Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

Precious First Borns, Neglected Seconds and So On...

The Daily Mail Online in Britain calls the syndrome proof that we parents show favoritism to older children. But really, "precious firstborn syndrome," a term coined by British parenting Web site Mumsnet.com has nothing to do with favoritism and everything to do with first-time parenthood obsessions.

You remember those days... when you read "What to Expect When Expecting" every month and then tempered the scare tactics of the book with "The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy." When you obsessed about every detail of the birth, almost forgetting that an actual person was the end result. When, once the baby came, you carried a video baby monitor everywhere you went any time you put the baby in the crib. Or when you washed every baby clothing item in Dreft before it touched baby's skin.

PFBs, of course, don't stand alone. They're followed by Neglected Subsequent Children, or NSCs.

For PFBs, we kept time logs of every time the baby ate, peed and pooped. We could recite every milestone for the pediatrician. For NSCs, not so much. Milestones, yeah, yeah, we think he's doing that. Number of words? Ummmmm. Enough. You want a count, really?

For PFBs, pacifiers get sterilized any time they fall anywhere. For NSCs, they're clean enough with a wipe of the shirt. PFBs get regular naptimes. NSCs learn to sleep wherever, whenever.

Favoritism? I think not. Rather, PFBs = temporary insanity vs. NSCs, who simply get a more laid back, been-there-done-that parent!

All that said, I'm sure those folks in Britain aren't the only ones with some laugh out loud PFB and NSC moments.

So, for a fun Friday, fess up folks.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Pregnancy
Previous: A Moon Shot for the New Generation? | Next: Altogether, Now. Breastfeeding in Public Is Legal

Comments


When we were expecting our first, we heard this from one of DH's friends:

When the first kid drops a pacifier, you immediately put it in your special pacifier sterilization machine that you bought before allowing him to touch it.

When the second kid drops a pacifier, you run it through the dishwasher, then give it back.

When the third kid drops a pacifier, you run it under hot water and give it back.

When the fourth kid drops a pacifier, you pop it in your mouth to wipe the worst of the crud off and give it back.

When the fifth kid drops a pacifier, you let him pick it up of the floor and put it back in his own mouth.

We decided to skip right to child no. 3 status. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | July 24, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

With the first, if she so much as whimpered from tripping over her own 2 feet and falling on the rug, we would rush over and give her the "Aw, poor baby, where does it hurt? Can I kiss it and make it feel better? Let me get the boo-boo bunny."

By the 4th one, it was, "hey, get up and brush it off. Remember, no crying unless you're bleeding!"

You also may want to know that the first one didn't visit the emergency room until she was 14 and sprained her wrist from tripping over a soccer ball during PE.

And our last one had his head stitched up twice and had to have one of his eyelids glued back on by the time he turned 5.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 24, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

First child: I had read somewhere that baby wipes should not be used on newborns. My husband arrived home from work one day to find me cutting paper towels into perfect baby-bottom-sized squares which I intended to dip into just-the-right-temperature water for purposes of lovingly wiping said baby bottom.

Second child: Half-used napkin from pizza parlor swiped quickly over the rear.

Poopy blowouts: All bets are off, no matter the birth order.

Posted by: CharmCityMom | July 24, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Our PFB moment lasted about a minute, followed by his NSC twin. Dealing with two pretty much eliminates the possibility of logging everything carefully (except precious minutes of sleep).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 24, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I was the third, and my parents were pretty laid back, so by the time I came around, my mom said (she told me as an adult): feh, I knew you'd be fine.

So, I'm a pretty laid back parent. As that was the example I had. I am also the youngest, so I have a few nephews/cousins who I got to 'practice' with.

I guess the biggest thing is that I took the older one to 'stuff' and we did 'stuff' with him at a much younger age (baseball game, theater, soccer practice) - but that has MUCH more to do with temperment than anything else. The older one is/was much more mature at a younger age than the younger son is.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 24, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"And our last one had his head stitched up twice and had to have one of his eyelids glued back on by the time he turned 5."

Was it glued on in the open or shut position?

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 24, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I was the third, and my parents were pretty laid back, so by the time I came around, my mom said (she told me as an adult): feh, I knew you'd be fine.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 24, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The number and intensity of beatings tend to dimininsh with the third kid...


Posted by: jezebel3 | July 24, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

With the first, I always bought the name brand diapers. With the second, the Target brand worked just fine.

Posted by: SilverSpringMom1 | July 24, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

You're reaching, Jez.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"The number and intensity of beatings tend to dimininsh with the third kid..."

By then the first kid is often old enough to take that over.

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 24, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

silverspringmom: me too!

Posted by: atlmom1234 | July 25, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

But do you think that second children are more laid back because the parents have BTDT, or because of the kids' nature?

My bigger concern, speaking PFB, is that I was the guinea pig for EVERYTHING. My parents were crazy strict with me, yet with my sister, the NSC, she could do whatever she wanted, got away with way more than me, and generally had it much easier. She is not a mellow person by any stretch so it wasn't because she was an easier child.

How can parents ensure that they don't fall in this trap at all? Yes you know what you are doing the second time around, but there is no reason to treat your children differently. It's a HUGE disservice to the older child to do this. I have zero interest in having another child for fear I will do the same as my parents.

Posted by: Laura118 | July 27, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company