I constantly have to remind myself that Lexi is only 6! She's a natural first-born. Mature well beyond her years.
I totally get the birth order thing. I myself am a first-born and see so much of myself in the reflection of my daughter. She's a nurturer, is responsible beyond her age, and combined with the fact that she's several inches taller than many of her peers, it's hard at times to remember that she's still just a very young kid!
Lexi has grown up so fast. We didn't have many friends with small children when she was small and so she spent a good portion of her baby/toddler years around adults. When she was 2 she went from being the youngest at daycare to the oldest, with older kids departing for school and new babies taking their place. We've always talked to her like you would an adult and have expected so much from her. Some times I wonder if we've made her grow up too fast.
As I type this the girls are out back playing in the sandbox. Lexi playing the role of "mother", Brea the silly little sister. This summer they have become so close, playing for HOURS at a time with little more from me than an occasional check-in. They laugh, the pretend, they fight, they make up and move on to the next adventure. Lexi is a huge help throughout the day helping Brea to wash her hands, reaching toys, even refilling the milk in Brea's sippy cup. Her presence and help will be missed throughout the day when she heads off to school next week.
I'm trying to cherish the moments when Lexi gets to be just a kid. Reminding myself that crazy, loud play is sometimes exactly what's appropriate. Admittedly I'm not the most patient and tolerant of adults when it comes to the craziness of kids. As a result, I often put the kibosh on fun when I know I should just let it go. Before I know it Lexi will be entering her adolescent years, so often awkward and directed by self consciousness, and the days of free, crazy, childish play will forever be gone. Just typing that sentence brings a lump to my throat and wetness to my eyes.
I know Lexi will be successful in whatever adventures she chooses to tackle in the years to come. Her self confidence and sense of responsibility will take her far. I sometimes worry about the pressure she puts on herself to perform perfectly...a trait that I'm positive comes from the high expectations we, her parents, have put on her (not always consciously) through the years. I hope that while she's striving to achieve, she stays connected to WHO she is...an amazingly creative, caring, and gentle soul. And, I hope we ALL remember to enjoy the little childish, playful moments along the way! After all...she's only 6!