Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First-born woes

One of my students announced the birth of her sister this morning. Trumpets didn’t sound, birds didn’t sing…my student wasn’t happy. Her parents didn’t pick the name she chose, and her sister “cries all the time.”

I explained that babies cry because they can’t talk, that it’s nothing to worry about, even if it’s frustrating. My student wasn’t impressed—what do I know, I only have three children and teach preschool. Her facial expression was clear—I should live in her shoes before deigning to pass judgment.

I felt properly chastened, because I have been in her shoes. I handled it by requesting my brother be returned to the hospital. When that didn’t work, I jumped up and down on him—my parents were properly horrified and had visions of teenage delinquency.

My brother survived, thank goodness, love replaced animosity and my parents were relieved their first-born wasn’t a psychopath. Life was good and two more brothers came home—I don’t think I tried to maim them…

My oldest never hurt his younger siblings, but he’s expressed many times the desire to be an only child. He also spends a lot of time looking out for their welfare, so I don’t think he really means it…

I'm just relieved that the genetic anomaly affecting my behavior didn't show up in my children. I can only hope it died out with me... But, if my children ever call me, horrified that their oldest needs military school at age three, I can reassure them that sibling love is on the way, it just takes a few years.

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