Please Don’t Ignore My Oldest Child
I get it, chubby cheeks, and baby giggles make the manliest of men stop in their tracks to smile in admiration at a cute baby. I’m positive that babies have their own powers. I read somewhere that babies are literally scientifically created “cute,” so that mothers naturally want to care for them. Like, there’s science behind baby cuteness.
Before my own kiddos, I never cared too much for other people’s children. I’d give a cute smile, and “aww,” but nothing else. So, to my kidless friends, maybe you don’t understand why what I’m about to talk to is considered butthole behavior, but to my friends that are parents, shame on you! *Shakes finger in disapproval
Liam has been an only child for 4 years. He’s super cute with a lot of personality which makes him hard not to notice and even harder to forget. He’s a natural star and I’m not just saying that because he’s my son, it’s true! Now that Zora’s here, Liam has noticed that most of the attention has shifted to his baby sister.
At first he was conflicted. He’d stand by while people totally ignored him and doted over his sister, but more recently, he’s started to address the situation. When someone doesn’t address him after a couple of minutes, Liam will make his presence known with a facetious, “Hi!” He says in a way like, “I know you see me standing here, speak fool!” The first time he did it, I was both tickled and proud. I was proud that he didn’t fall trap to the tired sad song, “no one ever noticed me, they always payed more attention to my sister/brother.” I was proud of Liam for standing up for him! Way to go Liam!
As a mom, it really bothers me that people see nothing wrong with blatantly ignoring one child for another! If you have kids, you know that when a stranger gets to chatting about the baby, these chats last a good 5 minutes at the least! Imagine standing with a group of people and everyone gets acknowledge, but you! How would that make you feel? Imagine what it feels like when you’re a little kid.
To you, you’re only uncontrollably drawn to the baby and all their cuteness. You’re not thinking too much about it. To the child/children that feel left out, they’re internalizing why they’re not good enough to be spoken to. “What’s wrong with me?” That takes a tole on their self esteem. Many older children act out, because they feel left out. You ignoring the eldest for the youngest could literally cost that parent a tantrum, because the youngest child can’t verbalize that they feel left out. I don’t know about you, but I try to avoid tantrums at all cost!
So, when I find myself in one of these situations, I make sure to mention Liam several times in conversation to “imply” to the other person, “hey, there’s another child here.” It’s seemed to work so far.
To all my perpetrators of this egregious child offense, don’t feel bad! I’m sure you didn’t mean any harm. Like I said before, babies are bundles of adorableness! In the future, think before you speak. In fact, count before you speak. Count every child and speak to each of them to ensure that no kid feels left out!
One of my favorite philosophers, Birdman once said, “Put some respek on my name.” Put some respek on every child’s existence!