I was a little taken aback to read this Washington Post piece this week called “When the Youngest Asks, the Youngest Gets.” It’s basically a treatise about having a favorite child.
Although the author defends it thus: “She was my youngest. She was my last. I’d gotten a vasectomy about a year after her birth, and while I wasn’t all that keen on getting the procedure done — most men aren’t — I did it because my wife had handled the heavy lifting of birth control for long enough, and it was time for me to step up. But I didn’t realize I would start to look at my youngest and realize that I wasn’t going to have any more children and that I needed to jump on every moment.”
Two things caught me: First off I’m the youngest of five kids, and I’ve spent a lifetime of four older siblings telling me how spoiled I am. I don’t think I was so much “spoiled” as much as I benefitted from having a mom who went back to work once I was in kindergarten and so we had more money, plus my parents were generally more mellow about things than they’d been with previous kids. Guess what? This goes both ways. There are also few pictures of me, I had basically zero birthday parties, and no one actually dropped me off at college.
But I was annoyed this guy was perpetuating the spoiled child myth. Being “spoiled” is also about attention. And my milestones didn’t get the same attention. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me—it’s just the pros/cons of birth order that I think mostly net out.
But I do think his rationale of “it’s the last time” when you know it’s the last time is interesting. For a while I thought of Evie as my “middle child.” Five years of trying to have another kid have made me think of her as my baby. And that probably has changed how I cling and how I parent a bit.
The biggest thing that surprised me about this piece was that this guy wrote it under his name in a huge national magazine, and it will forever be there for her older siblings to see! So if you want to discuss this topic and NOT have your name on it, go to this anonymous thread now…
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Do you have a favorite kid? Did your parents have a favorite?
- Looking to connect with other security engineers and tools they use. I’m returning to an engineer role and feeling the impostor syndrome hit pretty hard.