I watch my kids playing together. They take turns jumping off the arm of the couch. They fight over who gets to sit on my lap. I listen to them and smile. All of a sudden something strikes me. They're taking turns. Whether they're actually doing it or just yelling "It's my turn" my kids know about sharing. Ally is 4; it's not really surprising. But Anya started saying "My tu!" a couple weeks ago. She's 21 months old.
I'm amazed that she has learned this lesson so early. I can't remember when Ally learned to say my turn. Mostly because I'm pretty sure it was after her learning new words was noteworthy. She was learning words constantly at that point. Too fast to track them all. And yet Anya (in a good mood) patiently climbs down and waits to let Ally jump. She's only 21 months old.
I'm sure that for Ally, the concept of taking turns started at day care, but it really didn't follow through to home, because there was no reason for it. There was no one to take turns with. She was the focus of all her parents attention.
I'm torn between emotions. Sometimes I feel terrible because we did this horrible thing to Ally. We disrupted her world and plopped down this thing: this little sister into it. We forced her to share our us. We took time out of what had been devoted to her, and put a Destructo-Baby-Monster in it's place. This baby tears up some of her stuff, and takes her toys away and she has to wait until the monster goes to sleep to play with any of her big-girl toys with us, or she has to play by herself in her room. She never had to play by herself in her room before. We could pull out hi-ho cherry-o anytime and not worry about the pieces getting eaten (or more lately, getting stolen and hidden).
And then I think about how wonderful it is to have a sister. All the late nights my sister and I spend wispering in our bedroom. How great it was to be able to play together at any time. I could share anything with her. She made fun of me, but I always knew she would do anything for me.
I know that learning about sharing early isn't a bad thing. What a great chance to have another little kid at home and learn the lessons that will get you through life together. There are countless ways that having a sibling enriches your life. But I can't help be a little sad about the little bit that Ally has lost too. And the life that Anya will never know. "My turn" has always been a part of her life and always will be. Such a little thing, but it stands for so much more.
*I shouldn't have to say this, but I absolutely would not trade my baby girl for anything in the world. My kids mean more than anything to me. This probably doesn't amke any sense to anyone anyway. I'm just getting depressed again, I think.