Friday, October 24, 2008

Table Topics - Birth Order

I'm an only child. For those of you gasping at the horrid thought of that, it truly isn't that bad. Although I'll admit to being spoiled, it wasn't to the stage of rotten-ness. For all the good there is of being an only child there is the bad, but as Popeye would say, "I Yam What I Yam" and proud of it.

I've had lots of discussions lately with various friends and co-workers where this issue has come up. Usually it starts at someone looking at me wide-eyed in disbelief that I survived the horrible world as an only child. Some others are parents of children who confess to other mothers in my presence, "Oh don't let your child be an only" as if it was some sort of ailment. I developed quite well socially, thank you. And, if the worst thing your child encounters is being "a lonely only" then count your blessings. I've even had mothers of only children want to hug me in support of their situation that there is hope for their only children. I heard about an interesting conversation amongst a department at my workplace where the predominant element is only children or mothers of only children. We have a lot of only children that work at my company for the number of employees we have. We only children like to say that is probably because the most creative and intelligent in the world lived life as an only child. But, we're probably biased.

There are positives and negatives with every birth order. First born children are known for their strong-wills and leadership qualities. Middle born children, bless their hearts, are almost on the level with with us only children in reported dysfunction. And, those precious final born children, the babies of the brood, seem to have their issues too. As a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8, I've noticed their use of birth order with the sextuplets when heading to the doctor or other activities where everyone has to have a turn. Poor Joel is the final born and struggles with being last all the much so Kate has decided to implement reverse birth order.

I found out recently that a couple of my closest friends are expecting - Tracy and Chad, their first, and Ashley and Kyle, their third in three years (God definitely wants them to reproduce!). Immediately some people asked Tracy how many more they would have. In true Tracy fashion, that conversation is not for public consumption, but I have to say that even though I've not had children, I'd not be quick to answer that question either in the midst of my first pregnancy. Although Ashley was a bit overwhelmed at first at the thought of baby three, she quickly recovered given she's been through this twice already; what's one more? But, it did cause her to say that she'd want a fourth eventually so sweet Jane wouldn't be the middle child.

That brings us to today's Table Topic:

Do you think birth order matters? Did your birth order make a difference in your life choices?

No matter whether you are one or one of ten, I'm thankful for every life that is born. My parents tried for almost 20 years to have a child and I'm so glad they never gave up.


Brian and Cherie Landowski said...

I am the baby of 2 and I would say I follow the birth order for the baby almost exactly! My sister however doesn't completely follow the birth order for the first born. She's not much of a take charge person, although at times she can be. It's very interesting how those things seem to be right.

Revans said...

Hmm--so I should be an aggressive natural leader and problem solver with strong organizational and reasoning skills?
Maybe. Except the leadership part.
I am more book smart and conscientious than my brother. I have always been the bookish "model child" who tows the line whilst my brother got all the charisma and charm (complete with dimples!). He needed the charm to work himself out of mischief. I respected boundaries. He pushed them. I finished college and became a "responsible adult." My brother is 30 and is still searching for what he wants to be when he grows up.
I don't know how life would have been different if Rob had been born first. I don't think I would have been as coldhearted and driven, nor would I relate to adults as well. If he were older, I think he would have taken me down a notch in the domineering department.
Who knows? God saw fit to let me be born first, and I rather like it that way!

Jules in VA said...

Hey Rosie...well, we have certainly discussed this over the years, haven't we?! When I was younger, I wanted siblings, although I don't actually know why. I think I had some kind of Brady Bunch fantasy in my head of what a larger family would be like. AND I was quite sheltered from any turmoil going on in my extended family, so on the outside looking in, larger families SEEMED to be so happy and cohesive. Now that I'm an adult, I would appreciate siblings---but only conditionally. That probably sounds a tad cold...maybe it is...but there is enough drama with my extended family, in-laws, it is without adding to it with my own "imaginary" family with added dysfunction.

As far as birth order goes...the first born/leader thing certainly rings true around here. My husband is a first born--he's a career military officer, has completed coursework for a PhD, and is highly self-disciplined. I've been married to this guy for almost 15 years, and he still freaks me out with how smart he is. His little brother, on the other hand, barely got through high school, worked the same part-time job until he was about 36-39 years old, when they finally offered him full-time status.

My first born son isn't even a teenager yet, and he already thinks he is the ruler of all he sees (including me, at times :oO ).

I'm not sure where I fit in birth order. Even though I'm an only child, I was adopted. Technically, since my birth mother had twins, and I was the second of the twins, I am second in birth order...and my twin was first born. (but she passed away).

It makes more sense that I am second born because my second born son is so much like me it is freaky! Both of us are highly creative, both have issues with being self-disciplined...being organized...and the like.

All of that to say simply---there's got to be some merit to the birth order theories. :O)