My younger son was mad at me- "You could have taken ME out of your tummy FIRST!" "I wanted to be a big brother, but now I will ALWAYS be the younger one!" "Put Bhaiya (big brother) back into your tummy and get ME out first." he demanded. I said, "Your honor! Being your mom I enjoy some influence but I cannot decide the sequence of my babies." Disappointed, he asked, "Okay, so in how many years can I catch up to Bhaiya (big brother)?" "Never hon, for he will always be two years ahead of you. When you grow, he grows as well," I explained.
It was a bitter realization for my little munchkin that age is one area where he could not compete and win. His big brother was a born winner (literally) in this contest.
Being the youngest sibling myself I could identify with my kid’s feelings. To be born first gives some advantage to the older siblings, although being the littlest in the family undoubtedly has its benefits.
So what does it mean to be the youngest?
- The elder siblings consider you as one of their standby entertainment sources. When they are bored, you are an easy target for playing pranks, picking up a fight or teasing.
- You think that to be a whistle-blower is one of your duties towards your parents, and you are super good at it. It is virtually impossible for the elder siblings to keep any secrets from you, the little devil, and this is one of the reasons that you are your parent’s favorite.
- You end up with excellent negotiation skills as the elder siblings use you to put forward their requests in front of the parents. Whether it is a demand for a dog or to go out for movies or even stay late for the night, they know who they need to use as their bait to influence the powerheads/parents. I remember doing it for my sisters and more often than not, I did not disappoint them.
- Being the youngest, you have few pictures of your childhood. By the time you came into this world, your parents lose interest in capturing the baby’s firsts or just about anything in photos. You cherish your childhood photos that even have a part of your face in them.
- You become an errand person for the others in the family-‘Go fetch an apple from the fridge.’ ‘Get me a bowl from the kitchen, or a cup of water and so on….’,and this task delegation never ends. I was an ‘in-house courier service’ for my family with no real money as salary. Good news that now the youngest can enjoy some free time with the advent of errand outsourcing apps. (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/04/concierge-app-economy.html.)
- You end up being responsible. It is because your elder siblings have already made some crazy mistakes, landed in trouble and you tend to learn from their mistakes.
- You enjoy more freedom and trust from your parents, partly because you are more responsible but mainly because they are tired of putting restrictions. By the time it is your turn, parents mellow down, and nothing surprises them anymore.
- You are the last one to be born in the family and the last one to leave home for better opportunities. It means that you are also bound to deal with your parent’s empty nest syndrome. When it the time for you to leave your parents are confronted with the reality that their house will be truly empty now.
- You become used to your elder siblings looking out for you. It makes you dependent and relaxed as someone always has your back.
- You are exposed to things sooner than your friends. Thanks to your older siblings you’ve already taken a peek at the TV shows/movies and learned some swearing words that many of your peers did not.
- You realize that your identity to the world is just not you, but as someone’s younger sister or brother. The teachers in school know you like that, so do the neighbors and the society in general. So you find it challenging to establish your individuality.
- You will always be a baby of the family. People think twice before giving you responsibilities as you always remain little in their eyes.
- It is difficult for you to establish your fashion sense amidst the constant supply of hands me down from your older siblings.
- There are always too many people telling you dos and don’t as they care about you. This overwhelming mentoring turns you into a cautious person and also may sometimes confuse you in decision making.
Though each of the birth order comes with its own pros and cons, being the youngest is not bad at all! I loved it (most of the times) being cuddled and always having someone to count on. That is my take and someday I hope my little boy would realize this too as he finds a best friend in his big bro.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://foter.com/re/61b966″>Foter.com</a>