Number 1

Gosh this has been a big year for Daisy. The past week I’ve noticed just how much the year has caught up with her. She is exhausted. Plain and simple. I’m wondering how it seems like just yesterday that she was about to start School and now here we are limping towards the end of December.

There’s been School – reading, writing, singing, learning. And hockey. And swimming. And ballet. There’s been new friends. Old friends. And in between all the busy stuff we’ve been doing in the holidays and weekends.

Sometimes I forget that she’s just 5. She looks 8, she’s taller than most kids her age, and some even older. Her clothes tell me she is a size 9 and sometimes 10 and most of the time I just expect so much from her – to be kind, and patient and understanding of her little sister, and to do homework, never forget her manners and not have tantrums and not fight with friends and be happy – so much pressure I put on someone so small. What is it about your first born? I never really understood the phenomenon being child number 3 (that has a whole lot of other issues attached to it) but I can now look at my sister being the first kid and see the pressure, the responsibility they have because of that position. Same with my Brother in law, cousins, parents and friends who are the first kid. I guess with Daisy she is very much like me – we clash over all the things in myself I struggle with. She had all the angst of my first child weighed on her – my not knowing what the hell I was doing. My insecurities. My anxiety. My trying to do things “right” and not being all that relaxed.

All that pressure.

I’m being very mindful of my little girl at the moment and heading towards the end of the year. I’m going to consider what’s best for her, praise her more often, be relaxed and loving and be the kind of Mother I know comes so easily to me with Harper. She has achieved so much this year and right now I think I need to keep that in focus. I want her to know just how much she is loved. How proud I am, how very proud.

Do you agree that the first kid has a tough time?
Do you have a child that’s just like you? Do you clash more often?

Motherhood never fails to kick my arse.

Comments

  1. I am an only child and I always felt (and still do) the pressure from my parents to excell in everything I do. They have been lovingly hard on me and I often struggled with this – but I think they have been like this because they wanted me to achieve what they never did (going to Uni, corporate job mostly).
    From what I see here on your blog, you do a great job as a Mum. Your girls are beautiful.

  2. I hear you Beth! My Miss 9 is leading the way for her younger sister. I forget sometimes that she’s only 9. Flying along. Learning new things. Tripping up sometimes. Being beautiful. We clash. I bite my tongue. Let there be more hugs. More snuggles. More chilling out. Before she flies away from me.

  3. I am the eldest of 6!!! As long as I can remember I was treated like an adult & to this day I still feel responsible for all my siblings.
    My eldest is almost 13. My expectations are HIGH! He continues to tell me ” I’m not you! I don’t think the same as you so just stop!”. It kills me that we clash so hard but I just wish he could see himself the way I do, see his potential, see what he is capable of achieving. The more I push the more he pulls away….I need to take a leaf from your book Beth & celebrate who he is & stop giving him such a hard time.

  4. Beth – I was looking at the picture of Daisy and Jack the other day on your FB page and said to myself “God she is so damn beautiful”. Not only is she beautiful but she has a big heart. Even through the hard times – you have taught her to be a fine human being. She understands love and most importantly understands life. She is passionate and understanding – and it made my heart sing to see her love and appreciate Jack for who he is.

    I was diagnosed with a hearing loss at 2 and have worn hearing aids in both ears ever since. I had 12 long years of speech therapy to catch up for my first 2 vital years where I couldn’t hear a thing and fought the bullies and the bitches….and unfortunately still do as an adult. The simple minded people who judge on appearance and not the personality. My daughter Macie just turned three and she also wears hearing aids in both ears. It’s my dream that she finds friends like Daisy who love and appreciate her – for just being her.

    So pour yourself a G&T and toast yourself for doing a bloody good job. When times turn to shit remember that Daisy makes these friends, does these things without even thinking about it. It comes naturally to her which is such a rarity these days….and in my eyes – your job is done.

    You are a fine Mama. Don’t ever ever forget it.

  5. Oh my goodness, yes! I often wondered if I was easier on my second because he was a boy and so much like my husband, whereas my girl is me. Exactly me with all the negativity, anxiety, perfectionism that I fight with personally each day.

    I struggle each day to be kind and gentle with her and not fix her.

    Great post!

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG! You have hit the nail on tHe head perfectly.
      This is my daughter and my relationship, and you have put into words perfectly.
      I am going to remember kind and gentle and not to try and fix her.
      Thank you for the words of wisdom, they will stay with me forever and help improve our relationship I am sure.
      Sue

  6. Luluisthatyou - Lucinda says:

    Oh Beth I so hear you on this. It is a daily struggle in my house. My son is the same age as Daisy and so often I read your posts on what you’re going through with her and it rings true with what we’re experiencing in our house. The first-born thing is such a challenge. However, *I* am a first-born myself so I have the added layer of not wanting to inflict on my son what was inflicted on me…. but sometimes it is inevitable. The firstborn does pave the way.

    I love a quote from Lisa McCune in Jessica Rowe’s Motherhood book. Lisa openly said to her firstborn son when he was about Daisy’s age,”You’re the one we’re learning on,” and her son replied, “I know.”

    So much is on their shoulders… I agree with all your plans. It’s so important to relax around them, praise them constantly, tell them how proud you are of them, let them chill and dream, let them laugh, talk to them about their feelings, what they think of things. They’re brighter and more savvy than we give them credit for… and hold them close. Time is slipping away too fast. L xx

  7. I made a point of letting my daughter choose just one after school activity for this term. She is twelve and with the added pressure of hormones making themselves known I wanted to make sure she had days where she could come home after school and do nothing but read, watch a movie or her sewing which she loves. Friends home during the week to if she felt like it. I’m hoping this will make a big difference as we near the end of term. She will pick up her activities (or new ones) at the start of Term 1 after the Christmas holidays.

  8. I hear you.

    Poor Jake has the added pressure of being my second born, after losing my first.

    I held his hand tighter, loved him harder, and was generally so wound up in the first few years that now, he pulls away and wants to do things on his own a lot more and a lot earlier than I think he would have otherwise.

    I hate that.

    I feel doubley robbed at times because of it. I missed out on a girl losing Billie, and I missed out on what could have been with Jake because of her not being here.

    So you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take a leaf out of your book.

    Stuff all that.

    What’s done is done. Jake is his own person. He is strong willed, he is a champion, he is so sure of himself at 6, it’s scarey. He is gentle and sweet and loves openly.

    I will try to remember that next time, before my expectations come to play.

    Thanks for the eye opener.

    Love,
    Gabs xx

  9. Yes Beth,

    I’m the oldest (and a strong leo personality) and lilybelle is the oldest. I think a lot of people feel like that with their first born.

    Wait until she gets older and all the boys start doing things to impress her. That’s what is going on with my grade 6 girl!!! She doesn’t have any idea… She thinks they are crazy…

    Heaps of fun ahead for you with Daisy..

  10. My girl is big too (eleven and would fit in womens cloths if I could find any appropriate). I find myself getting quite cranky with people who expect a lot of her because she looks older, she’s still a little girl and it breaks my heart sometimes. I’ve found cutting down on the co-curricular activities has made a big difference, we want to give them opportunities but sometimes they just want to play and be quiet. Great reflections you clever girl!

  11. Oh my goodness yes! I am the oldest, my sister is 9 years younger and is in college, and it is a lot of pressure and responsibility to be the oldest. Since I was so much older than my sister I was expected to be self sufficient and to be responsible for myself. I started high school the same year she started kindergarten – my parents were wrapped up in scouts, and swim lessons, and jump roping competitions and I was pretty much on my own. Since I’ve been out of the house for 11+ years there is a whole new family dynamic, which doesn’t really always include me. I’m often treated as a guest when I visit, and not really as part of the family. I became legal guardian for my sister should something happen to both of our parents when I turned 18. It’s moot now, as she’s 20 and an adult, but I felt so responsible for her, and still do.

    I am currently struggling with how the situation is, as the adult child with children of my own, and my adult sister who is still so dependent on my parents there are tensions (at least on my end) and wholy hell there are resentments (again from my end). I love that you are being so thoughtful about Daisy, and because you are mindful she is going to turn out fantastic. I am so fearful that I won’t see what my behavior does to my children that I am constantly self examine to the point where I’m sure that I am now actually missing things :). It’s easy to expect a lot from the first one, they had that time alone with you that the others never really get. All that enhusiasm for the first, that there is a special bond with parents and an understanding.

    Anyhow, I’m appreciative as the oldest that you (a younger) s recognized the difficulties if being the oldest. Even if my sister never will.

  12. Yep. Definitely.
    I’m the eldest and my parents crucified me over everything.
    I try so hard to do better with my eldest (11 yr old boy). Sometimes I just explain to him how hard it is for me too and why I expect so much of him.
    Tania xx

  13. My Mum and sister clashed a lot as she was growing up because they are so similar. It was actually quite amusing for my Dad and me, because we could see that they were fighting bits of themselves in each other. But they are as close and loving as ever.

    As the oldest I definitely feel like I’m the responsible one. I was the one who had to get everything right and make my own way, while my sister still had my parents buying her clothes when she was 20 – no idea how she managed that.

    But however it works out, you have a gorgeous little girl there and don’t worry, if you look at the kids in her class they will all be tired now. My Mum taught kindy and always said the last month was the hardest because everyone was just a bit over stimulated, over tired and ready for the break.

  14. It is so beautiful to hear your words about Daisy. I love that you acknowledge and are aware of the struggle and that you are approaching with kind, gentler steps. Be kind to yourself also, you are doing a wonderful job. I think it’s amazing you have this insight and are altering the road ahead accordingly. That’s an incredible gift of love to your first born. xx

  15. I hear you. My first born is 8. Beautiful. Smart. Funny. Friendly. Musical. Loves to dance. Conscientious. But she is also holds the world to her high standards. I think because I hold her to those same high standards. I too have been trying really hard this term to let her breathe, relax and make mistakes. I am so much more relaxed with the second as well… Just have a dance concert, a school concert, a strings concert, christmas chapel, carol night and the end of year fair to go. Then Year 2 is over. How?

  16. I am heeding your advice now and my boy hasnt even started school yet. He starts next year and I will be very mindful of his fatigue levels. And I do find myself expecting a lot from him and he is only just about to hit 5.

    • It’s been a HUGE year. Especially if you have a little one that gets tired easily (like my Daise does). If I had my time over I would have cut out all extra stuff – which is hard when she is at a small school and everyone else is doing those things. Good luck!

  17. I am the middle child, but my sister who is the eldest is a dreamer and opted out. So it was always me who was/is treated like the eldest. I have always been filled with anxiety, never more so when I was raising my daughter on my own. The only lesson I can teach you is tell her and show her you love her. Do this often and you will have a loving child and friend for life.

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

  18. Hi Beth
    This is how I am feeling with my 5 year old at the moment..we are clashing but I too have put it down to expecting to much of her..mentally I have noted to make an effort because I can see she is starting to crumple under the pressure of what age 5 brings. 5..it is still so young!x

  19. After some time we begin to realise that our children are less than perfect and I think the hardest challenge for parents is to accept your children for who they are and to encourage and support without judgement. Giulia.x

  20. Yes, being a third born I never really considered it. CLint is a first born and often talks of the pressure and responsibility. I think it’s even harder as Lil is such a good kid, most of the time she just takes on the responsible role without any resistance or complaint. Then sometimes there is a moment and I think ‘Oh god, she’s still so little, it’s too much.’ She’s a worrier and I love her not to worry so much.

  21. Yes and yes. I often think how hard it is for my girl being the first one, not only because of the additional expectations that seems to put on her, but because of the experience of being displaced by a baby.
    But my son is more like me in temperment, and we clash often. I need to remind myself all the time that he is a young, and tired, and needs to be loved every minute and told how wonderful he is.

  22. Yes, I was hard on my first born. Same old, same old, wanting to be the perfect parent with the perfect child. What unreal pressure we put on our children and ourselves. We lost our eldest in a car accident at the age of 21. So don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself and your children. Love them just the way they are and tell them how much you love them each and every day. Life can be too short.

  23. I’m a first born and can agree with what you have said. I also tend to get all crabby with my daughter at times and step back realising the behaviour is mine.

  24. I’m going through exactly the same thing with Miss E now, at the end of kindy. I do get it because I’m a first-born too, but it doesn’t stop that pressure being there. Those five-year-old shoulders have a lot to bear with two little sisters and so many new things happening to her first. But watching her blossom is a reward unto itself. As long as your daughter knows she’s love and feels happy and safe, she’ll have everything she needs to cope with what responsibilities life throws at her – even at this young age.

  25. Anonymous says:

    My first born was tough – OMG what a learning curve! However my then 5 year old first-born told me exactly how to do it all. To this day she still tells me how to be the best mother, and she is always right. Born leader. Love how she lead me through the tough years and also lead her siblings. They are the happiest bunch of crazies on earth and I love them. Never a dull moment in my house. Although the middle kid still feels “hard done by”. The youngest kid is the happiest dude on earth.
    My job is done.

  26. My daughter is only 10 months old so I guess I have all this to come!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Lovely…she looks like a 5yr old, not eight . Could pass for four or six, whatever but def not 8

  28. I agree totally… and you never realise just how much, until number 2 comes along. So much expectation is placed on the first born and of course, yes, they’re the ones we makes the mistakes on as we learn, unfortunately. Beautiful photo of Daisy xo

  29. my daughter is 4 months old today but at times i struggle with the whole milestones thing – she rolls only from back to side and isnt impressed with tummy time at all ;-) Your daughters are gorgeous and are lucky that you are so loving and caring – countdown to the holidays is on!

  30. Hi Beth,
    I’ve been thinking about this post since I read it and it’s taken me this long to gather my thoughts.
    I only know you through social media, so I may indeed be speaking out of my proverbial, but I think you need to be kinder to yourself.
    I am a mum to three year old twin boys. The twinadoes. They are chaos, havoc and utter unadulterated joy all rolled into a messy noisy ball of brilliance.
    There are many difficult aspects to having twins, but there are so many wonderful things about it too.
    But (i’m getting there, slowly), I think the one thing that stands above all else is that being a mum to two children of the same age proves – that mums to one-at-a-time-children don’t have the advantage of seeing in the same way – is that actually, you’re quite a bit off the hook. They will be as they will be, and frankly, you can’t do much to change it.
    My twins could not be more different. Honestly. They are different in every way. But I have mothered them the same way. They have had the same daily experiences. Their environments are identical. And yet, they are still so remarkably different.
    I’m a first born control freak so parenting twins for my entree into parenting has been tough at times. My second born twin has all the hallmarks of a firstborn. He’s noisy, demanding, conscientious, so smart it scares me, bossy, and headstrong. But takes responsibility for his twin – makes sure he always has what he needs. He thinks about his needs as much as I do – no doubt about it. Bizarrely, my firstborn twin is the most relaxed chilled child in the universe. I still can’t figure out his currency.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not all you. In fact, a whole load of it isn’t. Personalities are innate. They are. There is no doubt.
    As long as your divine girls know they are loved and safe (and they do know this – I can see it), then you are doing a wonderful job and they will be as they will be.
    x

  31. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. You’re right. It’s not all me. It’s her. She is what she is and so long as we both respect and love each other considerately, then we’ll be OK. Thanks for the reminder. Oh! And hats off to you! My sister has twin boys (they are now 6) so I know just how hard it is. Good luck!

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