My husband and I were going through stuff in my closet when he came across our son’s baby book. He looked through it and said, “Hey, you didn’t finish your sentence.” “What sentence,” I inquired. “The one where you started writing all the hopes and dreams you have for him and you stopped mid sentence.” I peered over his shoulder to read what I wrote. “Huh, so I did,” “Well, why didn’t you finish it?” “I meant to, but got busy and forgot.” “You could finish it now if you want.” “I can’t remember what I wanted to say 23 years ago. My memory’s not that good.” “Yet you remember everything I’ve ever said that was wrong.” “Oh, shut up.” “Besides what were you so busy doing you forgot to write in his book?” “Oh, I don’t know, maybe being a mom and having a third kid.” “Did we get a book for our third and last one?” “Probably not, if we did, I forgot where we put it.”

“So, we have one completed baby book for our first born, one half completed book for our middle child and none for our last, the baby.” “You got it.”

Not only did our first born get a completed baby book which documented mundane things such as the first time she blinked, but she also got the undivided attention from young, patient parents. Since she was our one and only we were on her like white on rice. She was the stereotype of a first born and if other siblings didn’t follow – an only child.

A sibling came along four years later. We loved him. We adored him and were grateful for him as his sister now had somebody besides us to play with. He relieved the pressure. With a second born you’re more relaxed and not so, shall I say, ‘anal.’ You don’t freak out and sterilize bottles and pacifiers if they hit the ground. You give it a licking with your tongue and shove it back in their mouth. You don’t worry that at 13 months they’re crawling instead of walking. You make the most of it by securing dust rags to their knees so they can crawl and sweep simultaneously.

But, more relaxed does not mean more time. Two kids mean twice the work; which is why you may forget to write in their baby book. Luckily, I know he won’t mind, because being true to the middle child stereotype he is a peace keeper. He’d rather let things go than stir up a fuss. Also, he could console himself with the fact his younger sister didn’t even get a book.

His younger sister, our baby, came along four years later. By the time we had her we went from being young parents to old parents. The baby of the family is stereotyped as spoiled and pampered. That’s not true. Parents love the baby equally, but the truth is you let them get away with stuff the others didn’t because you’re tired and old. You can fight with them over things or you can opt for peace and quiet. You can fight and make them eat their broccoli or you can sit and rest. You can fight with them about doing chores or you can sit and rest. You’re tired. You choose to sit.

You’re so tired that by the time your baby is 10 and comes up to you holding a six-pack and a carton of cigarettes and asks if it’s ok for him to indulge, you give him thumbs up. You know you should protest, but you don’t have the stamina. You sit in your recliner and rest.

So, it’s not that the baby is intentionally spoiled and pampered; it’s that the parents are old and tired. So, in reality, the baby is the happiest, most neglected kid in the family, they just don’t know it. And if everybody keeps their mouth shut, they won’t know they didn’t get a baby book.

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