Ah, to be the oldest child. All the attention, the new clothes, the pressure to succeed in everything all the time. Social scientists have told us lately that first-borns are actually smarter than siblings born further down the line because Mom and Dad simply spent more time with them and , frankly, cared more about their success than yours. Well, as #8 of 8 siblings, I quote Edna Krabappel and say, “Ha!”
First-borns may have the good SATS, but they also have some unfortunate personality traits to go along with their high verbal scores. My friend Lisa Belkin and HuffPo Parenting Editor Emma Mustich put together a terrific crowd-sourced list of 28 Signs you’re Dealing with an Oldest Child , complete with Awkward Family Photos.
I felt compelled to represent the other end of the sibling spectrum: the neglected, jaded, free-range Youngest Sibling in a Big Family. To that end, my list of:
28 Signs You’re Dealing with a Youngest Child
#1 Entitled to nothing.
#2 Happy to sit in the back seat of the car well into adulthood. Even the way, way back.
#3 Buys used cars, second -hand clothes and ‘vintage’ furniture. What is this thing you call “first-hand?”
#4 Will never make fiancee sit through the traditional post-engagement evening of Going Through the Family Photo Album to Look at Pictures of Childhood because there are no pictures of childhood.
#5 Answers to almost any name. Literally, any name.
#6 Constantly surprises older siblings with references to “playing on the high school tennis team” or “going to college” as older siblings have no recollection of any of these events.
#7 Has photographic memory of every event that happened to older siblings, including what they were wearing and what Mom yelled.
#8 Rarely expects a bed at large family gatherings. Prefers futons, couches or tent in the backyard. (Yup, for my sister’s Julie’s wedding at home, my parents made my brother and I sleep in a tent in our own backyard.)
#9 Has a record collection that includes 4 copies of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees inherited from older siblings.
#10 Has a book collection that includes 7 copies of The Catcher in the Rye and 4 copies of Go Ask Alice.
#11 Never expects to be served first.
#12 Expects to do have to do the dishes anywhere, anytime, at any event.
#13 Occasionally stuns family with competency.
#14 But still treated like 14-year old.
#15 Pleased as punch to have a seat at the Grown-Ups Table.
#16 Personal Motto: I wasn’t born yet.
#17 Will never bore you with stories of family trips to national parks because the car wasn’t big enough for the entire family, if you know what I mean.
#18 Barely got a word in edgewise until age 15, so a very good listener.
#19 Enjoys being decades younger now. Really, really enjoys it. Like not in a healthy way.
#20 Leaves the room when older siblings reminisce about “the Christmas we all got new skis.”
#21 Keeper of all the Family High School Year Books for some reason.
#22 Thrilled at spacious college dorm room and awesome bunk bed.
#23 High levels of proficiency in laundry, sandwich-making, entertaining oneself and waiting.
#24 Large vocabulary.
#25 Never even reaches for the remote. Why bother?
#26 Learns from others mistakes.
#27 Stays under radar.
#28 Gets away with murder.
Any to add? Can we hear from the Middle Children?
Loved Elizabeth the First Wife? Make it a Write-In Nomination for the Good Reads Choice Awards 2013. Click on the Romance category, scroll down below covers and look for the WRITE-IN slot. Many, Many thanks. Deadline: November 9!