I am a big sister. As a child, I took my role very seriously. I wanted to be helpful and take care of my younger sisters. My Mom says I was especially helpful when my sister T was born. I was four at the time and I relished the idea of being helpful. When T was three weeks old, I thought she looked hungry so I tried to feed her potato chips. When she was a little older, I took her for a walk and decided to try to take her stroller down a set of stairs with not great results. As we grew older, I stopped stuffing food in the faces of my sisters and avoided dropping them on their heads, but still felt that protectiveness towards my sisters and still feel that today. It is that instinct to protect and stand up for family, those people that you love and care about. The people that know you best and have been through blood, sweat and tears with. I am not sure that ever goes away.
Now as a mom, I see the big sister role with new eyes, a different lens. Sarah is a super big sister to Jack. Don't get me wrong, she has the art of torment down to a science and she knows exactly what to do to make him angry. But when we are out and about, it is Sarah and Jack against the world.
Big Sister as Protector
Sarah makes sure everything Jack is being fed is peanut free. She interrogates people better than I do. She is the first person to tell anyone who is offering food that Jack has a peanut allergy and is allergic to all nuts.
When it comes to playing with other kids, Sarah is there to make sure Jack is never mistreated. It is funny how Sarah is hesitant to stand up for herself in many situations, but has no problem standing up for Jack and telling another child when something is not o.k.
Today while at a birthday party, a little girl kept taking the ball away from Jack. Sarah could see that Jack was getting more and more upset. So Sarah offered the ball she was playing with to the little girl so Jack could keep his ball.
Big Sister as Puppet Master
At home, Sarah uses her big sister role for power. If she wants something that she is quite sure we will say no to, like a treat or candy, she will send Jack to ask us. He doesn't quite have his role down, so when he says, "Mom, Sarah wants us to have a candy" she is so busted.
When it comes to watching television, the kids take turns choosing a show. When it is not Sarah's turn to choose, sometimes she manages to get her choice anyway. I can hear her whispering, "You want to watch Alvin and Chipmunks on the Apple t.v. right Jack?"
Protector or puppet master, she is a great big sister and they make a dynamic team.