2 week old son and 3 year old daughter.
We try to include our daughter on every aspect we can. We ask for her help and the majority of the time she is all over it. The rare occasion she denies our request
we let her be. We want her to recognize that she is part of this process and it's not just mommy and daddy doing it independently.
She helps change diapers by throwing the dirty ones away. She helps feed him by rubbing his back and keeping him awake while he is BF. When he is fussing we calm him together. etc.
We want her to be a part of this whole thing as much as she wants
The only negative behavior we have seen in a bit of "ummmm.... no one has looked at me in 30 seconds!!" when it comes to company. She did this before the baby came but I supposed it's increased just a little bit as guests are not as sensitive to the idea that she has been queen bee of guest attention for 3 years.
We continue to spend time independently with her as well without the baby. Sometimes if he is in the cradle we've let the first fuss go by without reacting to see if she is in-tune with the desire to be helpful. Every time she has reminded us that he is being fussy and we need to check on him.
We've had good results the first 2weeks of this experiment. We'll have to see what adjustments we need to make as the novelty wears off....
What I want to avoid entirely is the idea that they are only bound together in name. I grew up with 2 older sisters that were 4 and 8 years apart from me. We were raised in a good home, involved married parents, in traditional values (whatever that means) but I did not know my sisters, whatsoever. There was never a cultivated desire to be friends with your siblings. It is a strange thing looking back on it. We are literally meeting each other for the first time, in a sense, now, as adults.
The utopia we are craving is one of a desire to be with the family. Growing up, my family trips were never fun unless each of us could bring a friend. We just didn't talk to each other at all and had no desire to do so. It wasn't spite, simply disinterest. We want our kids to look forward to, in some measure at least, being with each other and us. We want our children to genuinely gain pleasure out of each others company. Will it work? I dunno, but we are sure going to try.
Our biggest fear concerning the both of them at this point is her propensity to rough house. She is ready for him to get his hands up and defend her right hook and we have to remind her he's a few years away from their first title bout....