Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Third children are the best...

Third children are the best!  This is what my sister says whenever Baby G (forthwith renamed Youngest G due to being 1 today) does anything cute, clever, precious or indeed precocious (which is quite often to be honest).  Needless to say, this comment is not being made by my older sister.  But it does give me reason to pause and reflect - just how much of who Youngest G is growing up to be is influenced by her familial position?

When ever I take G to a "Mummy and me" situation where there are other little people, I find myself permanently saying "She's a third child" and giving an apologetic grin.  Numerous situations will bring on this response, but they usually fall into one of 4 categories:

1. Their child cannot do that:
G is forever doing something that a first baby (or second child without a much older sibling) would just never have been exposed to - like drawing. G thinks its her god-given right to draw all the time - her sister's do it, so why shouldn't she?  I'll probably have to take her stationary shopping soon.  She is also busting to start gymnastics and ballet, and will sit between her sisters doing the straddle position (with the ridiculous flexibility of a baby, making her look like a potential Olympian) and attempting to get ballet shoes on her feet. She plays with Zhu-zhu pets, knowing how to make them make the infernal noise, and attempts to dress and undress barbies.  She's not more advanced than other kids who are only interested in rattles and stacking cups - sh's just a third child.

2. She is doing attempting to do things herself they still do for their child
G has a very strong sense of "I will SELF!" (a phrase stolen from one of my friend's third children - G does not speak, see no. 3).  She is already attempting to dress herself, put her own shoes on, brush her own hair and teeth and put on her own seat-belt.  Please note I said attempting, she cannot actually do any of these things, but screams and shouts when you do them for her.  She stopped eating baby food at about 9 months - she will only eat exactly what we are having, down to the pesto and garlic.  She will also not sit in her highchair unless it is at the table with the rest of the family. In the photo below she is on a stool (strapped in, I'm not that bad a parent) at the breakfast counter feeding herself her lunch. She will not be fed, don't waste your time trying.  And please note that she will not pick up that plate and attempt to wear it as a hat. Big girls don't do that, so she won't.

I'm pretty sure Eldest K was not allowed out of her high chair until she was 2, or allowed to reach the bowl for at least another 6 months. She may well have been able to do this at 12 months, but no one gave her the opportunity - I was far too worried about what might go wrong, or the mess she might make.  I don't think it even occurred to me that she might have the ability to feed herself. But G - she will SELF - third child. So other peoples' first children sit having their liquefied organic baby food fed to them in their portable highchairs, or strapped in their prams, while mine butt-shuffles across the room with an olive in one hand and a ham and pesto sandwich in the other...

3. She doesn't do things their child can do
But, and this is a big but, while G will do somethings self, there are plenty of things she refuses to do self - she has an army of slaves to do these tasks for her.  Like hold her bottle - she just refuses to do this herself.  She scoots up to one of her sisters, holds up the drinking vessel and gives them the look.  Sort of Bambi crossed with Britney Spears  - innocent and manipulative at the same time.  They whip her onto their laps and hold it for her, no matter how many times I tell them not to.  She was the latest of the three to roll or move.  Even now she has only just starting pulling herself up, she is not cruising or walking.  She likes to just sit and point and hey presto - someone brings the desired item to her. She also doesn't speak.  Her sister's always know what she wants.  So all the other kids at the Mummy and me groups are totally kicking her butt at most milestones, walking past her supported by their mummy's fingers and saying "mama" or "biscuit", while G sits in the middle of the circle practicing her good toes, naughty toes.

4. She knows how to play a crowd.
G loves to be the centre of attention, at all times, and is already a master.  Example - at the Slimming club I go to, no matter how exhausted she is, she will not sleep in the buggy like all the other babies - noooooo.  She wiggles and worms so much that I eventually let her out, and then she's off.  Shuffles right to the front of the room, and sits on the floor next to the lady running the group.  Every time we clap for someone's weight loss, G claps too. So all the old grannies (its a morning group - there are only old grannies, SAHMs and WFHMs) stop paying attention to whoever has magnificently lost weight, and coo and gurgle at G.  She rewards them with her biggest heart meltingest smile and repeats the performance, possibly with a squel thrown in for good measure. She'll let anyone pick her up and tell her she is gorgeous. She does high fives on cue already.  Even when we go shopping she sits in the buggy waving at all the people we pass. So they all stop and talk to her. Out comes the million pound smile again.  She is like Robbie Williams, Russel Brand, or indeed my own younger sister - any attention is good attention! The world is her stage and she is here to entertain it - ready or not...

What would she have been like as a first or second child?  Would she still be a born entertainer? Would she be able to walk yet? Who knows? Personally (sorry Darwin)  I think both nature and nurture come second to familial positioning.  Everything about my monster is due to her being the third.  Or did I make it that way?

Happy birthday Miss G - stop growing up quite so fast please, you are my last chance baby XXX