18 May 2010

Birth Order

My parents have 9867620834697 books.  Give or take a few.  Most of them were about home health remedies or the Civil War.  Both unbearable to read, in my book.

But they had one that really intrigued me.  It was about Birth Order.  What the heck is that?

With 4 siblings, I quickly found out what it was.  Every couple of sentences I'd think, that is so Joey!  Or, that is so Angel!  It was as if someone had studied my family and written about it.

Here's the opening line from Wikipedia:

"Birth order is defined as a person's rank by age among his or her siblings. Birth order is often believed to have a profound and lasting effect on psychological development. This assertion has been repeatedly challenged by researchers, yet birth order continues to have a strong presence in pop psychology and popular culture."
So where are you in your family?  Oldest, middle, youngest?  The only child?  A twin?  See if it describes you to a T!

I'll use my family as examples.

Here's my immediate family tree.  There are 5 of us and yes, we all have the same parents!  Take notice that there is a larger gap between me and Nicholas, as well as the fact that the older ones before the gap are all male, and afterwards are all female.  Because of this, a couple of us display traits of different orders.  I'll get back to that.

First Born:  These are the people pleasers, caregivers; they're reliable and team players. They're natural leaders, driven, and always seem to have things under control.  And they most definitely want things their way. Ambitious and logical.

And here's some fun facts for you: over half of the US Presidents were first born, 21 of the 23 first astronauts, and 2/3 of entrepreneurs are first born.  (Oprah Winfrey was a first born.  So was Winston Churchill)

Now let's jump ahead to Last Born:  These are the risk takers, idealists, attention seeking, and sensitive.  They are the life of the party.  They make the biggest stirs in life and know no boundaries.

And some fun facts: Jay Leno, Howard Stern, and Danny DeVito were all the babies of their families.

Amazed yet?

Let's focus on the middle child now.  These are some delicate creatures.  Middle children are mysterious.  In all the descriptions available, it just seems that there is not pattern to the middle child.  Some are loners and quiet, others are very outgoing peacemakers.  They all long for more attention.

In my unprofessional opinion, I think middle children get the shaft of everything.  I say that because there were a few years where I was a middle child.  My oldest two brothers were out of the house and it was just 3 of us left.  I was in the middle, and Nicholas (who was formerly the middle child in the house) took full advantage of someone else having that role.  Throw that in the mix with me being in middle school at the time and life was awful!  To this day, Nicholas will snicker about those years.  That's a middle child for ya.  They're mysterious.

Fun facts: Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump were middle children.  (I like that each one can use their own distinct ways to become really successful)

Let me stop for a minute.  Remember a few paragraphs ago when I said I display some traits from different areas?  Well, even though I was close to being the baby, I have never really showed any of those traits.  I know my boundaries and I'm NOT the life of the party.  More like a buzzkill.  More like the older child.  Why?  There's a large gap between me & Nicholas.  5.5 years.  And so it kind of started all over again.  Which also really explains why Daniel is also a bit mysterious.  Because he was a middle child for awhile, and was somewhere between oldest and middle for most of his life.

Okay, moving on to only children.  They can display traits of any of the siblings, but mainly the oldest.  Plus, they get along easily with adults.  For 12 years, Josh was an only child.  He's definitely a natural leader.

Famous only children: Ted Koppel, Nancy Reagan, Chelsea Clinton.

And last but certainly not least: Twins!

(sidenote:  please pray that we never have twins.  Thanks.)

One is generally a leader, and the other is the follower.  The leader tends to resemble the first born traits, and the follower seems to resemble the middle born traits.

Famous Sets: Jacob & Esau (wow-- how's that for proving the birth order!), Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen, Jen & Barbara Bush.

Whew... that was a lot!  But it always amazes me.  Of course, there are differences in everyone, but I find it amazing how close it is!

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