Let’s talk about birth order. Why? Because I find it fascinating, especially after my experience today.
I took my littles to run some errands, which I honestly try to avoid because it can be quite hellish, but the stars were aligned and we were all enjoying our time together. However, everywhere we went we got this reaction:
“Oh my God!!! You are SOOO cute!”
And D-Bop would say thank you, not realizing that they hadn’t even noticed him standing there, but were most definitely talking about his little sister.
It was almost like he was invisible. He literally went up to the Pharmacist in typical D-Bop fashion and said, “Did you know I have a lot of Skylanders?” And she did not even see or hear him. She continued to ring up the prescription and then suddenly exclaimed, “Oh my God! You are sooooo cute!!!” to Cookie.
I wanted to strangle everyone that did that throughout the day, but had to take a minute and step back and look at the situation from their perspective… which is that Cookie is in her “impossibly cute stage” that every child goes through somewhere between 15 months and 2 1/2, and D-Bop doesn’t look like a baby anymore. In fact, if I were to stop his 5-year-old friends on the street and ooh and aah over how cute they were, it would be a bit strange. There’s just a shift between 4 and 5 where they stop being adorable littles and turn into cute kids…and it starts getting weird to constantly tell them that.
So what are the long term effects of this?
The other day we were discussing with some friends (who also have two littles) which kid has it tougher: oldest or youngest? It was interesting because we all said, “Youngest,” at the same time, yet I have been so concerned throughout Cookie’s entire life that I had ruined D-Bop’s life by choosing to have another child (and my experience today pretty much confirmed that). What we all said is the youngest has to come out fighting to get attention. The older one got that very special time alone with two parents for years, and even though they lost that, they still HAD it. TWO PARENTS ON ONE CHILD. I mean, come on, how awesome is that? I think Mac Daddy and I have had Cookie without D-Bop around for a total of 2 hours her entire life. It’s something she won’t really ever know.
But on the other hand, she always has a buddy to play with who will help pave the way for her. She has way more toys to explore, because she has hers and D-Bop’s. She’s got a less stressed mom to deal with (I know, can you believe I used to be worse?!) because I was (and am) so much more structured with D-Bop because everything he goes through developmentally is new territory to me. By the time Cookie gets there, I feel like a pro and I’m much more relaxed with her.
So which kid really has it tougher? I don’t know that there’s a correct answer to that question. Honestly there are good things and bad things for both of them.
Good: Cookie is one tough Cookie by having a big brother.
Bad: Her big brother is pretty much always there and IN HER FACE.
Good: D-Bop has a newfound love for babies and toddlers since Cookie was born.
Bad: D-Bop is no longer seen as the baby and our expectations of his actions are sometimes higher than they should be because he seems so grown up compared to her.
(Ok, re-reading the “Goods” and “Bads” just made me realize that the “Bads” can arguably be changed to “Goods”.
Did that make sense??)
Birth order is fascinating and it is what it is. None of us have any control over it, but whether you are the oldest, youngest or middle child; or an only child or one of twelve; it really will play into shaping the type of person you become. I’m so curious to see it play out more as my littles continue to grow and develop…