lucky stars enough as a mum and it warms my heart to see the sisterly love you have for each other. That is the most rewarding part of being a stay-at-home mum and it is you who made this journey such a fulfilling and happy one. I love you and you will always have a most special place in my heart.