Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You Have Issues

I was reading an article about birth order today.  Birth order has always intrigued me.  Maybe it's because most people I know fit the mold, to some degree, of where they fall in their family.  Maybe it's because I'm a middle child....you know, the ones who harbor deep seated issues stemming from their less than ideal position in the family.  Or maybe the scab that has grown over the memory of having my older brother hold me down, while my younger brother hit me with a stick in the face, is one that I enjoy picking from time to time.  Whatever the reason for my interest, I have selected it as our topic for the day.  Understand, beforehand, that this post, being written by a middle child, is clearly biased and fraught with bitterness, utter resentment, and unresolved anger.  With that being said, enjoy. 
      
The Firstborn.  Aren't they so responsible?  Highly motivated, overachievers, they are.  Let's pause a moment and reflect on all the firstborns in our lives and all they do for us, their inferiors.  Firstborns are really a lot like the exceptionally mature only children except their reign was cut short.  Still, they hold fast to the belief that "I was here first" and they don't appreciate your intrusion.

They're Hillary Clinton, Caroline Kennedy, Clint Eastwood, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and yes, Sadam Hussein.  Hey, listen, firstborns...I'm just reporting the facts.  Remember....this is a scientific piece.   

They're the ones your parents always left in charge until they got back from the store and, by doing so, they have since been under the impression that what the parents really meant by that was, "until your death, you will have dominion over all that walk the earth".  This leaves younger siblings across the globe to protest their whole lives, "You are not the boss of me!"  Yes, their early taste of power builds to an insatiable appetite to be in charge later. 

Even as adults, they're the ones, who the parents call when a situation of importance arises......because, after all, they're so dependable and so very wise.  If they call the middle or youngest for advice, it's likely that a pop culture question has come up on their crossword puzzle, they need to ask what channel Dancing With the Stars is on, or "I need to know where your brother is because I have some momentous banking, medical, and legal questions on which my well being, present and future, hinges."  "Oh....ok, Mom.....well, let me know if you ever need help with the border of your jigsaw puzzle or need some envelopes licked, because I'm pretty good at that, you know."            

The younger children are always getting dragged to the firstborn's awards programs. ZZZzzzz.    They're the ones the other kids in the family love to hate.   They always like to please the parents that they spent so much one on one time with before we, the insurgents, arrived.       

Imagine, for a moment, being stuck on an island with John Boy Walton, Marsha Brady, JR Ewing, Frazier Crane, and Julia Sugarbaker.  Of course, if you could endure the bossing for the first couple of days, it wouldn't be long before they would all kill each other in their quest to be in charge and then the island would, once again, be at peace.  

We have to wear their hand-me-downs....their old jackets with their name marked through and ours written neatly underneath and we even risk permanent damage trying to navigate that bar on their old bike until Santa can bring us a girl bike with a girl bar.  The rest of us have to find our own hobbies or achievements because they have already laid claim to being the best at whatever it is they do.  They're the reason teachers assume you'll be good in math, too, and they're the reason those teachers are often sorely disappointed.   They think they can intimidate you with their larger size.....threatening to bend your fingers all the way back if you tell Mom and Dad they broke the lamp.  The little Sadam Husseins.         

The Middle Child.  God bless their hearts.  If parents are busy loading the "baby" in the car to go to the firstborn's honor society induction followed by their Eagle scout banquet, they are likely to get all the way to the school parking lot before they turn around and realize something is missing......the middle child.   Middle children can easily get lost in the shuffle.  We're not the achieving oldest with the trophy case in their room and we're not the adorable baby who smiles under his pacifier while saying, "I wuv you, Mama".  No, we're floating around in that lonely abyss between the two.....the one on the hump in the backseat with scorching metal seatbelts branding GM into both thighs.

We're always being told that we're too old to act like the baby and too young to do whatever the older one is doing.  So, we are left to make our own fun....entertain ourselves.  We can be very independent....I mean, you learn to take care of yourself when, say, your parents forget to put you in the car when they go places.  And we can also be very competitive for obvious reasons....I mean we have to listen to our mothers call roll of all the children she ever knew before she finally gets our name right.  We're also extraordinarily patient because taking turns always meant, "You can go when I get finished and I'll be finished when I say I'm finished".             

Our plight was best summed up by our national spokesperson, Jan Brady......"Marsha, Marsha, Marsha".  We're Theo Huxtable, Sue Heck, Mallory Keaton, Carol Seaver, Laura Ingalls, and about 17 Duggars.   Imagine being in group therapy with some of the celebrity middles.....Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, David Letterman, Little Richard, Britney Spears, and Madonna.  You might want to pack a lunch.  No unresolved issues there.....no, sir.  Coincidentally, we're the only group to have a syndrome named after us.  So, there.          

The Baby.  Aren't they just the cutest?  Oh, I can't even handle how cute they are.  Thing is....even when they're 56, they're still just as irresistible.  Baby status never expires.  Once your mom goes through menopause or has a hysterectomy, your baby status is locked in for eternity....with all of its rights and privileges. 

I know my own mother's eyes light up when she finds out her "baby" is coming for a visit.  He's 6'1" and 39 years old but, when she looks at him, she sees a little boy in 2T overalls on a stick horse.  And when she gets the word that he's coming, her mind goes to work thinking about how many of his favorite dishes she can cram into one weekend.  "We can have fried chicken, lasagna, pork loin, garden peas, mashed potatoes, and coconut cake for breakfast and then we'll have steaks, homemade pizza, beef stroganoff, macaroni and cheese, butter beans, salad, and pineapple upside down cake for lunch....."    

By the time the baby comes, the parents are just tired.  All those rules you had......the minimum dating ages, curfews, car restrictions, etc.....well, they don't feel up to enforcing those anymore.  They're taking Centrum Silver by now.  You want to go to the beach with your 11th grade friends for the weekend?  "Well, I guess so."  You want to take the car?  "Well, you don't even have a permit yet, but I guess so".  You want to date at 11 years old?  "Well, I suppose it will be ok." 

The older kids can protest, "Hey, that's not fair", but no one's listening to them.  They're Bobby Brady, Michelle Tanner, Elizabeth Walton, Beaver Cleaver, and Rudy Huxtable for goodness sake....with their little freckles, pig tails, and adorable inability to pronounce the "r" sound correctly.   My word.....a litter of puppies, a newborn foal, a school of dolphins, and a baby monkey in a dress couldn't compete with that, so you'd be wasting your time to try.  You with your teenage acne and orthodontic headgear.  Nobody cares what you have to say, because.....let's face it......you're just not that cute anymore. 

By the time they come along the hand me downs are stained or dry rotted, the Fisher-Price barn has been sold at a garage sale, all the pieces are missing from the shape sorter except the triangle, and the string of the See 'n Say got so knotted up around GI Joe that it had to be cut......so, of course, the baby gets all new things.  Isn't that nice?     

They develop an appetite for entertaining people because they're accustomed to everyone making over them all the time.  Imagine waiting in line on Karaoke night between the babies, John Travolta, Jim Carey, Prince Harry, Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carry, Eddie Murphy, Ryan Gosling, and Billy Crystal.  You could be a while. 

So, this concludes our study of birth order.  I hope you found it to be as enlightening and factually sound as I did.     

Please, no hateful emails.

Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!  See you Monday!             






 

12 comments:

  1. well, i'm a "firstborn" and you're pretty right about us! (LOL)!! i cracked up when i read about the middle child saying "you're not the boss of me" cause i'm always telling my middle sister i'm still the boss of her and she still believes it! oh well, some things never change.

    when i was 10 my dad was retiring from the Air Force and he and my mom got an unexpected retirement bonus....twins! yep, so i got to boss them around (and still do)!

    i loved reading this joni....you did a great job analyzing the birth order of siblings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Judy! Sounds like you're the boss of a lot of people! Keep everyone in line, firstborn child. :)

      Delete
  2. I agree about the first born. My brother. That's all. Ha! Ok, so I have a twin sister and I was born first, so am I the middle child? Also we're thirteen months apart from our brother. Joni, the middle child, have a wonderful weekend too! Kathleen in Az

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my unprofessional opinion, you and your sister are both the babies. You have it made, Kathleen!

      Delete
  3. I am an oldest, but my daughter is the middle child between two boys. I love hearing your perspective and recognize her angst within the words of this post. Oh my!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being the only girl does make the middle spot a little better! She can call me if she ever needs to talk about being sandwiched between 2 males. :)

      Delete
  4. So funny! I'm a firstborn so the line about having dominion over all the earth until the end of time really got me. It is a little true! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your reign continues, Marie!

      Delete
  5. I'm an oldest and I laughed at your description! Now I have three of my own and they fit these stereotypes all too well! Haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know it's true don't you, Kristen? :) Hahahaha....you, firstborns.

      Delete
  6. You made me laugh tears this morning, I am a firstborn with 4 younger siblings the baby in the family made me laugh as not only is he the baby still at almost 30 but the only boy and was a late life baby,but I am the one mom calls then there is a problem. And as a mom of six I have forgotten the middle children more then once, and since the baby in the house is the baby by 6 years he is for sure the baby, and the one older then him was not happy to be bumped. Love your blog it has made me smile at a time that I needed to find laughter again. A little stressed with a husband living 20 hours away in a new state ( that mind you has seen temps warmer then 40, while I freeze here in the northern tundra), a daughter getting married, two sons graduating high school, furnishing a new house in a state that I'am not in ( My husband really wanted to pick out the new sofa, but never a good idea when the man thinks beige is a color), and packing a house that we have lived in for 12 years. All that to say that finding your blog and my laughter again has been a God send.

    ReplyDelete
  7. God bless you, Margery!!! Snowed in with six children. Husband 20 hrs away. Furnishing a house in another state. A wedding. Two graduations. Wow!!

    You are my new hero! My goodness, girl! I'm so happy that my little blog has given you a little stress relief. You need all you can get!

    Thanks for reading, Margery. You're so sweet!

    ReplyDelete