Susan Vollenweider: What’s the best spot in birth order?

01/29/2014 10:31 AM

01/29/2014 10:32 AM

“It’s so good to be Noah,” Luke muttered under his breath as he perceived yet another indulgence offered his younger brother. We have all said this sentence quite a bit in the past nine years, but no one more than Noah’s siblings.

It’s good to be Noah.

I’ve read a lot about birth order. It seems to pop up as a trending topic every few years. Research indicates that the order in which we are born into our families will give us insight into our personality traits. That where we fall will dictate more than only having to lug around the title of Oldest, Middle Child or Baby for the rest of our lives.

For instance: Firstborns are often leaders and perfectionists; middle children are peacemakers and people pleasers, and the last born are playful risk takers. There is more to it, and although my twin brother and I seem to have switched out of technical birth order, most is spot-on for the family I was born into.

A lot rings true for my kids, too. Rebekah the protector, Luke the playmate, and Noah the one that everyone has adored since his forever. But even birth order roles don’t stop the sibling squabbles and Mister Cuddledalot has a center stage role in those.

“It’s good to be Noah,” when he gets to play video games years before we allowed the older two to pick up a controller.

“It’s good to be Noah,” when he gets to watch PG-13 movies that we insisted they wait to watch until they were in a double digit age.

“It’s good to be Noah,” when he runs behind me for protection from a charging sib and I ask him first what happened to cause this level of fighting and defend him because of his size.

But while this phrase is often uttered in bitter tones, they have also said it lovingly. This ‘It’s Not Menopause, It’s a Baby’ child arrived when the other two were six and eight, and we all thought that our family was complete with four members. There really was no jealousy; both kids were excited to have a baby in the house, to nurture and play with, to carry around like a doll and to give them an excuse to play nostalgically with toys.

“Noah, it’s good to be you because you can have my Hot Wheels collection that I really don’t play with but am not quite ready to let out of my sight.”

“Noah, it’s really good to be you because you taught me how to be a good babysitter. Want to read another book?”

Was it good to be him when he skipped over Barney and Teletubbies in favor of whatever tween sitcom was on? Barney and his friends never stood a chance. Noah wanted to be like the big kids so he watched the big kid shows even when he didn’t really understand them.

Was it good to be him when he picked up the language of a teenage boy when he was still in kindergarten?

Is it good to be him when the older two take an action packed trip down memory lane to things they did and places they visited long before Noah entered our family?

Will it be good to be him when his favorite people, his best friends and role models move out of the house when he is just learning to be a teenager?

Yes, it’s good to be Noah, the baby. But it’s also good to be the oldest and the middle. There is no best — except to be their mom.

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