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Jul 18

The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger

I read this book last night.  Literally last night (I read it in one sitting) – because it was that good.  I thought it was absolutely fascinating, reading it not just as a mother of three and stepmother of two, but also as the oldest of four and stepsister of two.  My sibling situation mostly just makes me sad – with two brothers, a sister and two stepsisters, the only one I talk to with any regularity is my youngest sister.  So on the one hand, I thought it was fascinating to learn about the effects of favoritism (perceived or otherwise) and being the oldest child of a single parent and the impact it’s had on others in that situation.  But on another level, it was just fascinating to read about it as a parent.

There was information about birth order, which is a topic that I love learning about.   Especially because not only am I a stereotypical oldest child, but because my kids are not stereotypical at all.  Jessie, in particular, seems to blend both the oldest and the middle child characteristics – which, being both my oldest and Marc’s third, is exactly what she should be.  Sam is not really a typical middle child, but I think being the only boy, not only of my three, but also being the only boy of Marc’s five, has had a major impact on that.  He’s got a lot more of the oldest child characteristics.  And Julie – she seems to blend the middle/youngest child tendencies.  She’s the easiest of all of my kids (although that might be age related, she has been a breeze from the very beginning), but she’s also got that goofy, entertainer quality.  She’s very used to performing on command for them.

Another chapter I really loved was the one on favoritism.  I really don’t think I have a favorite.  Or rather, I’m pretty sure that I do have favorites, but it changes all the time, and at any one point, I can make a compelling reason as to why each one would be my favorite.

Jessie is my oldest, and in many ways, the most like me.  She’s all drama and emotion and I understand her on a fundamental level.  There’s an enormous bond between us, and even when she’s pushing all of my buttons, she’s still my heart.  She’s a part of me.

Sam is my boy and the one that reminds me the most of Marc.  He’s my cuddle bug, and the one who’s relationship with me is probably the purest and most sincere.  He loves his dad, but I’ve never, not for a moment, ever doubted that I’m his absolute favorite person in the world.

Julianna is my gift.  She’s my easy baby, the one that looks the most like me and the one that consistently surprises me with how content and peaceful she is.  She’s funny and sweet and pouty and adorable, all rolled into one.

So each one is my favorite, for different reasons and at different times.

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