We’ve had Bigs and littles in our house for 14 years. I like to compartmentalize things. It makes me happy. When Hannah was born, I separated her and big brother Joseph into two categories – Big and little. Now, these divisions are very fluid, meaning the definition changes frequently depending on number of children, activity level, skill sets, etc. At the time that Hannah joined our family, brother Joseph was only 20 months old. But, he was an old soul. He was a “worldly” 20 months. He had really lived those 20 months, consequently making him a Big. There were certain things that this classification allowed… picking out your own clothes, drinking from a sippy cup, and taking trips to story hour at the library – to name a few. Hannah was a little. She had more needs, like, well – EVERYTHING. She was so little that she didn’t even care she was a little, and/or ask (demand, beg) to be a Big.
Fast forward two and a half years, and baby #3 arrived. Hannah is now a full fledged toddler – almost a pre schooler – but she still wasn’t Big. At this point in time, being Big meant going to school (even if it’s pre school at a local church for 3 hours, 3 days a week). Hannah would break through this barrier the following fall once she started in the 3 year old program. They both loved their new baby, but pointed out all of the time how very little she was actually capable of doing. Baby doesn’t go to school, eat with silverware, or even WALK. That always gave them a good laugh. #3 walked at an early age, probably just to spite the Bigs… you showed them, baby girl!
There were obvious benefits to being in each group. Bigs got a few more social opportunities and perhaps a later bedtime. Littles got a bit more time with Mama and perhaps a few random trips to McDonalds to play in the ball pit. But, the grass was always greener, if you can imagine. When it was just the two kiddos, I spoke often of things being FAIR. As we brought a couple more babes home from the hospital, I had to change my tune a bit and instead explain that life was indeed not fair and ” You get what you get and you don’t have a fit.” This concept worked much better for us as parents of 4 kids ages 7 and under. I explained that because they were different ages and had different abilities – they would have different responsibilities and privileges. The Bigs were expected to behave and help a bit with age appropriate chores, and in exchange they may get a few extras. With age comes more responsibilities (and perks!)
Now that we have four kids that are ALL in school full day and go to religious education every Wednesday night and can spend the night at their friend’s – you’d think that they would ALL be considered Bigs. But no. Again the definition has changed. The Bigs are now the kids that are out of elementary school, almost driving, and can stay home alone. There will always be a distinction. Perhaps they should now be called the Bigs and Biggers. I must consider this option. Regardless, in my mind, they are ALL still littles that hold a BIG place in my heart.