First of all, bathing two little ladies at once is both hilarious and difficult. Once again, keeping with our “don’t smother the baby” theme, Emma Vance has taken to bathing with Cricket — as in literally in her tub. Cricket doesn’t seem to mind, and it makes E.V. so happy. She especially enjoys helping with the soap on Kit’s feet and belly. Big sisters are the best.
I can’t blame Emma Vance for thinking that she belongs in the whale tub with Kit. The moment she saw her old baby bath emerge from the basement, her eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. We used that tub for-ev-er with E.V., and truthfully, I was excited to pull it back out. (Isn’t it weird the things we end up becoming attached to?) E.V. clearly feels like she has ownership over Mr. Whale, and I can’t blame her. I mean, it was hers first, which got me thinking about hand-me-downs and their implications on both older and younger siblings.
I never had to deal with an older sister’s old junk because although I am the youngest in my family, I’m also the only girl. I never felt like nothing was ever mine, and now that I have two little ladies to love, I wonder — Do younger siblings resent getting “seconds?” On one hand, I remind myself that I’m blessed to even be worrying about such a non-issue; I mean, we have clothes, so why complain? There are so many people around the world who would be ecstatic to own even half the amount of clothing that my baby and toddler have. This is embarrassing (and definitely a first-world problem), but sometimes I worry that Cricket and E.V. won’t get to wear all the clothes they own before they grow out of them! I literally have bins and bins of clothes, from ages 0-3 years, stacked in my hallway. :/ (Anyway, I digress…back to the issue of hand-me-downs.)
With Emma Vance, I built her wardrobe from scratch, so I indulged and bought a TON of clothes. (One of the benefits of having a girl, right?) Some of the items were only worn once (especially party dresses, which ironically are the most expensive), and I’m happy to get more use out of them. I did buy a handful of dresses and onesies new for Cricket, but her “new” stash is tiny compared to her “used” pile. I know, I know. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter if Cricket has to wear E.V.’s old dresses, but hand-me-down clothes represent a much larger issue: I’m fearful that Cricket will always feel like she’s trailing in Emma Vance’s shadow simply because they’re so close in age. I can’t help but look at her wardrobe and feel like it represents that fear coming true. I already feel protective over this little baby, and I’m eager for her to have a sense that we treat her as her own person, not just “another daughter” or “E.V. #2.” I don’t want to be impractical, but part of that can be combatted by Cricket having a sense of owning her own things. (This is partly why we created a completely new nursery for her and didn’t reuse Emma Vance’s decor.) I want our girls to grow up being full of appreciation, gratitude, sharing and generosity, but I’m worried that Cricket will also feel resentment to an extent. E.V. can’t always get the “new,” and Cricket always get the “used.” Also, on the other hand, I don’t want Emma Vance to feel like she has ownership over the items that do get handed down; the whole “it was mine first” doesn’t fly with me. There’s a lot of emotions and issues that go along with hand-me-downs that I’ve never had to think about before…until that dang whale tub emerged an unearthed all of these concerns. ;)
Back to Mr. Whale…I do have to say that E.V.’s excitement about sharing that tiny tub with Cricket gave me hope. If I can instill a sense of appreciation for the act of giving early on with E.V. and nurture the same attitude from the receiving side with Cricket, I figure we’ll be setting up a good foundation for them. I know that I’m in for 18 years of arguments and fights over “stuff” (and boys…oh, joy!), but we’re starting early to combat the hand-me-down blues, beginning with bathtime. :)
Hey! I’m the second girl and hand me downs never bothered me! Actually I remember my sister getting new things and being really excited that one day they would be mine. My parents also did a good job about supplementing my wardrobe with some new things. I also remember always getting new shoes. Then of course our bodies started developing and my sister got really tall while I….didn’t…so then I got my own clothes. But I never felt like a leftover!