For years we wondered - how old will our oldest kid have to be to help out her younger sibling, thus giving a break to her parents a bit?
Well, at nearly 6 years old, our daughter has graduated to that status and it's more than welcome from her parents - not that we're lazy or anything.
She has always been a help in the past to run and get a diaper or to scream when our youngest is up to no good.
But now she is able to do more things and it's helping out her parents. She has taken the role of getting her 2-year-old brother a snack after nap time which means her parents don't have to pop up right away with dreary eyes or drop what we're doing to feed the hungry little boy.
He makes sure he lets his older sister know he is up and ready to be served. This is just one example of her getting old enough and evolving into that helpful older sister.
Helping out her brother, and plenty of time playing with him this summer, has led the two of them to form a special bond during the past year.
In fact, I save the text in my phone from my wife which was a quote our oldest daughter said about her brother earlier this summer.
"I think I'm falling in love with Colin, like he's my husband or something," she said to her mother.
I would say that is a pretty special bond they have, just like most siblings at that age.
Sure they fight, and bite, on occasion like all kids. But watching them play together and enjoy activities together is something we cherish.
She isn't quite ready for potty duty with her brother, but even that is getting better nowadays with the 2-year-old.
In other words, we haven't found any stinky surprises on the living room carpet lately, though we experience setbacks still on the route to the land of dry pants.
Also the 5-year-old is not at that stage where helping is a burden, but we expect that stage as well. That stage when they realize complaining about a chore is a whole lot easier than doing the chore.
That's not a stage we are looking forward to.
Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or email@example.com