Who has it better?
Oldest sibling vs. youngest sibling
I am the oldest sibling in my family with one younger brother who is two years younger. Growing up, I loved being the oldest sibling. Having a baby brother meant just that, he was my baby doll and I treated him exactly like a toy. I would even cram him into my baby doll strollers and push him around the house. I was so proud to be the “Big Sister.” I wanted to teach my brother everything I learned.
I would spend countless hours playing a game I made where I would try and teach him all the things I learned in school. I always became so frustrated when he didn’t know how to do the math I could. Little did I know that a four year old couldn’t add like a six year old could.
I also credit myself for all the things he learned at an earlier age than I did. It didn’t matter that he was three, I was going to make sure that he was the first three year old to ride a bike without training wheels.
Being the oldest also usually meant that I was the first one to test the limits with our parents. Again, I credit the fact that my brother got in less trouble than I did because of me. Think about it, he learned from all of the mistakes I made. If I got in trouble for coming home at 11:01 PM instead of 11:00 PM, he made sure that he would come home at 10:59 PM.
But eventually, I started to hate being the oldest. It was so irritating knowing that everything that my parents had let me do once I was “old enough,” my brother go to do at a younger age. I was only allowed to walk to Encina after school in 8th grade, my brother got to in 6th. I guess because I survived the three block walk, he could make it at an even earlier age. Parents learn that since the first child survived, the second child must also be able to survive, but why not see if that can do it at an even younger age.
Lastly, I credit myself for making him the tough individual he is today. Yes I was a girl, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t like to beat him up from time to time. My parents always told me that one day I would regret all the times I decided to pick a fight with him because one day he would be bigger than me. That day has finally come and his 5’11 frame towers a whole six inches over my head. Let’s just say he definitely made up for all the times I picked on him.
In the end being the oldest sibling has it perks. We’re the siblings that get to do things: we’re the first to lose a tooth, the first to learn to ride a bike, the first to get our license, and the first to graduate. It is also our job to make sure that we prepare our siblings to fend for themselves in the harsh reality of the world, and I feel as though I have completed my duties to the best of my abilities.
When I was little, I desperately wanted to be anything but the youngest child. Being the baby was very difficult, especially since I only had brothers. I had to endure years of harassment and tricks. But as I aged, I began to understand why it is best to be the youngest.
Growing up, my brothers could be ruthless. The amount of bruises I had from punches and kicks, red splotches from Indian Burns, and scars from God knows what else, were uncountable. Yet all of those have turned me into a stronger person. In addition to the bumps and bruises, I developed a great sense of humor. Every time they hurtme, I decided to laugh instead of cry (on most occasions), no matter how bad it hurt. Apparently, I’m not the only youngest who shakes off the roughness of older siblings.
Dr. Kevin Leman is a psychologist who has been investigating birth orders and what they have to do with one’s personality since 1967. He states in his published writing that the last born is said to be easy going, fun loving, and attention seeking, the middle child has a large friend circle, a bit rebellious, and a peacemaker, while the firstborn is structured, cautious, and controlling. However, I don’t need a professional to tell me all of this.
Even though my brothers would tease me, I came to learn that deep down (I mean deep, deep down), they really cared for me. They showed it by teaching me how to wrestle, how to play football, how to do tricks on the Razor Scooter, and how to be fearless. Together, we created such fond memories of playing tag, bug hunting, and playing the Imagination game. I became tough because of them. They also showed me important survival skills like setting sticks on fire, how to hunt for worms, and play poker. On my first day of high school, I almost face planted thanks to my brother trying to trip me in the halls. I knew that that was his way of showing me that he was here for me.
Being the youngest, I always had to prove myself and show them how tough I could be. I couldn’t wait to tell my brothers about my first yellow card I got from soccer when I was seven. I got mad in Tee Ball when the other seven-year-old boys wouldn’t make double plays. When I broke my arm, I couldn’t wait to get a cast just like those my brothers had worn.
Thanks to my older brothers, I was the only girl who made it on the Peanut League All-star Team; probably from the hours I spent shagging their baseballs. In preschool, I made a lot of guy friends because the only activity I wanted to participate in was digging up worms outside with them, instead of playing dress up with the girls. They also helped by expanding my vocabulary with words that were probably not appropriate for my age, which I then would proceed to teach them to my friends.