Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The best of both worlds

Yesterday, as I was reading a book, Jennifer came over to where I was and sat down. I could tell she needed to talk. Up until then, she’d been playing with her little brother. But now something troubled her. Something was on her mind. So I put down the book and asked her what was up.

She explained that she wasn’t sure how she could balance spending time with Jesse with spending time with her friends. For so long, she always wanted to run off and play with her friends instead of play with her brother. And on several occasions, I’d remind her she needed to spend some time playing with her little brother, too. I guess it finally sank in. Now she couldn’t figure out how to divide her time.

This question made me smile. I looked at her and said, “You notice how this is a brand new thing for you? You didn’t have this problem before Jesse came along.”

She thought for a minute then nodded with a smile.

I set about explaining to her that she’ll figure out how to balance her time with her brother and time with her friends. I told her that she could also have Jesse along when playing with her friends. Yes, Jesse is still a baby, but she has friends younger than her and it could work. Or we could all get together to play at a park.

And also, sometimes it will work out on its own. She’ll play with Jesse for a while then she’ll play with her friends. After a while, it will just happen on its own and she’ll figure it out.

I also told her not to stress on this. Just wing it. See what she can fit in with her brother and see what she can fit in with her friends.

This seemed to help her understand the situation. And today, she was able to spend time with her brother and her friend. They played together for a while, then they joined her friend to ride bikes outside. It helps if the friend doesn’t mind having Jesse around, but in cases that doesn’t happen, I step in and tell Jesse I will play with him. That helps him feel better.

There is still so much Jennifer is adapting to as far as having a sibling and being the oldest is concerned. I’m glad her dad and I can help her navigate these waters, since we grew up with siblings too (and her dad is the oldest), but I think she’ll find a way to make things work just for her. And her brother, too.

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