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I know that writing an open letter to a 6 year old who is unlikely to read it for quite some time might seem a bit silly (like when we all comment happy birthday to a 1 year old on Facebook as if they are ever going to read it or understand it haha), but I really wanted to express some stuff I’ve been processing. There’s nothing in this letter that the Little Mister hasn’t been told every day by our actions and our words. I just wanted to record this time of his life as much as I have the Little Miss’. His adjustment to such a monumental change in our family’s life is just as big a part of the story as her actual arrival, and addressing this blog post to him just felt like the most natural way to do it x
Dear Little Mister,
I am writing this to tell you that I am proud of you for taking on this ‘big brother’ gig. It’s not always easy to adjust to a new sibling (trust me – I was an awful big sister to your uncle for a fair while as a kid and I’m not proud of it!), but you have done so well. You wished for a little sister for a long time and it nearly broke your dad’s and my hearts when it looked like that might not be a possibility, but we kept that to ourselves for a while because we held onto hope that one day we could make your wish come true. We were so excited, not just for ourselves, but for you when we found out the Little Miss was on her way.
I know you don’t get as much air time these days. Sometimes you get interrupted by baby cries that need to be dealt with at inconvenient times, like when you’re telling me about your day or when I’ve just sat down to play with you, or when you’re reading me something (your reading is SO amazing – go you)! You rarely complain, though. Don’t think that has gone unnoticed.
I know the honeymoon is likely ending now and we understand. You’ve been so excited to show off your little sister. So happy when we’ve turned up somewhere (like school pick up and drop offs etc) with her. I get the sense that the novelty is wearing off now, even though you evidently love the Little Miss so much, and I want to tell you that it’s OK to feel that way. We’re 9 weeks into this thing and it’s been full on! You’ve been so helpful and so caring. My heart burst the other day when you handed me every single thing I would need for a nappy change while we were hanging out at your Nana and Poppy’s house, without me asking for your help. The attention you’ve been paying warms my heart.
I see your face light up when your little sister responds to you. I hear the tenderness in your voice you when you try to comfort her. I see your patience when her needs seem to bulldoze over your wants in a given moment. You are so gentle and the only times I’ve had to police your interactions with her have been when you’ve gotten too close to her face when she’s falling asleep (you love her so much that sometimes you do that staring-at-a-baby thing a bit too intensely – hey we’ve all been there) or your volume has escalated because you’re an exuberant 6 year old.
When the Little Miss was born, you were days away from beginning a new phase in your life. A new school year where so much more is expected of you. You’re such a big kid in grade one now! I know there have been some little hiccups throughout this term but we think we know what is going on (hello – massive life change) and we are here for you and how you’re doing/feeling is so important to us, even if you’re not so down with the ‘firm’ part of our ‘firm but fair’ policy!
I know there aren’t as many very recent photos of you on social media as there are of your sister (as in the month of March haha). I know you are mentioned less and less on my blog lately. I just need you to understand that there are reasons for this. That’s just a public forum and as you get older, I am trying to protect you a little more. You’re not just a baby or toddler doing generic (albeit super cute) baby or toddler things anymore. You’re growing into your own person, who is beginning to understand that what is put out there affects how others perceive us. I want you to feel safe from any potential future embarrassment and that does not mean that I treasure your special/funny/adorable moments with us any less. When your sister is older, the same will happen with her.
Right now I am recording as many moments of the Little Miss’ early development as I can. Things move so lightning quick at her age and I don’t want to forget a thing. I did the exact same thing with you and when I’m celebrating her moments of growth, I am also weirdly enough celebrating yours. Her special milestones remind me of yours all the time and I feel very lucky to have you both.
There are advantages and disadvantages to having a 6 year age gap between you both, I know that. But just as she is a special little baby pudding right now, who has signified the completion of our family, you will always be the amazing kid who started it. I love that you are both just as special as each other in your own ways.
I love you so much and while you may falter, just know that you are not just an amazing big brother, but you are a really really great kid in your own right too.
Your dad and I are always here when you need to have a heart to heart and we’re always looking out for you as best we can.
Love you 1,000,000 (that’s an inside family thing that means a lot to you right now),