The one thing in life you have absolutely no influence or control over is whether or not you get younger siblings.
It’s done. It’s happened. That decision lies 100% with our parents, through and through.
So what happens when you’re the ‘significantly’ older sibling (i.e. there’s more than 10 years in between your ages)? Aside from the fact that you definitely now know where babies come from, you’re suddenly thrust into this life where you’re part babysitter, part assistant parent, part role model.
Everything you do is either copied or ignored. The little gremlin either thinks you’re the bees knees and does everything you say or… they rebel, rebel, rebel.
You don’t have the authority of your parents, so even though you’ve lived for years longer than this drooling mess, you can’t reprimand him/her or make any rules.
You’re not the boss, but you’re definitely about your sibling’s pay grade.
What are you left with? A resume of efficiently changing nappies at an early age, advanced toddler negotiation skills and a newfound appreciation of sending cranky kids to bed by 7pm.
In a way, having a sibling at that age makes you grow up a lot faster. Not only can you carry them around without their little toes dragging on the floor, but you get a glimpse of the realities of parenting from an adult’s perspective.
Does that make you help out more and talk back less? Maybe. But you (hopefully) take your new sense of responsibility in stride and focus on teaching them the good stuff (swear words, Star Wars, wearing silly hats).
Fast forward to your early twenties. The baby is now the same age you are when he was born. And then your parents go and do it again. Surprise! Unexpected sibling comes forth.
You’ve grown up now (kind of). You can confidently wrangle a baby and help with bath time/feeding/driving them around. Only now you think a lot more about this life. As in, what a baby would do to your life. You conclude that yep, you still value your sleep too much.
You do however, realise your sibling role has increased to being a role model. You’re living out of home, you pay your bills, you buy your own clothes. Your younger siblings notice all that and more. Are you happy with what they’re noticing?
I’m not sure how many people can relate to that specific scenario, but I know it’s a similar vibe when you become an Aunty/Uncle/god parent/hang out with kids a lot before having any of your own. It’s a strange role so slide into, especially with how messed up the world is currently.
Amongst the cute outfits and growing vocabulary and collection of firsts, you’re now faced with being an influence to this tiny human. Hopefully we’re doing okay. I’m sure they’ve eventually tell us if we didn’t.