Almost all of my earliest memories involve my sister—and she's three years younger than me. Long ago, in a time before car seats or even mandatory seat belts, my dad and I picked up my sister and my postpartum mom at the hospital. I remember sitting in the front seat of the old gray Chevy station wagon between my parents. My mom held the baby's top part, and I got to hold her feet. She was my baby, after all.
A few more memories of baby Jessica in her high chair, baby Jessica learning to walk, toddler Jedgie in the bath with me, Little Jedge wanting to play . . . and then not a lot else. What happened? My parents were concerned about sibling rivalry, so we were separated into different activities, different friends, different lives.
As an adult in my late twenties, I had to build my relationship with my sister because there wasn't a lot to rebuild—so it's with delight and dismay that I observe siblings who are close—and stay close—all the way through childhood.
Sibling struggles can be terrible for parents. Sibling successes can be among the most gratifying. How, then, can you help your little one build a strong, fruitful relationship with your littlest one—a relationship that will last and last, long after you've faded, gone gray and saggy, and possibly departed to greener pastures? Here are a few thoughts on the matter: