Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why having a three year old sister is the best thing ever

When Xander was born, the hospital pediatrician told me that optimum child spacing was 3 years 7 months. I was immediately filled with regret and remorse. Had I simply held off for nine more days, I could have given both E and Xander (Xe/Z/Xe Man) the best possible start on life. 

Actually, I couldn't have cared less. I was just happy to not be pregnant any longer.

And that doctor was a bit of a nut who told me I was her favorite mother of the day and that I was killing my child all within a five minute conversation, but that's another story.

Despite being a whole nine days off from some arbitrary, or possibly well researched, ideal, I feel that Z is greatly benefiting from having a sister that is 3 years, 6 months, and 21 days older than him.

1) He's learning to always be alert and prepared.
My friend mentioned that Z always looks a little stunned/scared. I'm pretty sure it is from never knowing when his older sister is about to pounce, squeeze him til he can't breathe while declaring her undying love for him, or pick him up when I'm not watching (not that I would ever let him out of my sight!) I'm fairly certain that one day hyper alertness and the the ability to sense the enemy approaching from a mile away could come in handy.

2.) He gets way cooler songs sung to him.
When I used to rock E to sleep in the middle of the night, I'd sing her sweet lullabies. My favorite went:

Hey beautiful girl
Daddy loves you
He loves you
Most beautiful girl
In the whole wide world

When I'm singing to Z, it's usually whatever song is in my head. Since E has been on a Tangled kick lately, he usually hears:

I'm malicious mean and scary
My sneer could curdle dairy
And violence-wise my hands are not the cleanest
But despite my evil look
And my temper and my hook
I've always yearned to be a concert pianist...

Clearly, he's benefiting from living with a three year old.

3.) His every move is well monitored.
E is always more than happy to check on him and make sure he's still sleeping. Having a first hand report is so much more helpful than the static filled monitors we had last time.

E: He's still sleeping! I didn't wake him up!
Me: Wonderful! Thank you!
(30 seconds later)
E: He's crying!
Me: What happened?
E: I opened his eyes for him. I think he wants to be awake.

So. Much. Better.

4.) He always receives attention and comfort when he cries.
E doesn't like Z crying and is quick to comfort him. She likes to hold a pacifier (that he hates) in his mouth and when all else fails she's willing to smother him to so the crying stops. Sibling love.

5.) He's developing a strong immune system.
E didn't get her first cold until she was almost a year. Thanks to a sister with the sniffles, Z got his first cold at one week.

6.) Z's three year old sister is always willing to test things out for him.
From his itty bitty clothes to the swing, Moses basket, pacifier, toy, or car seat, she's tested it all.

7.) Having a three year old sister guarantees that everyone takes care of Z properly.
She's very eager to correct your hold, your burping technique, and my nursing position. She keeps a very accurate account of his diaper output and his feeding schedule (I didn't even know he had a feeding schedule!) Without her devoted oversight, Z would be lucky to be alive.

I think we can conclude based on a research sample of one, that a three year seven month age gap is truly ideal... at least for the three year old.