Older child syndrome: you can’t be better, worse or the same as an oldest child

Monday, June 9th, 2014

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Being an oldest child myself, I just kind of always assumed that what I did was more important, and obviously better, than anything my siblings were doing at the time. It’s been brought to my attention over the last couple of years, from my own mother, that I was very loud about this fact as well.

Yes, my brothers would also get scrapes, but their scrapes were never as bad as the scrapes I had. Yes, they did well on tests from time to time, but it was still very obvious that I had done better on that test when I was their age and, more importantly, that I had done better on a much harder test at my own age because I was “more smarter than them.”

Well, now I listen to an older child every single day and I’ve learned that it is impossible to be any one of “more in pain,” “less in pain,” or “in the exact same amount of pain,” at any moment in time. Same thing goes with “more full,” “less full,” or “the exact same amount of full.”

So, lest you have an oldest child of your own (quick math test to determine whether or not you do: do you have more than one child? If yes, you do), or if you think you might ever come in contact with an oldest child (you very likely will), here’s a quick, but not comprehensive, list of things you are not better at than them.

Having mosquito bites

Yes, you have a few of them and if you were to just sit down and count them, you might count more on your body than they will on theirs, but that doesn’t mean you have more than them. Nor does it mean yours hurt more. No, the oldest child ALWAYS has the most and worst mosquito bites even if they appear to have none. Unless of course, the contest is about who has the fewest mosquito bites. Then you have way more but you definitely don’t have less.

Throwing a baseball

Have you ever thrown a baseball eight feet? That’s pretty good when you’re a 2-year-old. But keep in mind, a 4-year-old oldest child can throw a baseball 20 feet. Or, if they can only throw a ball eight feet, they will have thrown it straighter. Or maybe higher. Or maybe their ball went only eight feet but that’s because they threw it so high in the air. Or maybe they killed a bug with it and the bug knocked it down. What isn’t up for debate is that when you threw the ball eight feet you didn’t throw it as eight feet as an oldest child did.

Illness. Or feeling really, really good

God forbid you ever let an oldest child know you aren’t feeling well or that you think you “feel a fever coming on.” My oldest child, and I bet myself as well at some point, has had the hottest fever, the coolest fever, an eating fever, a sneezing fever, and I can Still Go To School fever, and I’ll Never Walk Again fever and a fever that is 100 100 times worse than the fever you just told somebody that you have. Yes, you may be sick, but keep in mind you’re not as sick as an oldest child. Unless you’re feeling very good, in which case you’re not feeling nearly as good as an oldest child.

Eating more food

Remember the time when you sat down at an all-you-can-eat buffet and went back to the serving area six times because you ate more than you’ve ever eaten before? An oldest child watched you do that and then went up a seventh time. Then they saw you get up from your chair to go to the bathroom but they thought you were getting another serving so they went back an eighth time. Then they saw you come back for the bathroom and worried you might be “heading back to the trough,” so they loaded up plate number nine. By the time you left the restaurant they had doubled your six plates because who knows, you might have been planning to come back once they left. Of course, if you’re talking about how much restraint you showed in eating only six plates, they actually showed more restraint because most of their plates were salad plates.

Being more in love with parents

Sometimes the need for the oldest child to be better (or worse if that’s the debate) in everything, can be used to your advantage. After a long day at work, at home, in bed, wherever, it’s kind of nice to hear kids getting into a debate over which one of them loves you more. It’s a pretty fine edge to ride knowing the which one of us hates them more is but a word slip away but having a battle fought with hugs is a great way to spend a low day.

Some of the rest

This list is, of course, incomplete, with new things popping up every single day in which the oldest child is better than you at. A few others to be aware of that I can think of right now though:

  • Washing hands/having the dirtiest hands
  • Drawing better pictures of sun and trees/being more abstract with paintings
  • Waking up the latest/waking up the earliest
  • Jumping the highest/being more susceptible to gravity
  • Brushing teeth the longest/having the most food stuck in teeth
  • Being able to swim without any help/needing more help from parents than anyone else
  • Killing spiders/letting spiders disappear under the blankets
  • Telling the funniest jokes/having the grumpiest face
  • Staying up late on Christmas Eve/getting to sleep first before Santa comes
  • Never needing to go to the bathroom/needing to use the bathroom way worse than you

4 responses to “Older child syndrome: you can’t be better, worse or the same as an oldest child”

  1. Dada Mike says:

    Ha! I thought it was just a toddler thing. I’m an only child so I assumed my youngest daughter would act that way, in turn. You nailed it!

    • Mike says:

      I can have twenty minute long talks with my oldest where she’ll admit to having the biggest cut in the world as well as having the least amount of cuts in the world. It’s amazingly amusing.

  2. Candace says:

    Sweet baby jeezus, are you watching my house? Because THIS is my oldest daughter…to a T.

    • Mike says:

      It’s become a game to see how many times I can get her to say she’s the best at completely different things.

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