My Daughter Has Totally Lost Interest In Being A Big Sister

siblings matching dressesThe two big arguments I always hear about having more than one child are, ”It will be easier because they’ll always have someone to play with,” and, ”I don’t want my child to feel lonely.” I always find these arguments hilarious. Why? Because OH MY GOD PEOPLE WITH MORE THAN ONE CHILD do you not hear or see what goes on in your own home?

When my daughter was an only child, and I had to stick around for playdates with friends who had more than one child, I always left feeling like I had just escaped a war zone. I remember one friend specifically who has two children. She wanted two children for the exact same arguments listed above. She thought her kids got along brilliantly and kept each other busy, or so she always professed. Even when they were in tears because one just took the other one’s sticker.

I was always like, ”Fuck me! Your kids spent the last two hours yelling at each other, slamming the doors on each other, or being jealous of each other. How come you can’t hear or see this?”

I sort of understand why. Who the hell wants to ADMIT their children don’t get along, or don’t like each other. (Obviously,there’s a difference between love and like.)

One of the most oft questions I get asked nowadays is, ”So does your daughter love being a big sister?” Actually, it’s more of a statement than a question, because people always ask with this hopeful glint in their eyes, as if the question is moot, because OF COURSE my daughter MUST love having a brother. But I’m quite blunt.


My answer these days is, ”No, she doesn’t particularly like being a sister. She actually, I think, would prefer being an only child. She could take or leave her brother.”

It’s kind of funny to watch people’s faces fall in shock, disappointment, and pity, as if I’ve just told them their favorite shampoo they’ve used their entire adult lives has now been discontinued.

Recently I ran into an acquaintance at a sushi restaurant and she was enjoying one of her last meals”¦as a pregnant woman. She already has a 3-year-old and she, too, asked me if my daughter loved being a big sister. Now I didn’t want to burst her shining bubble, and looking back, I shouldn’t have but I did answer, ”Well, not really.”

Her face fell as if I had just told her she would be having a 78-hour labor. I quickly added, ”But maybe because there’s such an age difference between them and yours will only be three years apart.”

I didn’t believe it, but she bought it and went happily back to her glowing pregnant self.

I never had another child because I thought it would be better for my daughter, in the sense that they would ”keep each other entertained.” From what I see, and have always seen, from almost all of my friends with more than one child, the children don’t as much keep each other entertained as much as complain that ”Sally just took MY iPad,” or, ”Mickey just HIT me!” I don’t see any of my friends lying back and reading a book, eating bonbons, because they have more kids. I see them breaking up constant bickering, making sure that one child doesn’t feel left out, and spending hours explaining why one child HAS to leave the other child alone.

That whole, ”Go play with each other!” is usually, from what I’ve witnessed, met with, ”I don’t want to play with her!” Or a whiny, ”Do I have to?” Certainly they can’t just be like that when I’m around.

Parents just can’t be objective when it comes to their children. I get it. But I can be. And I wish more parents would be. They should know that just because you gave birth to multiples doesn’t mean they are going to get along. They should know that their child may be excited to have a new baby”¦for about four weeks, until the novelty wears off, and they see that they no longer have Mommy’s sole attention.

My daughter gets jealous almost constantly when I’m with the baby. My daughter finds playing with him boring (perhaps age difference, perhaps she just finds him boring.) My daughter, if she is watching television, gets annoyed if her brother is in the same room and playing with his obnoxious toys that make sounds. I’m not trying to convince people not to have more children. I’m just trying to make people see that there ARE reactions that children have to siblings that we may not like, or expect, but do happen. And it’s okay.


What’s so wrong with admitting that your children fight? That they get jealous of one another? That they’ll act out when they don’t feel like they’re getting enough attention from you? Sure, your children may get along, but come on! They can’t, and don’t, ALWAYS get along.

I hate seeing people’s faces fall when I admit that my daughter couldn’t really care less about her brother. But I think I’d be doing a disservice to parents, or those thinking about having a second, if I don’t tell them the truth. But, man, it would just be easier if I said, ”They get along famously! I can tell that they are going to be best friends forever!” Maybe one day that will be the case. But if I said that now, well, I’d be lying — just like most people I know with more than one child.

(photo:  Revolutionary Love)

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