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Reality Check: When Your Firstborn Takes Second Place

Q. Everyone coos over my newborn but ignores my 2-year-old. How do I get them to notice my older child?

This used to happen to my Mari whenever I took her and her baby sister out. She could have walked in with an announcer and her own theme song and still no one would have noticed how pretty, smart, polite, and advanced she was.

How'd Mari deal with it? Truth is, she didn't. At age 3, most of the time she neither noticed nor cared that people weren't cooing over her, so busy was she doing the silly little things that kids do. I realized that it was actually I who was bothered by the lack of attention paid to her. So I started accepting the baby's compliments for what they were: well wishes for a little one recently brought into the world. In the rare instances when Mari realized someone was ogling her sister and not her, I simply readied myself with a standard quip: "Well, we're fortunate to add another beautiful baby to the family  -- our older daughter set quite a standard!" That line usually made my big girl, apparently invisible to the baby-struck stranger, suddenly appear.