Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Some Pros and Cons to Being the Youngest Child in the Family

I've been processing the impending change in my status from Aunt Heo to Great-Aunt Heo, poorly. During this time, I've also been considering the multiple ways in which my entire stinking family has been conspiring to make me feel even older than I am. They're like that, you know. Smart-asses. Anyway, it seemed only fair that I would list the benefits received along the way as well as my impending early decrepitude. (I should clarify that when I say youngest child I mean "person born after her parents took about a decade off from breeding that first large batch of children.")

Pro - You're born into vast quantities of cool stuff just waiting to be discarded by older kids who've moved on.

Con - Some of that stuff is clothing your parents saved for ten years so that you could reuse it loooong after the trend had passed and looong before the clothing was retro-chic.

Pro - Extra adults or adult-like beings who will guide you like a parent when you want guidance.

Con - Extra adults or adult-like beings who will guide you like a parent when you don't want guidance, and will often give conflicting orders. (Like the time when I was 5, and I managed to get yelled at about 17 times in a half-hour for not getting/not putting away the milk. Then yelled at again when they realized I had been getting/putting away the milk for the past half-hour and didn't say anything. Then yelled at again for being "ridiculous" when I informed them that I tried to tell them others wanted/did not want milk out, and they told me to do as I was told NOW and not to make excuses.)

Pro - By the time you're into going places, there are many licensed drivers to take you where you want to be.

Con - By the time you're into going places, there are many licensed drivers to check up on you.

Pro - That kid in fourth grade who bullied everyone into doing what he said because his big brother was in high school and could beat them up eventually gets to you. You calmly inform him that your big brother is a Special Forces Marine on loan to a friendly South American government, training their military. Fourth grade bully turns pale and runs away.

Con - Fourth-grade bully's father informs him that it's illegal for adults to beat up children, but doesn't correct his bullying, so he charges you to teach you a lesson for scaring him.

Pro - Your big sister has already taught you simple self-defense moves by 4th grade, and you flip the little shit.

Con - Having been a regular attendendee at Sunday school, and a devoted listener at feminist discussion groups since before you acquired language, you have some confused vocabulary. This becomes clear when you respond to the boy who shares your cubicle in Kindergarten that he should not either get the higher hook just because he's a boy. And boys are NOT automatically bigger than girls. AND he's a BIG CALVINIST for thinking such stupid things, anyway.

Pro - Somebody, somewhere, always knew how to figure out your homework with you.

Con - Your brothers, although now out of the house and on their own, show up to vet your dates. In good weather, they do fun things like run the hedgetrimmer along the walk (at just that crucial height) as the boy arrives. The first comment made by every boy you ever went out with before you turned 20? "So, your brothers are big guys, huh?"

Pro - You don't have to babysit your younger siblings.

Con - Some of your older siblings move back, with spouses and children, and you have to babysit your nieces and nephews, which is the least you can do "because you don't contribute monetarily to the good of the household." (Response: Cut out ads for live-in domestic help from your area. Calculate the back-pay you are owed. Tape a bill to the fridge.)

Con - Since you're stuck home babysitting anyway, you might as well babysit even more children.

Pro - Nothing is as great an argument for carefully avoiding parenthood than regular responsibility for a batch of about six small children at a time.

Pro - There's always somebody around to reach stuff on the top shelf, even though they call you short because you can't do it yourself.

Con - It's perfectly possible to grow up into a 5'10" woman with a Napolean complex.

6 comments:

Dr. Virago said...

Good lord, *Great* Aunt Heo?? My nephew is (quickly does the math in her head) 28 and my eldest niece is 24, so they clearly *could* be parents, but the thought of those two reproducing right now sends shivers down my spin. Still, you made me realize how clearly possible it is for *me* to be a Great Aunt.

>shudder<

Dr. Richard Scott Nokes said...

Your brothers only ran the hedgetrimmer? On one sister's first date, my father and I were cleaning guns and sharpening knives at the kitchen table when the boy arrived.

Heh heh. I can still see the look of terror-trying-to-play-off-as-cool on his face.

Ron Sullivan said...

Pro - Nothing is as great an argument for carefully avoiding parenthood than regular responsibility for a batch of about six small children at a time.

This works for the oldest sib, too. Don't get me started.

HeoCwaeth said...

Dr. V. - Sorry about that. But, then again, if I have to suffer, everybody suffers.

Dr. Nokes - I don't know. Is an implied threat to kill a teenaged boy worse than an implied threat to let him live after you've removed his business district?

This post was NOT an endorsement of violence, just to be clear.

Ron - My eldest sister and I have discussed this as well. Although she had the opposite reaction, I think. She figured she was taking care of kids anyway, so she might as well get married and have one of her own.

sex shop market said...

It will not succeed as a matter of fact, that is what I consider.

Anonymous said...

I'm now 61 and being called passive/aggressive by my siblings for just saying NO. They don't respect my opinions, allow my input, say I can never grow old, (Peter Pan complex). I just had HUGE fights with two of my siblings for saying no. We have resolved our differences with my sister, however my brother bullied me as a child and still tries.