Last night, we were playing outside in our front yard when a middle-aged couple walked by. They doted on Harper, noting how cute she is.
I didn't think anything of it.
My mother-in-law was present and mentioned that Hayden seemed upset by their comments - or rather the lack of comments made about and to him.
I went over to him and asked him about it. He said, "they didn't say that I was cute." I asked him how that made him feel and he told me that he was sad. The look on his face hurt my heart and said it all. He looked so dejected.
I immediately told him how cute he is and how awesome he is. I told him that people like babies and like to say things to them and about them. I also told him that I would be upset too if I was in his position. Then I hugged him. He seemed comforted by my words and actions, but still hurt.
I imagine that this same scenario has happened before. In fact, I am sure it has. People constantly comment about how cute Harper is and only occasionally say anything about Hayden. And I hadn't even noticed or thought anything about it. I should have.
It made me cry because I don't want Hayden to feel hurt or less than his sister. It's not fair.
From here on out, I am going to be more cognizant of people's comments to Harper and how they affect Hayden. I'm not going to make people pay him a compliment, but I can pay him a compliment or give him special attention. I can advocate for him and say something like - her big brother is also super cute. Anything I can do to help him not feel and be hurt like this, I will do. Because that look of utter dejection he displayed was genuine and real, and he should not feel that way. I don't want that for him.