Ane’s Summer

Why yes, we do have a daughter!

As my life becomes more and more male-dominated (three sons will do that to you), I am becoming more aware of how glad I am to have Ane for a daughter.  We have a lot of people who, upon learning that we have all these boys, say “At least you have ONE girl!”  Because she was the first born, it never crossed my mind to be grateful to have at least one daughter.

As much as Ane would have loved to have had a sister, she’s very aware of the advantages of being the only girl.  For example, she asked me not too long ago, as we were watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” that since we only have to pay for one wedding, does that mean that she gets to spend whatever she wants on her wedding dress?

Short answer: NO.  Long answer: NO WAY.

That aside, she has also become my right-hand girl this summer.  Between Tad needing his routine, Rerun being in the middle of potty training, and Thumper being a small, needy baby, I really don’t know how I would get along day-to-day without Ane’s helping hands.  She’s stirred dinners, flushed toilets, wiped bottoms, fetched diapers, cuddled Thumper, answered phones, read books to Rerun – she has done a lot.  And I know that sometimes she gets annoyed with her brothers (the older two, though she has gotten exasperated with Thumper if he’s fussy and she can’t cheer him up) and needs her time away from them and in her room, or away playing with a friend (or cousins right now).  I also know that we probably expect more out of her because of our family dynamic.  I had a long chat with the kids’ pediatrician, Dr. N, about how our family dynamic has changed, post-Thumper’s arrival.  He wanted to know how the boys were adapting to the baby, but we also talked about how much the boys depend on Ane to be their big sister, helper, and caretaker.

I told Dr. N how we sent Ane to swim day camp through the swim school that runs the pool where the kids go for lessons, and how we sent Ane by herself.  Some people asked why we didn’t send Tad, because he loves swimming.  We didn’t send him because camp was 7 hours a day (Ane came home each day absolutely wiped out), and because Ane needed to do something just for herself, and not be his babysitter.

Dr. N talked about how in some of the special needs families that he sees, the neurotypical kids tend to get overburdened with caring for the special needs sibling, and sometimes, those kids just “snap” because they can’t take it anymore.  And they can “snap” at pretty young ages.

“If you’re already aware of that, and giving her space away from him, then you’re already ahead of the game,” he told me.

We’ve really tried to give Ane a fun summer with lots of things to do, even though we have to keep a routine for Tad.  She went camping with Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa.  She’s played with friends.  She went to a baseball game with Grandma and Gichan.  She’s getting to “take” her cousins to the American Girl bistro for tea today.  So, she is getting to do “special” things that only she can do.

Ane, 9 and a half


And I’ve tried to make sure that her mind has been fed this summer as well, between frequent trips to the library (and the library’s summer reading program) and Auntie’s summer school (Ane and Tad work on math and other subjects, Auntie gets the practice teaching).  Plus we’ve worked on baking cookies and cooking meals.

She really is a great kid.  Yes, she’s still 9 and a half and does annoying kid things.  She rolls her eyes a LOT.

But she’s a very important part of our family.  Her brothers love her and need her.  Tad depends on her, Rerun is bonded to her, and Thumper smiles at her all the time.  And her Dad and I love her very, very much.

I don’t know what we would do without her.

One Response to “Ane’s Summer”

  1. Nana
    August 7th, 2013 07:59

    Hooray for Ane! And she’s having a fun summer indeed.