Saturday, 14 November 2009

Big sister

Rosemary has been rather neglected over here at Wahm-bam towers, what with pregnancy, birth and teeny tiny baby. Not to mention the backlog of reviews gradually appearing. Of course, she’s not being neglected at home. Though, mostly that’s thanks to the fact that she is at nursery school or playgroup for much of the time – three mornings and two full days.

So, I wanted to sing her praises for a bit, as a big sister to Eleanor, but also as a three-year-old girl, who is growing up and finding her space in the world.

The first few days of being a big sister were a little difficult for everyone. Rosemary was ill with a stomach bug. She didn’t really feel ill and had her usual boundless energy, but was stuck at home until she could manage 48 hours diarrhoea-free. And there was a new tiny person invading her space. One that she had  been looking forward to for so long and whose arrival she greeted with ‘Oh, isn’t she cute. I love you Eleanor.’

The problems were much less to do with Rosemary and more to do with our being all panicked and paranoid. Rosemary was being bombarded by shouts of ‘Don’t touch her head!’ ‘Be gentle!’ ‘That’s Eleanor’s changing mat. Leave it alone!’ ‘Get out of her crib!’ ‘Be careful!’ and, understandably, she found this a little difficult and was tending towards doing the things she was shouted at about more, rather than less. Hmm. Why would that be? A quick peek at my Babyworld ante-natal club, showed that everyone else with elder siblings was having the same problem, and also told us what to do, thanks to a few people who were on baby number three or four.

Once we started doing a few things differently, Rosemary became the adoring big sister she was naturally inclined to be. We made sure she got special one-on-one attention whenever possible. We got her helping with things like nappy changing. We allowed her to use Eleanor’s changing mat for her ‘exercises’ as long as she put it back when she finished with it (and she independently took on the job of putting it away if we ever left it out). We allowed her to sometimes have a bit of cotton wool for herself, as long as she asked first. For a while, she had the responsibility of sitting in the crib (when it was on the floor, of course), to warm it up before Eleanor was put in. These few little things made all the difference. Well, and our calming down a bit and not worrying that Eleanor was going to explode whenever Rosemary touched her!

Rosemary is now very good with Eleanor. She is always asking ‘Can I see her?’ which translates as ‘Can I see her eyes?’ Eleanor adores her and probably gives her more grins than anyone else. If we’re changing her nappy, Rosemary will frequently come and help or watch and she’ll lie next to her and sing or chat to her to keep her happy. When she goes to the RSPCA shop to get a treat on the way home sometimes, she almost always finds something for Eleanor, as well, or even instead of for herself. When she sees the adverts on TV, she points out all the toys that Eleanor might like. And when out and about she asks everyone (including random strangers) if they want to see ‘her baby’, who is ‘very cute’, or ‘really lovely’.

And she’s coming on in leaps and bounds in other ways, too. At the start of last week, she had had three dry nappies in a row and so was given the choice to try sleeping without a nappy. She chose to, though was a little concerned about it. And she’s been dry at night ever since.

She’s recently started drawing faces. When we travelled down to Wales on the train last weekend, she was drawing them in the condensation on the window. She’s even turning sad faces into happy faces by adding up lines. She’s also getting better at colouring inside the lines.

She’s recognising loads of letters and knows lots of words that those letters start with. She’s recognising more and more words and generally showing a good interest in reading.

She’s counting really well and has mostly got out of the weird habit of missing out number 13. She’s even managing some simple addition and subtraction.

So, here’s to my big girl, who I love to bits, even more so than before I had another little girl. Rosemary, you are wonderful and I love you very much.


So… Do you want to tell about your children’s recent milestones? Or how they are with their siblings, if they have any?


  1. Oh how sweet, Rosemary is doing so well! BG has started walking and I'm one proud mumma x

  2. The night I had my son was the first time my daughter (age 3.5) stayed dry overnight. And that was it - she was dry from then on! I guess she had decided she was now a big girl!

    Sounds like you've done a wonderful job of helping Rosemary become the big girl in the house!

  3. Look at you all - a proper functioning two child family.

    Well done to all of you!

  4. Yes, look at you. Managing to split yourself in two now! A one-month-old baby in the house, and you still find time and emotional space to focus on your toddler's development - and blog about it too!

  5. aaaw you are making me want another baby already :)

  6. Big round of applause to Rosemary. How lovely xx

    Milestones for us... well LG cried for me for the first time today. She normally cries only for food or nappy change, but today, she just wanted her mummy to give her a cuddle... and I LOVED it. :) xx

  7. What a lovley post, espeically for being one month in to the two baby family

  8. Awe, sounds like she is a wonderful big sis. Mine, well most of the time she is but yesterday in response to "Why is your brother crying?" I got "because I hit him on the head with a spoon". (He aged 20 months, not a newborn, I must clarify). At least we have honesty, I suppose!

  9. What a brilliant big sis Rosemary is and i chuckeld to myself at the bit about her keeping the basket warm - adorable x

  10. Since the birth of my daughter, my 22m old son (who had been lagging behind) has come on so much! He surprises me daily by saing words (&phrases) i didn't know he knew! Like declaring "it's dark" when i turn the light off. His existing words have become clearer! And he's taken a real interest in colouring, his attention span is much better. He's a lovely big brother, he brings me her things and tries to entertain her, and she stares and stares at him!

  11. New Mummy: Oh well done BG - it's wonderful when they start walking!

    AA: Gosh - what timing! I think Rosemary has mostly decided to be a big girl now, too. For the last few months of the pregnancy she was putting on a baby voice and crawling and saying 'I'm a baby,' but hasn't shown any sign of that since.

    Zoe: I guess we are. Wow!

    Iota: Thank you. It is falling into place, now, for the most part.

    WADs: LOL. Sorry!

    TTWT: Aw, how sweet. Though you'll probably get fed up with it in a few months!

    TMH: Thank you.

    Geekymummy: Honesty is good. I always praise Rosemary for honesty, even if she's admitting to something naughty! In fact, Rosemary did hit Eleanor on the head with a baby brush a week ago. She was very upset and seems to understand that it was wrong.

    TWOB: She is doing well, yes. Thank you.

    Allgrownup: Oh well done, big boy! It does seem like they fall into the space of big brother/sister and grow up into it, a bit.