Kiley is a year and a half older than Mackey, so of course she has greater abilities. She has greater physical and mental abilities, greater verbal skills and emotional control. She is potty trained, which earns her the honor of wearing "big girl pants". She sleeps in a "big girl bed". When we go to the grocery store Kiley will often walk the aisles rather than ride in the cart. To cut it short, Kiley does a myriad number of things that set her apart from little girls and that she believes earns her the coveted status of "big girl" that she is so proud of.
Mackey, being a year and a half younger, is much less accomplished. Her physical and mental abilities lag far behind her sister's. Her verbal skills are rudimentary though increasing rapidly and I must say that her talking abilities are quite advanced for a twenty-two-month-old and, in fact, are noticeably greater than Kiley's were at that age. She is not potty trained as yet though she gives it a try now and then. She sleeps in a crib. In the grocery store Mackey rides in the cart (this is a must if we are to finish shopping in any reasonable amount of time). Her emotional control is practically nonexistent; she cries at the drop of a hat and flies off the handle at the slightest provocation, often merely for affect. In the final analysis, however, none of these abilities, or lack there of, a "big girl" make. Being a "big girl" is not defined by a set of accomplishments or skills. It is not a certain stage of development. Being a "big girl" is merely a state of mind, one that Kiley has adopted and Mackey, as yet, has not.
You see, maturity, "big girlhood", is a relative thing that is constantly expanding in each individual. It is not a goal to be obtained or an aspiration to be achieved. This fact is a secret that we adults keep from little girls. In fact we teach them the exact opposite. We create in their minds the alluring concept of the "big girl". A state of being that is profoundly to be desired. We then use the longing we have created for this mythical state, to both elicit desired behavior in little girls, and to coax them into striving toward desired milestones of development. "'Big girls' don't wear diapers." "'Big girls' don't use binkys." "'Big girls' don't cry when they don't get their way." Deceitful though it may be, using the mythical concept of the "big girl" is a convenient and very effective tool in shepherding our little girls toward greater self-reliance.
Kiley has embraced this fabricated concept and is, therefore, a "big girl". Mackey has not. In fact, at this point, Mackey is not yet aware of the wondrous possibility of becoming a "big girl". That marvelous prospect has not yet even entered her mind. Mackey, therefore, dwells blissfully in a condition of sublime ignorance, happily inhabiting the carefree and breezy world of the little girl. For becoming a "big girl" is not easy. That process, based on a myth though it may be, is a stressful one filled with difficult transitions and seemingly insurmountable expectations. ("I have to do what?!") But eventually Mackey too will be introduced to the concept of the "big girl", and rather soon I'm afraid. She already aspires to be like her big sister so the transition to full "big girlhood" should be relatively easy. Just a few subtle suggestions planted in her pliant mind will ignite in her the innate human desire to be greater than what we are, and compel her to strive to be abler, better, "bigger". The first order of business will be to convince her to stay on the potty until she is completely done. Hopping off in mid pee-pee and spraying my newly mopped floors as she runs down the hallway is unacceptable behavior. "Big girls" don't do that.