Ever since Roland was born, Winnie has mostly viewed him as a cute baby brother rather than as a competitor to whom she is losing time on my lap. She was three days shy of 2 years old when we became a family of five and seemed to adapt quite well to the shift that established her as the middle child. I knew better than to think we were in the clear though and have been holding my breath waiting for her to respond to the feelings she has certainly experienced since her brother’s arrival.
To be perfectly honest, while I thought about how Winnie was going to handle being a big sister a lot while I was still pregnant, I haven’t given it much thought since then. This is largely because as soon as I realized she was not going to be taking her feelings out on Roland (for the time being anyways), I stopped worrying about it. It wasn’t until we watched Boss Baby that I was reminded that even if she is not outwardly expressing anger or jealousy toward Roland, she is most definitely feeling something. She was crying during the movie for some reason I was unable to clearly understand, but she’s a sensitive little soul and I could only imagine she identified with the movie in some way. It’s quite possible that her feelings were not reflecting any connection she was having with the movie’s theme, but it was what I needed to remind me that she probably has some unresolved feelings about not being the baby anymore.
From that point on, I have tried to be more observant. I’m having to give Winnie more and more attention these days because her behavior is demanding it (payback for not giving it on the front end, I guess). She has been trying to bite and spit on me and pinch and hit her older sister. It makes sense that she is taking out her feelings on her older sister and I as we are the ones who she sees most consumed with caring for and loving on Roland. While I will not be allowing these behaviors to continue, I sympathize with her loss of our attention.
So, now I’m going to reread this post by Janet Lansbury that I’ve read so many times before about how to prepare for a sibling. I will be a little more patient during the tantrums that have been rearing as well. And while I’m thinking about it all, I’ll make sure to give the biggest sister some extra attention and time and space to talk about her feelings about how our family life has changed since Roland’s birth.