Dear Jack: You and Your Sister Have Turned Our Old Phones into Technology Corner

7 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

One night last week in attempt to keep your sister occupied as Mommy and I rushed to finish cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I saw Mommy’s newly retired “old” phone on the shelf.

I pulled up the calculator app, and my plan proved itself to be successful. Your sister had become instantly lost in a sea of numbers. She was additionally mesmerized by the water drop sound effect Mommy’s phone made each time a new number was pressed.

So for the past several days now, it has not been uncommon for your sister to crunch numbers, while you play Survival Craft on the Kindle.

Eventually, your sister made her way over to you, from the coffee table which had been serving as her work station.

Then you had a really cool idea. You pulled up the camera on the phone and began taking selfies with her. She loved it!

It was such a big deal for her to get to see how each new picture turned out.

Before your sister’s 2nd birthday, it was rare for me to let your sister have any screen time. But now that she has proven she has reached certain milestones in her speech abilities, I’m okay with a reasonable amount of her watching Netflix with you… or playing with an old phone.

An “old” cell phone from 3 years ago is actually more like a mini home computer. And we have two of them lying around; both Mommy’s and mine. So really, I can imagine how cool of a toy it must seem to your sister.

I have a feeling that from now on, I will need to make sure that one of our old phones is fully charged before any upcoming road trip; like the next time we make the 2 and a half hour drive to Nonna and Papa’s house.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You’re Missing Your Brother This Week While He’s in Alabama

2 years, 1 months.

Dear Holly,

With your brother finishing 1st grade last week, Mommy and I decided it would be a nice change of pace for him to spend this week at Nonna and Papa’s house. It’s only been a few days now, but you’ve made it very clear you miss him.

You ask me each morning, “Where’s Jackie?”

However, it didn’t take long for you to jump up in his bed and play with his toys in his room. It was your way of not only showing you were thinking about him, but that you might as well take advantage of the situation if wasn’t there to stop you.

For me, it’s a strange concept to just have one child in our house this week.

It’s a glimpse of what life could have been like had you been born first, instead of your brother. In particular, it reminds me that your brother had 5 and a half years as an only child, before you were born.

This week serves as one of the few times in your life where you’ve known what it was like to be an only child. You’re used to being the younger, baby sister. That’s how your brother sees you and treats you; so to a large degree, you adopt that title as your identity.

Granted, the two of you will always be in different stages of childhood; so you’re never really having to compete in the same way that siblings who are closer in age might experience.

In a way, both you and your brother get to be an “only child” to some degree.

In just a few days though, you’ll be reunited with Jackie. I can see you don’t quite feel complete without him. I imagine it’s difficult to feel like a little baby sister when your older brother isn’t right there next to you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Hitting and Hugging Your Brother “Jackie” Within a 5 Second Time Frame

2 years.

Dear Holly,

You are really having fun these days as you are learning the art of forming short, yet complete, sentences. Over this past week especially, I have noticed you are even finding a comfort level when communicating with your family.

So now, whenever you’re hanging out and playing with your brother Jack, you love to call him by his nickname you gave him: Jackie.

“You coming, Jackie?”

“Let’s go, Jackie!”

“Hold you, Jackie?”

By the way, “hold you” is one of my favorite things you say these days.

It’s of course the result of Mommy and me asking you, “Do you want me to hold you?”, when we see you are getting tired walking outside in the cul-de-sac or at a store.

So when you want Mommy or me or pick you up, you just say, “Hold you?”

Most recently, my favorite story about you and Jack playing happened this past weekend when Mommy was working on dinner and I was working on the dishes.

You and your brother were playing, when all of the sudden, you just approached him and slapped him in the chest, declaring, “No!”

He had done nothing to earn this. He was being nice to you. It was completely random that you did that. It was so random.

But immediately, before Mommy or I could address the issue, you looked up at Jack and asked, “Hold you?”

I guess it’s just proof of how well the two of you play together.

Because Jack wasn’t upset that you hit him for no reason, anyway. But then you immediately, and softly, asked him to “hold you”, which meant you wanted him to hug you, he gladly obliged.

The logic is just hilarious to me:

Approach your brother who is being kind to you, angrily slap him in the chest while shouting “No!, then immediately and meekly ask him for a hug.

I love watching you learn to communicate and interact with other human beings.

Love,

Daddy

 

Dear Holly: I am Training Your Brother How to Teach You, Not Taunt You

1 year, 2 months.

Dear Holly,

You are a very gracious little sister, that’s for sure. For the past several weeks, I have been patiently (?) teaching your brother what exactly it means to gently play with his 1 year-old sibling.

Your brother is 6 and half years-old; he’ll be starting 1st grade a month from now. In his mind, you’re his peer. In his mind, he can play with you the same way he plays with other boys his age. In his mind, you’re not a fraction of his size.

For now, I pretty much have to have a “just don’t touch your sister” rule for him, because he has this habit of either knocking you down, or carrying  you from one side of the room to room but that literally dropping you on the floor.

I’ve also been explaining to him how he’s not competing with you. He has this habit of wanting to play with whatever toy you’re playing with, yet the moment you stop playing with it and he finally gets it, he then wants to new toy you’re playing with.

It’s a cycle of him constantly wanting whatever toy you have.

This week I specifically trained him on his role: to teach his little sister on to do things.

That way, there’s no need for him to want your toy, but instead, to play with you by showing you how to play with it, without taking the toy away from you.

He’ll eventually mellow out and transition into his role.

With all that being said, most of the time, it’s not an issue.

Instead, it’s very clear he loves and adores you.

A few weeks I came home to see you playing with a homemade miniature Pokemon-themed basketball goal and basket. Your brother had made it just for you!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Will You and Your Sister Both Adopt the Only Child Mentality?

6 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack: Will You and Your Sister Both Adopt the Only Child Mentality?

Dear Jack,

Back in college, I was really into this book called The Birth Order Connection. It explains the theory of how our personalities are ultimately guided by what order we were born in the family.

It describes how an “only child” is different than a first-born child; but if a first-born child is at least 6 years-old when the 2nd sibling is born, both children ultimately become more like only children because those earlier formative years are not shared with another sibling of the same age.

When I Googled “traits of an only child” just now, here’s the first thing that came up:

“Only children, being firstborn themselves, tend to exhibit traits more similar to those of other firstborn children. However, only children seem to have better self-esteem and are higher achievers than children who have siblings (Brophy, 1989, p. 54).”

When your sister was born, you were about 5 and a half years-old; to be exact, 7 months shy of that 6 year-old mark. So really, you’re borderline on whether you will adopt a first born (older brother) mentality as opposed to an only child mentality.

And then same can be said for your sister, as long as no more siblings are born within the next 5 years. In theory, she may never really develop the mentality of “younger sister”. Instead, the two of you could easily both end up having that ultra-independent personality of an only child.

After all, the two of you will never really have to share your toys with each other. The two of you get to live next to each other, but always in different stages of childhood development.

Earlier this week on the drive to school, I told you, “Jack, when Holly’s your age now, you’ll be 11 years-old; you’ll be finishing up 5th grade when your sister turns 6; the age you are now.”

You laughed at the thought of it.

But that’s the reality. You are her older brother and she is your younger sister, but really the two of you may end up technically more like only children.

Love,
Daddy