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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The firstborn

Studies have been conducted and books written on the subject of birth order and how it shapes ones personality.  Even within the framework of first, middle and last born children, there are so many variables to make it hard to make judgements based solely on birth order.  Technically, I am the third of four children, making me a middle child, yet my younger sister was born 10 years after me so I was also the youngest child for ten years.  But, there is one position that stays constant...that of the firstborn.  He or she is the one who changes your life forever.  One day you are childless, and the next day you have a tiny bundle in your arms.  Whether you realize it or not, you have expectations of what motherhood will be like and that little baby will either validate those expectations or completely surprise you (that's an understatement!).

Your firstborn also has a unique role in the family.  He or she is going to be the trailblazer for the rest of the children.  Every milestone will be new, not only for him, but for you too.  You and she will be constantly learning together how to navigate the experiences that make your family what it is.  As mothers, we tend to react in one of two ways - either we're overprotective because we don't want to see our child struggle or we thrust too much responsibility on her at an early age.  It would be wise to make a concerted effort to avoid both extremes.  We have to let our firstborn develop at his or her own pace and neither hold her back or push her too soon.  It's hard enough for the poor kid anyway!

A special thank you to my firstborn daughter for setting such a good example for the rest of her brothers and sisters and for being so forgiving of my mistakes!