Tuesday, February 28, 2012

birth order

I don't know if we have a unique case around here, but I feel like Dave and I are so different with what we expect from our younger children as opposed to our older ones.

We were watching family movies the other day. Elle's seven-year-old-deep-scratchy-voiced self was whacking away at the tennis ball on a tennis court in China. It made me stop in my tracks and think about how many times Claire has asked to take tennis lessons. My response is always, "maybe when you get a little older." I had mistakenly thought that Max and Elle started much later. Same with piano lessons. Claire is relatively mature, and quite athletic...It leaves me to question why she is so much younger in my mind than my older kids were at that age.

Then there's poor Max, Elle and Grace who we expect everything from. They can make dinner and care for the yard without us giving a single direction. They babysit and clean the kitchen and put little sisters in bed with the blink of an eye. We just expect it because we know they can do it.

Then there's Lucy. I don't know if it's just human nature to baby your youngest, or if it's just that it's Lucy (with all her issues and strong will), or whether Dave and I are just getting lax with our older-age parenting. It could be all of the above. But that girl is giving us a run for our money these days. I'm trying to tighten up the expectations around here but that sweet expressive face of hers and those blue eyes have me at the first long eyelash flutter.

This is how she likes to spend her time during Family Home Evening when everyone else is expected to sit still and listen close:
(Can you tell how Dave feels about that? :)

Youngest kids can just be so endearing!

Her latest thing is that she has decided that when she grows older she will have five kids and a black cat with blue eyes. The black cat is put like twenty times higher on the priority list before the kids though. So when she was at the grocery store with my Mom and I the other day and she happened to walk past "kitty food" she HAD to have it. Of course my sweet mother gave in.
This is her new favorite thing. She talks about that future kitty she will have some day incessantly.

Anyway, man, the babies of the family sure are cute and endearing.

But I'm thinking we need to bump up the expectations a little bit around here. Claire's starting tennis lessons next week and we're putting Lucy to work with more jobs.

And maybe we'll take it a little more easy on those responsible older kids while we're at it:)

23 comments:

  1. Your talking my language Shawni, with 5 Kids here, we are going through exactly the same thing. ...we need to take it easier on the older ones and even out the chores, well except for my 1 year old.......she is excused from chores :-))))....

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  2. This gets even worse with grandkids, but a lot more fun! Love that Lucy!

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  3. I've noticed that even with my 4 year old I have gotten way more lax than when he was 2. Thanks for all the tips you give, we have another on the way and it is comforting to know I can come here for parenting tips:)

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  4. Now I have a feeling that before long y'all will have a cat to go with the cat food your mama buys for Lu. I sure couldn't say no to that girl. It's a dangerous thing having adorable kiddos isn't it?
    Raising children is not a consistent thing over time. I have found that I'm more paranoid and protective now than I used to be. For some reason that seems backward to me.

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  5. I am the baby of 7 and my parents totally relaxed with expectations on me and I turned out just fine :)

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  6. Shawni, I had a dream about you last night (which is kind of odd since we've never met, but I guess understandable since I read your blog and feel like I know so much about your family). Anyway, you and your husband and all your kids were in St. Louis and you were having dinner at my house. I said, "I feel so starstruck right now having you in my home!" Ha ha! It was so fun to meet all of you, even if it was only a dream!

    Your paralyzed friend,
    Heather

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  7. Hi Shawni, you're definitely not alone. We all seem to expect more from our older ones without even realising it. My eldest three were doing far more at five than what I expect of Grace. I think we lose a bit of that toughness as the years go by. We let the little one off the things that the older ones may have been punished for (and believe me they tell me that). I don't think that is totally a bad thing, we relax, we don't worry so much about what they eat, we don't push them to learn to read etc and I think that little bit of relaxing the rules is good. We realise maybe we were too tough on the older ones and wanted them to grow up too quickly. Now we're on our last one we want the growing up to take for ever and really soak it all in.

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  8. Hi Shawni, you're definitely not alone. We all seem to expect more from our older ones without even realising it. My eldest three were doing far more at five than what I expect of Grace. I think we lose a bit of that toughness as the years go by. We let the little one off the things that the older ones may have been punished for (and believe me they tell me that). I don't think that is totally a bad thing, we relax, we don't worry so much about what they eat, we don't push them to learn to read etc and I think that little bit of relaxing the rules is good. We realise maybe we were too tough on the older ones and wanted them to grow up too quickly. Now we're on our last one we want the growing up to take for ever and really soak it all in.

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  9. I hear ya on this! What makes it all the worse for us is our youngest is the only boy in the family, so he's often treated like a little prince. We do put diligent effort into making sure he pulls his fair share, but sometimes that dimple in his cheek and those sweet blue eyes just do me in.

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  10. I find it hard to tell when i am been to strict/expecting too much of my 8yr old. somedays i think she needs to be doing more, then i have to remember shes only 8.

    So you have an age limit when your kids start babysitting? I know here by law it's 11 i think. HOw do you start incorporating that into yur family, and how has it worked.. jsut a few more years for me!!!

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  11. So true! I expected so much out of my oldest. I have 6 kids and my younger three have developed so much slower. I don't know that much about Lucy's disorder. I have read a few posts that lead me to believe her development has been a litte behind. I have a daughter with a learning disability...her brain doesn't process language well. She gets a way with murder because I don't know what to expect from her. What do you do and what can you expect from Lucy? My daughter is 4and 1/2.

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  12. I have a friend with 11 kids. One of the cool things she does with chores is that at certain ages her kids no longer have to do certain chores. For example, in her house when you are 14 you no longer have to do dishes or clean the kitchen after meals. That is a chore left to the younger children. Of course there are many chores the older kids do so it's not like they're not doing their share to keep the house running.

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  13. Oh, I'm totally with you. My four year old is definitely the "baby" around. My husband said, "If we don't hold the line, we really will spoil the child." And there is nothing good about the word "spoiled." Good post. Thanks!

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  14. your family is the cutest.

    i LOVE IT!!!

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  15. I really don't think it's age with Lucy. Some kids can not sit still. Block out sounds and not need to flee away from them or run and see what is making the sound. You mentioned she is in a special class. Probably with kids like my son who just can't sit still. Sitting for circle time is just not to the same standard. Heck the class stands of individual square tiles lining up so they have a visual for what space they are suppose to occupy while waiting to parade down the hall to the bus. Just cause one 5 year old could sit still for 30 minutes doesn't mean they all can.

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  16. The photo of the "laid back" Dad is PERFECT!!! So cute!

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  17. From my own experience, I think it is quite natural to baby the youngest.
    I'm 19 but my parents are both very over-protective and tend to want to take care of me all the time. It's quite ridiculous, especially when I take into account the freedom my brother had at my age.

    Growning up I noticed that my friends had a lot more freedom and also a lot more responsibilities than I ever did, but they were all the oldest or the only child in their families. I was the only one who was the youngest. In any family I know, I think the parents always tend to want to look after their youngest. To keep their babies as babies for as long as they can.

    At Lucy's age I really don't think that's a problem at all. She's only young still, anyway. But once she's older and starts to want more freedom and to be treated as an older child, I'm sure she'll let you know.

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  18. That's probably what makes the world go 'round. We wouldn't want a whole world full of people with "oldest child syndrome." Yikes! I can say that because I have that syndrome, and I appreciate so much people who are fun-loving, care free, a little spoiled, etc...like my younger sister. :)

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  19. I totally agree! My baby seems to slide right by on most things like chores, and responsiblities.
    But, ohhhh how I love him!
    Thanks for sharing.
    And congrats on the house buying!

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  20. which will be quicker?: waiting for you to post pictures of our little sisters outing or waiting for you to email them to me? let me know. love you

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  21. We definitely do the same thing, too. It took a long before I noticed it, though. My oldest children began doing dishes and laundry at a very early age. The youngest (who is 12 now) still doesn't know how to operate the washing machine (although he does dishes). This bothers me, but it is so much easier to make requests of the older ones because they already know how. I have to stop the lazy parenting!

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  22. We are going through exactly the same thing. My youngest is just getting ready to start kindergarten and he seems SO much younger than my 2 older boys did and yes they were in all kinds of sports and activities at the age my youngest is now but for some reason he just seems too young and not ready for that. Same with chores, etc. Thank you for opening my eyes even more! Those sweet big eyes and still chubby cheeks have too much power over me!

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  23. Hi Shawni! Love your blog and it was so fun seeing you at TOFW in PHX a couple months ago!! Im in your same area and was wondering if you can email me some tennis info? I would love for my girls to take lessons but don't know where to send them. If you know of a good person/place that would be wonderful! My email is dsjag@hotmail.com. Thanks, Dana

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