WHO SAID FIRST WAS BEST?
A first child is your own best foot forward,
And how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out.
In all things in life, being first is considered the best. You win the game, you get the scholarship, you pass the test. You are a winner, that is, everywhere but in your family.
I was my mother’s first born. She had never HAD a baby before but she was pretty enthusiastic about motherhood until the last three months before I emerged. She read books about how delightful little babies are with their cute, cuddly ways and she expected me to be a bundle of exquisite joy. When, at last, I came crashing out of her uterus, I left the warm amniotic fluid that encased me and landed in a cold, hospital room. A bunch of strangers pummeled me to make me cry, cleaned me up and snipped my umbilical cord without so much as a kiss or a word of comfort.
I never got over it. And neither did my mother.
It appears that all first-born children are emotionally and physically bruised just by being first. My own mother never expected to have to deal with a crying, spitting, demanding sleepless infant. She never forgave me for her stitches, the pain, the endless labor she endured for a very questionable reward. “You almost killed me,” she said, every time she looked it me.
She may have been more verbal than most new mamas, but she was actually no different than every new parent when they have to deal with the unexpected rigor of that first baby. The crying, the diapers, the pulling at your breast…. …not to mention the terrible guilt because they are not REALLY enjoying the process.
Everyone knows first-borns seem smarter, more aggressive and more successful than their siblings. This is because they are constantly proving to their parents and themselves that they were worth the pain and suffering they caused. First-borns are usually taller than their siblings because they are the ones that have to reach up to get the dishes off the shelf to feed their little brothers and sisters. They are thinner too and that is probably because parents are always more careful to feed the first one proper food and teach them the good eating habits child care books tell them are best. I had to eat my spinach or else while my sister dined on leftover pie and gallons of pudding. The result was that she tips the scale at 400 pounds and I have yet to top 100.
All that stress and responsibly can kill a person and we now know that it actually does. Researchers in New Zealand discovered that the oldest child from the most well-meaning families suffer more heart attacks, higher blood pressure and have a stubborn resistance to insulin that makes them susceptible to diabetes. That means that the child born first will probably be the first one to go to the other side.
By the time the second kid comes along, the parents are more relaxed. They don’t really notice the germs or the squealing and besides they have the older one to baby-sit. It is the oldest child who ends up being a substitute parent to the others. He is the one who establishes the family reputation in school for industry and intelligence. Band most unfair, when he kicks off, the younger ones get the inheritance.
It doesn’t seem right, does it? That is why I now call on all older children to unite!!!! When that new little nipper comes into the house, use those brains that made you the smart one and smother it with a pillow before it gets out of line.