I now understand why my brother told me it was important to spend time alone with each child. He and his wife have two children. He says they all spend time together, but he makes the time to spend an hour or so alone with each child separately. So does his wife. It might seem like a waste of time and hard work, but now I understand why they do things this way.
Our two girls have many similarities. They like having a fun time, assert themselves when they have to and can be really humorous. But they are also different. The older fits in anywhere so easily. She has tonnes of friends at home, school, church and her grandparents’ homes. The younger one though takes a long time to warm up to people outside her family. The older is like the energiser bunny. She is on full throttle all day, until her head hits the pillow. But the younger one likes to take time off to quieten down. She can spend even 30 minutes in bed, peacefully “reading” a book or just looking around before she nods off.
So, depending on how they are acting, I find myself easily being too tough on one or the other. If I am in reflective mood, I find I cannot stand the older one constantly asking me this and that, shouting around the house and deliberately irritating her sister. I keep shushing her up and prefer to be with the younger one who will sit on my laps peacefully or just not irritate. But when we are playing, writing or painting, I am more attracted to the older one who has an eye for the arts and is quite good at them. It is fun to do things like this with her. But I will get impatient with the younger one who will end up tearing the books and throwing tantrums when things are not going her way.
It is natural to be attracted to the thing you like more or prefer, but as a mother (and wife – long other story) I am learning that whether or not my children do attractive things, I need to spend time with them to show them individually that I love them to bits and not one more than the other.
I have managed to have one-on-one outings with the older one. I have attended weddings with her, taken her to children parks, and gone shopping together so I feel I have a grip on that, somewhat (we still have a playdate we have to fulfil). It’s the baby I have not done much with, so that is another resolution for me. I know that it will pay someday.