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When you're an eldest child, and your parents are both eldest children, and all four of their parents are eldest children, this is your playtime:

I don't know why Jim The Small Child Nephew's parents don't just give him his very own Excel spreadsheet for Christmas and have done with it.

Then again, one of my The Readers once emailed me about the time she watched her child methodically and without pictorial assistance reconstruct Stonehenge out of Legos in the middle of her living room, so let's just celebrate the boy's industriousness and back quietly away.

It never would have occurred to me to do something like this, as a three-year-old or a thirty-year-old. Everything I owned as a child was immediately and permanently 1) naked or 2) forever altered to play a temporary role in some Barbie-related drama, such as the Tonka Jeep which I splashed with red crayon to simulate a terrible, coma-inducing accident.

Will The Baby Nephew, fortunately, also shows no sign of following his aunt's disturbing playtime predilections. We were just remarking that he hadn't clamped onto a comfort item from infancy, and then at 18 months he had minor hernia surgery (one of those awful out-patient procedures which barely nicks the child, but leaves every adult within caring distance a praying wreck.) Ever since then, he's hauled around the baby doll and onesie we originally gave his brother to acclimate him to the very idea of infants.

Will treats the baby better than Jim did, perhaps because he somehow knows it represents him, and never allows it to go about in an unmodest state. "Baaaaaby," he says piteously when his mother lays the naked doll in the laundry room to give the onesie a much-needed washing. Perhaps he will enter fashion design. Or the FCC.

birth order at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (10)

First, I must mention that you have two awfully adorable nephews. You are gonna be in trouble in ten years.
Second, I have to say that I truly feared what my future oldest spawn would be like as a third generation eldest child, thanks for a glimpse into the crystal ball.

Hilarious, MB! We firstborns are an organized lot. (And for the record, I LOVE excel and FILING! I LOVE to file things Exactly Where They Should Be.) Jim is going to be an over-achiever - go Jim!
Hope Baby Will is just fine now. Too cute about the baby doll. Someday he will be a sensitive daddy.

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

It's called "sequencing" and my first-born son of two first-born parents does it ALL THE TIME. It seems a little Rain Main, but it's pretty cute when it includes all his dinosaurs lined up in the bathtub.

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterzaftiguous

"Perhaps he will enter fashion design. Or the FCC."

Or he could be a terrific pediatrician :-)

And Jim, wow! Little dude is really fond of "Cars". He'll be glad to know the sequel of that movie will hit the theaters in summer of 2012.

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Oh goodness. As a child I sorted and organized everything. My mom would dump a bucket of legos on the floor and I would have them lined up in color and size order in no time. I would spend birthday parties sorting endless decks of cards into order. I would get terribly upset if another child wanted to actually PLAY with the toys and therefore disturb them.

Did I mention that I'm an engineer?

(Also, just how many Lighting McQueen cars does Jim have?)

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterToni

Excellent current and former post (Jim Did). Especially the head smashing bit.

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlena

Brandon is the third child of his second born mother and first child of his second born father and yet he does the same thing with all his cars. He even knows if you move them one millimeter. I can't say the birth order thing has anything to do with it.

Emily on the other hand is the youngest and always had to fight the big kids for her toys. She carries her dolls everywhere and her purse but she carries a watergun and her cars in her purse. So, it is hard to explain her.

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle

[...] Stone Cold Structure Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2008 by MB When you’re an eldest child, and your parents are both eldest children, and all four of their parents are eldest children, and the power goes out for days and days, this is your playtime: [...]

September 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStone Cold Structure « B

[...] off in search of less freaky forms of entertainment.  I tailed him.  He stooped to collect his plastic child, then flung himself into his favorite chair and demanded a viewing of Charlie Brown.  He was [...]

October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWorst. Aunt. Ever. « Blo

[...] do when he’d do things like rush at me with his doll, saying, “Aunt Beth, will you hold me and Baby?”  I was at this point legally required to hold out my arms, call him Baby Will, and [...]

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