Monday, April 7, 2014

Trying too hard- the family line up

According to most social websites there are specific norms for dealing with family members of varied social standing.

That is a fancy way of saying that each person in the family has their own role. My role is different than my brother's or my sister’s roles. My sil's role is different than mine too- she's an only- like the boy is. Maybe that is why he is an only- it just worked out that way for us.

Generally, most websites indicate that the youngest family members are the ones who have to be charming, good natured and try hard to be people pleasers. Sometimes to their own detriment. This article from the Huff Post is a tongue in cheek way of identifying the youngest or if you are in fact fortunate enough to deal with one- I have highlighted the points I think are relevant to the joy of being the youngest.

I love the intro from the original author and I am including it here:

"The neglected, jaded, free-range youngest sibling in a big family. I think we've done just fine for ourselves, even if our GPAs don't match up to our older siblings. I'm no Ph.D., but I have a few theories on the traits of youngest children."  

 Here are 28 signs you're dealing with a youngest child:

1. Entitled to nothing. Really. Not even a seat at the dinner table is guaranteed. (Re the dinner table - refer to #15. This depends on situation only-Let's say that the youngest generally EXPECT nothing from other people because we didn't get the entitlement gene that some other people may have inborn. This means we appreciate what we are given and are happy people have thought of us).

2. Happy to sit in the back seat of the car well into adulthood. The way, way back? Totally fine with that, too.

3. Buys used cars, second -hand clothes and "vintage" furniture. What is this thing you call "first-hand?" (People buy new? Really- wait, yes, the cuter half did send me shopping recently for a new dress....that's right this one is ALL MINE. We also garbage pick -NO FABRIC though)

 4. Will never make fiancĂ©e sit through the traditional post-engagement evening of Going Through the Family Photo Album to Look at Pictures of Childhood because there are no pictures of childhood. (Please, I made my own baby book- Mom handed me a half a dozen boxes and told me to "Do it yourself." after I got married to the cuter half)

 5. Answers to almost any name. Literally, any name. (When my Dad got mad I usually got the whole line. Starting from the older siblings, the grandkids then the house pets- dead house pets too; before the "angry moment was gone" and I was laughing too hard to take it seriously).

 6. Constantly surprises older siblings with references to "playing on the high school tennis team" or "going to college," as older siblings have no recollection of any of these events.

7. Has photographic memory of every event that happened to older siblings, including what they were wearing and what Mom yelled (No not really, I was probably trying to not pay attention to the details and just glad it wasn't me screwing up again). 

8. Rarely expects a bed at large family gatherings. Prefers futons, couches or tent in the backyard, just like childhood. ("Not I", said the little red hen, "I will go to a hotel with a king sized bed, room service and a sauna")

9. Has a record collection that includes four copies of Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees" inherited from older siblings. (I personally like “Herman’s Hermits and the Monkees)

10. Has a book collection that includes seven copies of The Catcher in the Rye and four copies of Go Ask Alice.

11. Never expects to be served first. (I think when the cuter half and I got married, maybe)

12. Does expect to do have to do the dishes anywhere, anytime, at any event. (More like has a guilty conscious and thinks that this is the way it is supposed to be- happens all the time- almost like being a robot)

13. Occasionally stuns family with competency...

14. ...But still treated like 14-year old. (Let's say 9- just for shits and grins) 

15. Pleased as punch to finally make it to the Grown-Up Table in mid-thirties. (NOT relevant- still haven't gotten to the "grown up table" the cuter half hasn't gotten there either See #1)

16. Personal motto: I wasn't born yet.

17. Will never bore you with stories of family trips to national parks because the car wasn't big enough for the entire family, if you know what I mean.

18. Barely got a word in edgewise until age 15. Now a very good listener. (Ergo #27- lying low and not making too much noise unless required)

19. Enjoys being decades younger than siblings in adulthood. Really, really enjoys it. Like not in a healthy way. (This is a big bonus believe me).

20. Leaves the room when older siblings reminisce about "the Christmas we all got new skis."

21. Keeper of all the family high school yearbooks for some reason.

22. Thrilled at spacious college dorm room and awesome bunk bed.

23. High levels of proficiency in laundry, sandwich-making, entertaining oneself and waiting. (I went to banquets with my parents because I wanted to eat and I didn't want rice and beans at home-banquets were not fun, it was NECESSARY)

24. Large vocabulary. (Much more loquacious than one would realize)

25. Never even reaches for the remote. Why bother? (There is a remote? Wow- If I wanted to watch something I usually had to take the portable TV to my bedroom and pray for reception)

26. Learns from others' mistakes. (Hello- I saw what happened to you and I am not that stupid)

27. Stays under radar. (Which is why #28 is relevant)

28. Gets away with murder. (Because I learned to do #27)

Then we can move onto what the reliable Dr Oz says about youngest children:

Youngest Child 

The youngest are the individuals in the family. They're more playful, and since they have to fight for attention, they've developed a sense of humor as a way of doing that. A lot of actors and famous comedians are the youngest in the family. They tend to take more risks because they've been more protected, so they feel indestructible. They have a lot of confidence (he doesn’t know any of us- we are the most insecure of the lot- confidence/bravado), and that comes from the "watch what I can do" attitude. They're creative and can be great problem-solvers. They also have a need to "dethrone" the first-born (Nah- not worth the trouble- Firstborns can take the hits while we watch). Also, they can go out of their way to prove their individuality, since they end up with all the hand-me-downs. They are the charmers. As thrill/pleasure seekers, they can be most at risk for addictive behavior, which can range from compulsive eating and drinking to sex. (Cool, we can become addicted to sex, I will have to tell the cuter half – kidding just kidding keep your hair on)

Thinking about this youngest thing makes me realize that the boy being an only means that there will be less, or more, for him at a later time-
This is also from Dr Oz about being an Only –

Only Child 

The only children in some ways have the best of both worlds – characteristics of both oldest and youngest, leaders but also risk takers. They are also thought to be precocious. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and imaginative than other children. They also hate criticism and tend to be perfectionists (More like constantly criticized- we have a pretty thick skin). Like the youngest children, they tend to be creative and they have the same element of confidence. They prefer adult company and conversations.

They are at the greatest risk for obesity! The theory is that an overprotective caretaker of an only child may show love with food. This starts very young and may carry into adulthood. (The boy would love this but we have him on a diet- although he is getting pudgy because he refuses to exercise)

This from the Child Development web site also appears to be pretty accurate (re the boy and no one else so get your undies out of a bunch):


  • Child Pampered and spoiled (possibly).
  • Feels incompetent because adults are more capable (although he can "come up to the bat" and is generally successful when given a chance and encouraged).
  • Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special (I think insecure- special can have too many different meanings).
  • Self-centered (I think this goes with pampered and spoiled and is redundant).
  • Relies on service from others rather than own efforts (he darn well better not- he needs to get off his bazooka and do it himself)
  • Feels unfairly treated when doesn’t get own way (who doesn't?).
    May refuse to cooperate. (Uh huh)
  • Plays “divide and conquer” to get own way (yes- seen this- cuter half and I have learned to not say "yes" to anything until we touch base w/each other).

Note that these points are only relevant to the cuter half, myself and the boy. We aren’t being overtly critical ….it really is kind of funny at least from our viewpoint. That and we see a ton of Aspie characteristics with the boy and we see that our roles in the family thing has influenced the boy – although he would NEVER EVER admit it.
Check out the links and see if they work for you- we are certainly seeing some amusing characteristics......



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