"Mommy, she sucks my friends away," my youngest daughter says speaking of her big sister.
"What do you mean, Honey?" I ask as I fold towels next to her on the table where she is perched.
"When I have a friend over, she sucks them away, because she's older and so cool," she says with tears in her eyes. "They always want to play with her."
I can see how life would appear to her this way. At seven, her repertoire is fairly limited to Polly Pockets and Barbies. Her older sister on the other hand is full of creative ideas and new games that can sway younger children to follow her like she's the Pied Piper. Plus, when you're ten it's a lot more fun to be nice to your little sister's friends than to be nice to your little sister.
Not having grown up with a sister, my information on how to handle these situations is limited. I feel my way through these parenting moments one stumble at a time.
"Sweetie, younger kids are always drawn to older kids, but that doesn't mean they don't want to be with you. You're very cool. Mommy loves being with you," I say cupping her red cheeks with the palms of my hands. "There's no one on earth I'd rather be with."
"What about her?" She says with a wry smile. "Would you rather be with me or her?"
A trick question with no reasonable answer. Respectfully, I take the Fifth.