The Art of Birth Order

Here is Arun, a day before he turns 9-months old. Yes, that is a cone with a ‘baby’ scoop of chocolate ice cream in his hand that he is happily devouring. Our eldest, Nishad, now 2 1/2, never even got so much as a puppy-lick of ice cream until he was almost 2 years old. The first cake Nishad tasted was on his first birthday. Arun had a little taste of Daddy’s 10-year Anniversary cake last Saturday. And juice for Nishad? Eek! Never! We started letting Nishad have juice on occasion recently as well.

Beyond food, there are more ‘interesting’ occurrences. Nishad was simply expected to hold his own bottle- and he did so by the time he was 8 months old. Arun has no interest to hold his own bottle! Nishad started drinking from a cup (not a sippy-cup, but the real thing) and holding his own spoon and ‘feeding’ himself at 9 1/2 months. Though we have a few weeks to attempt that transition, I have a feeling that Arun simply put, as no interest. Nishad said “Mama” by 4 1/2 months and “Dadda” by 6 months (and addressed us correctly). Arun still only says, “Dadda” and a few Hindi words. Though lately he clucks little a chicken and flaps his arms up and down. I think I spent way too much time showing him the birds at the zoo. Nishad was rolling over at 3 mos., sitting up by 4 1/2 months, crawling by 5 and walking (a stable walker!) at 8-months. Arun, well, he crawls and cruises and though I know that he will be walking before long…it is interesting to make these mental notes of milestones.

I had it ALL wrong. I thought the “BABY” of the family was showered with attention…as I was. I’m finding that the first born is really where it’s at! Undivided attention…Two parents for one baby! Arun has already missed out on baby swim class, baby gymnastics and infant-parent Montessori class- all things Nishad did from the time he was 4 months old.

The process of being pregnant was amazing and inspiring to me- and I find that rearing our boys is no different. It’s amazing how we can share DNA and yet be so different with our personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes. I personally think I got the better deal of my other siblings! (ha.ha) I feel I got the best of both my parents! Now, my siblings view on that may differ- but hey, blame it on DNA.

My sister Deborah is 12 years older than me and from my mother’s first marriage, which was annulled. My brother John is 10 years older than me. One reason why I wanted to have our kids with a 2 -3 year age difference is because I grew-up having siblings that were all out of the house, married and had a family of their own by the time I was ready to interact and enjoy their company. Growing up seemed as though I was more like an only child, instead of the youngest. We took a lot of family trips with just me and often my parents would let me invite a good friend to take with so I would have someone to play with.

Often my brother and sister would whine, “We never got to do what she is doing!” Or, “The sun always shines above Beverly- She never does anything wrong.” I’m starting to piece the puzzle pieces together of birth order and why they may have felt so jolted.

My parents never physically hit me in order to discipline me either. Instead, they talked things out with me and we “discussed” my choices. Sometime, I just wanted them to spank me and get it over with! I know this wasn’t true with my brother and sister though. My parents spanked them all the time. I recall my nose against the door, with my eyeball glued to the keyhole crying and begging my Dad to stop spanking my brother and sister over something they did.

I honestly think seeing that put the fear of God into me and that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow as a kid and teenager. I also think that witnessing first hand the upset that my siblings caused my parents made me never want to upset them and hurt them. My parents were big on learning from their experiences, but maybe, just maybe they shared a little too much with me- or maybe I was a little too young to hear what they shared.

My parents told me that my siblings had every opportunity that I did, but they choose not to pursue anything. I was the one taking dance lessons, involved in theatre, art classes, competitions, etc. I felt like their prized possession. As all children should…but my parents definitely doted on me more than my other siblings. I’m not sure why…or if it was because I was they baby and they had me when they were older. Older in their eyes at least. My Mom had me at 31 years old. The same age I was when I gave birth to Nishad. In today’s terms, 31 isn’t old to have a child at all.

Instead of my siblings having issues with me and taking out their aggression on me, in specific, my sister- they should have confronted my parents about it… not me. I was just a child. I hope and pray that Nishad and Arun never feel like one is favored over the other. As a rule, we “are a peaceful house.” This being that the world is already so tough out there. Home is a refuge. If you can’t feel safe, secure and extraordinarily confident at home, where else and how can you feel safe, secure and confident? I hope they grow into people that they both respect and enjoy sharing in ones company. Observing the love they already share, I am confident that they will be not only ‘good’ brothers, but ‘great’ buddies.