Big girls and little girls

It’s high time I do a post about one of those “old”  kids – the ones we had before little Bethany came along.

What I really want to say is that 8yo Natalie is blossoming into a mature and helpful young lady.  I love to see our girls grow into  young women but I’m always a bit surprised when it happens.

Natalie couldn’t wait for the new baby to be born.  In our house, each older child has a younger charge,  and Natalie was next in line.  She spent months volunteering for diaper duty on her brother so that she could be ready when the baby came.

She also grew and matured in other ways in anticipation of joining the ranks of Big Kids.  She has become more conscientious about her chores, and far more willing helping to both me and her sisters.  Although she is still a beginning reader herself and shy about reading in front of older sisters, she constantly offers to read stories to the little ones.   She has grown taller and more ladylike – surely that can’t happen as a result of psychological growth, but the timing was uncanny!

Now that Bethany is 6 weeks old, Natalie is helping more and more with her.  She’s not her sole or primary caregiver, of course, but she is the first back-up.  This is an arrangement – a relationship – that Natalie looked forward to greatly, and she has taken it to heart.  I love to see the bond that is already growing between them.

I’m also amused at the contrast between these two.  One with her new, pale skin and the other so brown that at least one of our friends has nicknamed her “our little Spanish daughter.”

Natalie is such a sweet sister, and I’m thankful to have her influence so heavily upon little Bethany.


  1. How precious! I’m new to your blog but just wanted to comment.

    Do you find your children with partners enjoy it? Or do they get tired of it? It seems like no one wants to partner up for long…after a few days they want to trade babies bc its too much work. We arent talking diaper changes or feeding, just helping with dressing, washing up and car seats.

  2. I love the way Sheila put it…. “Someone over there knows just what to capture with a camera and just what to words to put it with. ”

    Your blog is a blessing and encouragement!

  3. Candice Duell says:

    I have been reading your blog for a little while now, this has got to be one of my favorite entrys. Very heart warming!

    Your family is beautiful!

  4. I have a question about that — maybe you could do a post on it and offer advice to those of us that are a little behind you in terms of children. I love the idea of the older taking “charge” of a younger sibling, and I’m trying to instill in my boys that they are the protector of their sister. I have a 6 yob, 4yog, 2yob and another little guy coming in December. The 6yo boy takes his responsibility seriously, often continuously reminding the other two of their responsibilities or warning them of their waywardness. 🙂 The other two simply don’t appreciate it. There are many “you are not my boss!” and “you are not my mom!” being thrown around. The oldest also gets carried away from time to time as well, and I have to remind him that he is NOT their boss and not to take things so personally. So…… what age do they become “in charge” of a younger sibling and how do you handle the sibling rivalry that results out of a genuine concern — the other is going to get in trouble if they don’t finish cleaning or come right when called, the other is doing something that, if caught, will bring immediate discpline, etc.? I’d love to hear your opinions on this!

  5. Beautiful sisters!

  6. I cried, ever so slightly and embarrassed by the ease of my emotion. I am not kidding, I did. Someone over there knows just what to capture with a camera and just what to words to put it with. O.K. so I happen to be right in the middle of a torrent of hormones only women could understand, but still… I was touched. Love the little pictures of peace, serenity, joy, and authenticity you display in this blog.

  7. As an only child I can only dream of such close sibling-relationships, but I hope that, one day, my children will be as close and loving to each other as your beautiful young/little ones are.

  8. Thank you, Lois for reminding me of that picture. It’s one of my favorites too. I dug up the url for future reference and so others could see what you were referring too: Bethany sleeping on Natalie

  9. They could NOT be more precious!

  10. Awww.

    This post almost brings tears to my eyes. What cute pictures of the ‘new baby’. Natalie looks like a sweetie too.

    My family was quite small. Just myself and my younger brother. Who coincidentally is 8yrs younger. I was sort of a surrogate mom to him too. Mom was still the Real Mom(tm) but I could be counted on to change a few diapers, rewind a swing and generally play with and entertain the baby while she was busy cooking or cleaning. I also baked him cookies and brownies when he was older and read a few bedtime stories along the way too. I also threatened to beat up a few neighborhood kids who tried to bully him because they were 3-4yrs older and bigger.

    We’re not all *that* close now because of the age difference and gender difference (he’s closer to our male cousins) but when he needs advice he still calls me. He knows he can count on me to say the same sort of things my parents will say but in a nicer yet more direct way 🙂 Ie, “stay your little behind out of trouble!, I can’t afford to bail you out!” LOL

    My daughters love their uncle to pieces too.


  11. It really is neat to see the love that one sibling has for another. My wife and I were commenting this morning how our older ones have a much easier time getting our 18 month old to repeat words than we do.

    It’s neat to see that passion for kids starting when they’re young. What a blessing!

  12. Lois Groat says:

    What a delightful post. It moved me to go back and find that amazing picture of Bethany sleeping on Natalie’s chest. That has to be one of the most moving pictures I have ever seen. It should be an oil painting. I love the closeness and relative unselfishness of big families.

  13. As a mom of an 8yo girl and a newborn, this post is especially poignant to me. Thanks for sharing – You have a houseful of beautiful girls there. And the boy ain’t bad either. 🙂

  14. Wow! That is so beautiful! Go Natalie!

  15. I am always surprised how large households in general tend to be more closely-knit. For some reason, smaller ones aren’t so close. Perhaps it’s because, with all these little brothers and sisters running around the house, their lives revolve around taking care of each other, instead of (as usually happens in small families, though not always) a few children all around the same age, pursuing their own interests apart from each other.

    Big families come with their big responsibilities, but, as I am sure you know, they return big blessings.

    Lovely photographs.

  16. Precious!

  17. I liked this post a lot. I am sure it’s a joy to see her helping in this way.

  18. That is so cool. I grew up as second of six. But I’ve really liked reading about even larger families and the buddy type system between older and younger children. The relationships it builds and creates are incredible.

  19. My little Natalie is growing up….it’s bitter sweet.

    We lose the little girls and gain the Godly ladies.

    Natalie I am proud of you you’re a big help to your mama and me.

  20. That is so cool. Touches the heart.

  21. How precious!! My oldest niece is eight tomorrow while my youngest niece is almost nine months. They have a similar connection. It’s always really neat to watch!

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