Loving Life as the Last Born

 In Seriously?

You know who really has it good in this world? The Last Borns.

Don’t try to deny it, Last Borns. No one believes whatever sob story your mind is trying to concoct right now. You just want attention.

Because that is what Last Borns do! And no one knows this better than mal- adjusted Middleborns like me. We have had to be happy with our lot in life. Caught in the middle of the overanxious but excited parenting of the first child and the laid back, indulgent parenting of the youngest child. We are the ones with only a couple pictures in the photo album.

I know all this, so imagine my surprise to learn that my own youngest born fit the stereotype to a T. Apparently, I have fallen into the same trap other parents have. I am guilty of enabling.

How and when it occurred, I am not sure but I vividly remember the moment when I realized it. I was running errands and running late (as always) and called to ask my youngest to start the hamburgers. When I got home, I lugged thirteen bags of groceries onto the kitchen table and looked up at my fifteen year old who was not making hamburgers at all. She was leaning on the counter texting.

“I thought I asked you to start the hamburgers.”

She proceeded to explain to me that she was unable to do that because they were not- and I quote- in circles.

Not in circles? Seriously?  I had raised a fifteen year old who was unable to form hamburger patties?

Then I remembered the time she phoned me at work to ask if we had any ketchup in the cupboard. I found myself actually entertaining the question, but then I stopped myself.

“Wait. Where are you?” I asked.

“I’m home.”

“Well then why don’t you look in the cupboard?”

“Well I was going to, but I figured why look if we definitely don’t have any.”

“So you thought it was better to call me at work?”

“Well, yeah. Why? Were you busy?”

According to research,  the Last Born

  • Feels every one bigger and more capable.
  • Expects others to do things, make decisions, take responsibility.
  • Becomes boss of family in getting service and own way.

Whoa. That sounded a little too familiar.

But it had to stop! I needed to make her less dependent on me or I’d wind up with a kid with stellar SAT scores who was baffled by the directions on the back of the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box. I began a concerted effort to correct the error of my ways and make her more independent. She balked at most of my attempts, but jumped on board this spring when it was time for her to learn to drive. Apparently, this is the one thing she doesn’t need me for.

“Can I drive?” she asked the other night when we were heading out to a restaurant.

I started to say “yes,” but then noticed the dusk gathering outside. It was eight o’clock and daylight was fading fast. I suggested maybe it was too dark, but she objected.

“Mom, it’s not like I don’t know how to use the highlights.”

Yeah. She still needs me.



Featured Image: http://www.betterparenting.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/youngest-spoiled.jpg


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Showing 2 comments
  • Jennifer Hanno

    Wait a minute…Are there Runges with straight hair? Where?

    I’m joking, of course, but I do think you are right; so many intricacies in family dynamics in large families, but such great stories to share!

    Thanks for chiming in!

  • Matthew

    Haha, middle-child syndrome gets out of hand when there are ten middle children. The Runge family has practically invented new symptoms of middle-child syndrome, such as twin envy, straight hair envy, and blonde hair envy, rather than the usual first/last born child envy. I think studying the intricacies of large families rivals that of studying international politics, and is enough to provide teams of psychologists work for decades.

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