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Oct 02

Birth Order

I was always interested in birth order, because I’m the oldest and we’re stereotypically into weird stuff like that. I am very much a typical first born, I grew up fast, assumed a lot more responsibility than I probably needed to, and have always had a nagging feeling that my life would have been easier if I had been one of my younger siblings – especially Mandi.  For a long time, I used to say that to my mother “Next life, I’m coming back as Witch.”  

But now that I have three kids, specifically, I feel like we could be a poster family for birth order stereotypes. Especially with Sam and Julie. Because we’re a step family as well – Jessie manages to be both the oldest and middle child. I can’t tell you which one she exemplifies more, because with me, she’s SO the oldest. Very responsible and mature for her age, very hard on herself, very intellectual and intense. With her older sisters and with Marc, she’s more of a middle child, or even sometimes the youngest, fighting for attention, dramatic and kind of goofy. Because she’s the youngest of the three older girls, and the exact middle of the whole family. So she’s not that easy to pin down, but my other two are classic birth order stereotypes.

My Samilicious Boy is the middle child. Not that he can’t command my attention rather spectacularly – and as the only boy, he gets a little extra attention just for being so different from the girls. But he’s at an especially easy age, I think, and can easily slip under the radar if I’m not paying attention. Now that he’s settled into school, he’s just… easy. On so many levels…. His lunches are the easiest to pack, he likes the same thing every day, with no variety, and returns an empty lunch box every afternoon. He wears whatever he happens to pick out first, never really worries whether it matches, and is even content to go to school with mismatched socks. He’s good. He’s happy. He gets a “healing stone” (I pick them up off the street and have a revolving selection that I dole out each morning) in his pocket, a kiss and hug, and he’s out the door. No worries about packing up his homework, or if he wants salad or fruit or yogurt that morning in his lunchbox. He doesn’t even need to be nagged to brush his hair, after Marc gave him a buzz cut over the weekend. He bops home happily enough, drops his backpack and runs off to play. No drama, no fuss. He’s happy. There’s no power struggles, he’s not fighting for independence. Part of it is his basic personality, he’s a sunshiney happy kid, fiercely attached and incredibly stubborn when provoked, but for the most part, there’s no drama. He’s very similar to Marc, honest, content and easy going. Thrives on bugging his sisters, but is even happier when they want to play with him, there’s little that makes him happier than playing with his girls. He loves it when Jessie forgets that’s she’s too cool to play with him and includes him in the game, and he’ll go out of his way to make sure that Julie is happy.

Julianna is very much a typical youngest child. Firmly convinced that she’s cute enough to get away with whatever she wants (and that’s reinforced pretty consistently by the world, because everyone tells her how adorable she is), this kid thrives with attention. She loves her older siblings and all of their friends, and insists on being a part of everything. She’s charming and sweet, and stubborn and opinionated and possibly as dramatic as her older sister, and believe me, that’s a serious accomplishment. She’s funny and loves nothing more than performing for her siblings. She rolls with it more than the other two, and is certainly a lot tougher, physically – having an older brother has made her a lot more physically adventurous than Jessie ever was. She gets away with more than the other two did at that age, not deliberately, but because she is my third child. Part of it is experience,I’ve been down this road a couple of times before, I know what to let slide and when to react immediately, but part of it is just that I’ve got more kids demanding my attention. If I’m helping Jessie figure out multiplications at the same time that I’m cooking dinner and keeping an ear out to make sure that Sam doesn’t cannonball off his top bunk… it’s easy for Julie to get herself into trouble, especially if she’s quiet. 

It’ll be interesting to see, as they get older, how much impact their birth order will have. Or how perfectly their adult personalities will mesh up with their birth order stereotypes. 

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