Sister Sister

Dear Maddy:

Congrats and good luck. It’s not easy being the older sibling, believe me I know. There’s going to be like three years where you’re totally going to want to do stuff with this awesome little sidekick, and she’s not going to be old enough to be any use at all. And then suddenly you’re going to want to start doing things where a three-year-old would be a total drag to have around, and there she’ll be insisting she gets to come with you. And because you’re bigger, you’re not going to be allowed to hit her, no matter how much she deserves it.

Even worse, over the next few years, you’re going to be doing all sorts of amazing things. Reading. Writing. Drawing pictures that actually look like things. But however impressed Mommy and Daddy are, five minutes later, your sister is going to burp, or smile, or urinate on something, and they’re going to be every bit as impressed by that, and all she did was roll over. Everyone will be all like “Awww! She’s so cute!” to her, and all like “Yeah, that’s nice whatever,” to you.

But I’ll tell you what. Some day, probably about thirty years down the road, you’re going to have the distance and perspective and have gotten your life all together, and you’ll be able to look at your sister, and it’s going to turn out that she’s pretty okay. And just maybe a little bit of that “pretty okay” is going to be because she learned a thing or two from growing up with a good big sister.

Dear Abby:

Congrats and welcome! It’s not easy being a younger sister. If you don’t believe me, ask your mother. The first three years or so, pretty much all you are ever going to want to do is have fun with your big sister, but she’s going to be all “Let’s go walk upright and leverage our sense of object permanence,” while you’re all like “I can no longer see mommy, and am therefore concerned that she doesn’t exist.” And then when you finally sort out things like hand-eye coordination and stairs, she’s still going to be all “Aww, we don’t want to take the baby along!”

Even worse, every single accomplishment you have over the next decade or so, she’ll have gotten there first. You’re going to burp, or roll over, or sing, and everyone will be all excited, sure, but then someone’s going to say, “Of course, Maddy was already doing that by the time she was two.” Anything you have trouble with, it’ll be all “Maddy had such an easier time with that,” or worse, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?”

But I’ll tell you what. Some day, probably about thirty years down the road, you’re going to be a grown-up, having a fantastic life, and it isn’t going to matter one whit that you did it a couple of years behind your sister. And if you’re very lucky, maybe one day your big sister is going to find a way to tell you that she’s proud of you.


Uncle Ross



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