Sibling ear cleaner at your service

My daughter adores her brothers.  She draws pictures of them, gets them to coordinate outifts so they can be “triplets,” and plays with them.

The other day she taught Philip how to play a game called Hiss.  We really like that game.  I joined in the fun, and we had a great time.

But I noticed that I had to keep telling her not to arrange his cards for him or tell him where to play.  It’s almost like she’s becoming the older sibling.

Today I turned around to see her using a wadded up napkin to clean out her brother’s ear. She was really into it– sitting really close and concentrating.  “Boy, your ear is really dirty!” she exclaimed.  She was really twisting it, too… there was a lot of wax build up.

(He tolerated this because he was playing a game on the computer.  That computer is magic! He can tolerate almost anything while mesmerized by electronics!)

My response (after stifling a laugh): “Hey!  That’s not your job!”

“Well, it’s dirty!”

“Yes, but not your job!”

“Okay, okay.” (Eye roll.)

I am catching her doing a lot of things that aren’t her job lately, mainly things that her brothers need to do themselves.  On the one hand, sometimes I think it’s really funny, like the ear-cleaning incident.  On the other hand, I am concerned that she is taking on a caregiver role too early.  I am hoping that she won’t really have to be a caregiver for either of her brothers.

So, for you parents out there, do you deal with these types of issues?  How do you handle it?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Oh wow ! I had this exact conversation with my husband only last night!

    Our family is opposite to your in that we had our daughter first and then the two boys so she is 3 and 6 years older tan her brothers…. I find that I have been relying on her just that little bit too much lately. If i ask her to do something to help me (make their breakfast, help them get dressed) – she always does so without a complaint but then I find myself asking her NOT to correct or discipline the boys because it’s not her job.

    Hubby said that I have made it difficult for her to find the dividing line between helping and parenting.

    I guess he’s right!

    Also, I think it is a natural female instinct to “mother” LOL

    this is interesting because I have a half written post somewhere in my archives about my girl doing all the parenting stuff that I might have to drag out, dust off and re-read 🙂


    • My poor middle guy… he gets it from both sides. My oldest tries to boss both of the younger ones, and the youngest tries to boss both of the older ones, and the middle guy just wants to be left alone! LOL.

      I do get pretty darn angry when the oldest tries to put the younger in time out, or “count them down.” He has a harder time finding the dividing line between helping and parenting, and has since he moved in with us (he’s my stepson).


  2. Mine are now 13 and 11. Griff’s little sister still does things for him. It’s just a habit for her. Neither of them seem to mind and it’s become so second nature that nobody notices 99% of the time.


    • As I read your post, I wondered what things I don’t notice that my daughter does for my son. I know it’s habit for her, too. Since my kids are all 4 years apart in age, I wasn’t expecting this, LOL.


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