17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Birth Order

When I was pregnant with my first baby I had a dream...it went something like this:

I was in a store and I had two kids. One was 3ish with curly red hair, the other was about 18 months old, walking with very blond hair. The two girls were my daughters, but the younger of the two was the one I was carrying in my belly. The message I got from the dream was that I would have two daughters, and their personalities would be such that they exhibited opposite birth order characteristics...meaning the second child would be more like a first-born, and the first child, more like a second-born child.

I have not formally studied birth order, merely observed it in my own family and others...and I have to say that that dream was the only one I have had that was similar to, if not definitely a revelation.

I have two daughters, and their personalities are just like the dream told me they would be. The only wrong thing about the dream was the red curly hair...but I mean HEY it, was a dream...and I am a big ANNIE fan.

My DH and I are both first borns. This combination is both dangerous and comforting. We get each other, and we also clash at times. I was the only first born in my family growing up...Dad (#2), Mom (#3)...so with 6 of us in the house (4 kids, 2 parents), I made decisions all the time....which ride should we go on next, what should we eat, where should we go, what movie should we see...etc....I was quick to decide, so everybody went along with it. I became the boss in certain situations.

I am still bossy. I am an independent thinker, I am, as my DH calls me: THE IDEA GUY. Daughter #1 has a great imagination, but most of her ideas are morphed from someone else's original ideas. Daughter #2, though only 18 months old, is FAR different from big sis at that age. She is very independent, self-assured and strong willed. She likes to imitate big sis, but overall has a lot of originality when it comes to her playtime and expressiveness. Often I see her older sister just staring at her, in awe of what she is doing or what she has come up with in that moment.

Many times, lil sis is leading big sis into all sorts of mischief: Hey, let's dance on the coffee table! Hey, let's stand on top of Daddy's guitar and jump off! Hey, let's stuff bananas in our mouth! Come on, let's color on the floor! Hey, let's climb up on your bed and then fling ourselves over the headboard onto the wooden floor below...don't forget pillows to cushion our fall! And big sis just goes right along with it. Except for this one: Hey! Let's put our favorite stuffed animal in the toilet!

Even though my little one is exhausting...(she is physically and mentally unable to sit for more than 12.5 seconds), I like that their stereotypical birth order traits are reversed. It makes for a more even playing ground for the two girls, and there is more give and take between them then I think I allowed between my siblings and me.

Thoughts anyone?

Additional Reading


  • Actually, I think your daughters are exactly as birth order indicates.

    My oldest is a pleaser --as was I (an oldest child). My second is just like your second child (and a girl, as well).

    I really think second children tend to be more into mischief because that's how you get mom and dad's attention. First born children tend to want to be pleasers (even though they can be leaders at the same time) because they want to keep mom and dad happy (and thus take away attention from younger siblings).

    Anyways, that's what I always got out of those birth order articles/books....although I'm not trying to say your dream was wrong --I've had my fair share of dreams (kind of spooky, really) about my kids that have come true....
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 10/17/2006 07:33:00 AM  

  • Oh, some days what I wouldn't give for my first child to be a pleaser :)
    posted by Blogger Gina at 10/17/2006 08:33:00 AM  

  • I agree with Cheryl. I am an oldest child as well. I can often remember times where I have stared at my siblings "in awe" but it was because I thought what they were doing was so dumb...haha. It wasn't that I was amazed at their originality. Sometimes I was amazed at their ideas and I would join in the fun but I think oldest children are generally more cautious. Just because I wasn't always the one to come up with the sneaky games didn't take away from my authority as the oldest child or my own originality. My Grandpa Mortensen used to always tell me that the oldest child was given more brains to help protect and watch-out for their sometimes not so smart siblings....haha. Got to love the wisdom of grandpas. My problem is sometimes I think I have more brains than my parents...oops!
    posted by Anonymous Mia Mortensen at 10/17/2006 08:57:00 AM  

  • I also agree with Cheryl. I am a first born, too (so is DH actually). My sister and I are VERY similar to the way you describe your two girls. The only thought I have is that there aren't any siblings for us first borns to rebel against when we are little. I think there are definitely some similar traits in people when it comes to birth order, but SO MANY THINGS shape us in becoming who we are by the time we are adults. It is interesting though to look at these little ones and observe what birth order may have to do with their budding personalities.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 10/17/2006 09:10:00 AM  

  • p.s. I wanted to also add that my DH is also a first born, but the characteristics of first, second, and third in his family is quite different, since each child is nearly 4 years apart in age. I think that might have something to do with it, too.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 10/17/2006 11:07:00 AM  

  • the way you describe interaction in your family of origin is strikingly familiar. Interestingly, I am #1, my parents, like yours were a 2 and a 3.
    posted by Blogger cchrissyy at 10/17/2006 12:32:00 PM  

  • I think Birth Order is so interesting and can be factor in shaping identity. A few months back there was a great article in time called " The New Science of Siblings and it discusses how siblings have a tremendous impact on our development.

    My husband and I are both first born and we are both very independent and always trying to please everyone. It makes for a very productive, but sometimes exhausting combo. I do love the energy of our relationship.

    I think you can make generalizations about birth order, but after seeing my children I have come to realize that HF gives children the individual characteristics they need to contribute to their family.
    posted by Blogger trimama at 10/17/2006 12:59:00 PM  

  • I too am a first child, and it has come out in being too perfectionistic, unable to accept defeat, always trying to acheive something. I married and 4th and last son out of 5, almost like my mom, who was the oldest and married a baby. Both of us are more bossy than our spouses. We like to have control, our spouses go with the flow. We also are somewhat more critical and less accepting than our spouses.

    There are indeed some things that "fit the stereotype" but with 4 younger sisters and 1 brother it really in fun to see everyone's parts in the family come out. Our middle sister FITS THE BILL! She's the peacemaker, and is comepletely self maintained. Our last 2 siblings are SO SPOILED! Nearly everything they want is no prob for mom and dad. But then again, I can see how my parents have learned and how they have parented in some ways better than I was because they know more now.

    I have always thought birth order things were interesting too, I guess it makes sense. My daughter is totally a first born. Bossy, perfectionistic like me. But very creative and interested in details. Her brother is easy going and chill. He's always the first to say, "Sorry" and is so thoughful. He pretty much does anything she tell him to!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 10/17/2006 07:44:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home