My topic today is not completely related to my photography, although, it is tied in a bit. I feel like venting about something I saw the other day when I was at the bank. It’s something I see repeated many times over, including towards my own daughters. It’s something, that while I don’t believe is intentional on anyone’s part, still has the same outcome.
I was waiting in line to cash a check yesterday afternoon. A young mom with two children was up at the teller. Her oldest child was a young quiet boy around 7. In the stroller was a beautiful little girl, about 3 months old with a large amount of beautiful dark hair, that almost made me jealous. While waiting in line, it appeared that everyone at the bank must have known this lady. Several different workers (I’d say no less than 5 women) came over to ooh and ahh at this adorable baby. The baby was at the age when she was just learning to smile and these women all were eating it up and telling the baby how beautiful and adorable she was. No one glanced at the big brother. No one. He just stood there, holding on to the stroller with one hand and smiling. My heart ached for him. I almost went over to them just to tell him how handsome he was. But then the next teller called me up. I couldn’t stop thinking about this little boy. The same treatment has happened to my 7 year old ever since her little sister (who is now 3) was born. Even now, my 3 year old, who has a large personality and a huge grin to match, still steals the show. People flock to her to tell her how adorable she is. Yet, they often overlook my oldest. I truly believe that no one intentionally wants to hurt the older siblings. It’s just that everyone gets caught up with the cuteness of, well, the one being cute.
I love families. I especially love children. I think siblings are just the best! I grew up as an only child and it always warms my heart to see siblings interact with each other – even when the interaction sometimes turns into arguing. My favorite part of family photos is taking sibling photos. I adore each child the same, even the older ones who are sometimes shy and already used to be in the shadow of the newer child in the family. I always go out of my way to interact and to be just as “gaga” over the older siblings as I am about the babies who come to my studio. When the families walk in, after greeting the parents, I greet the older sibling(s) next. I try to compliment them on something and engage in conversation with them. Depending on their age, I might get down on their level and bring them a stuff animal to play with, make funny faces to get them to giggle, or talk to them about Mickey Mouse or Sophia the First. If they’re a little bit older, I’ll compliment them on their clothes/style, ask them about school or their favorite book/movie/tv show. I also use them “as my big helpers”. I want them to feel just as important as their baby brother/sister.
Parents already have it difficult – just trying to run a household with a new baby in the house is challenging. Plus,new babies have needs that are sometimes more urgent than the the needs of the older children. So I think we all need to come together and show attention to the older children just as much as we do to the babies. I really hope that people reading this, will pause for a moment and think about it. Hopefully, the next time you’re out and about and run into a cute baby or child, you also stop and show some love to the older brother or sister.
Because this is a photography blog, I will leave you with some of my favorite sibling photos.
Abrah Zion, of Miss Z Photography, is an award winning maternity, newborn, baby and child photographer in New Bedford, MA. She serves all over the SouthCoast and New England with her satisfied clients deriving from New Bedford, South Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, Acushent, Mattapoisett, Marion, Padanaram, Fairhaven, Rochester, Freetown, Lakeville, Westport, Fall River, Somerset, Plymouth, Rhode Island, Cape Cod and Boston.