Monday, May 19, 2008

Mei Mei, or Poor Tootle

Sometimes I think Tootle gets the short end of the stick because she is the mei mei, or little sister. She often gets dragged along to Doodle's activities, forced to watch soccer games because the playground is too far from the field, and to sit still for concerts. When Doodle was younger, I took her to lots of shows at the puppet theater; Tootle has been to one. We also spent more time at playgrounds; now we ride bikes to the closest one, but spend more of our time getting there than playing on the equipment.

Last night this disparity was brought sharply into focus. We went to a goodbye dinner for one of our China Moms who is moving to Shanghai for a few years with her two daughters. Doodle had an important soccer practice, so it was just Tootle and me (and 24 other moms and kids). Doodle has grown up with many of these girls, so usually when we are together, my attention is focused on getting caught up with the older girls (who we've known for up to 9 years), and Tootle wants to hang with her sister so she plays with the big girls too. Last night, both Tootle and I discovered that there are girls her age in the group too, and she had a blast playing with them. She sounded so happy when she came running up to me and announced, "I've made a new friend!" Then she went running back to her new friend and asked, "What's your name again?" By the end of the evening she could remember the name and she chatted excitedly on the way home about her friend and her little sister and the other kindergartner who brought Pokemon cards with her.

What an eye opener. While I do a good job of arranging playdates for Tootle and making sure she can pursue her passions (pretty much any sport), I haven't been doing a very good job of planning family activities that are geared to her. I'm going to pay a bit more attention to balancing the scorecard, although I expect that the older kid with more varied interests pretty much always gets a somewhat greater share of family time.


Beverly said...

That happens everywhere to every little sister or brother. My niece experienced it with her older brother but now she is in her own element and my sis is making my nephew attend to all the games my niece plays. Turn about it fair play I guess.

Sheri said...

Donna, Miri still talks about her "best friend" and asks when she can see her again... it was amazing to see those two "click" darn near instantaneously - and then Maely was the one feeling left out. Typically it is Miri who stands back, and Maely who is the center of attention, so it was doubly surprising to see - and FUN!! Let's figure out a playdate in a couple of weeks - we're at Hershey this weekend for annual office party, and have Maely's CWI reunion the weekend after, but then have several weeks free (other than Chinese School on Sundays from 2:30-4:30 at our house). :)