The Curse Of The Firstborn Child

by Jill Pond
firstborn child
JeniceRay / iStock

Everyone knows about the curse of the second-born child, but what about the firstborn? The firstborn child gets showered with attention and gifts, smothered by neurotic experimentation as parents try to figure out what the fuck they’re doing while doting on every fart and gurgle. They are the one who, to the dismay of spoiled dogs and cats, squirms their way to the top of the totem pole, banishing the pets from the warm beds of their people and robbing them of their cherished walks. What about them?

Admittedly, I am not a firstborn child, but am under the unwavering influence of the second-born’s curse. I don’t relate to the afflictions carried by this unfortunate lot and have always felt as though us second-borns had the shit end of the stick. But as I’ve watched my first daughter grow, I’ve reconsidered and discovered disturbing evidence that there is, in fact, a curse of the firstborn child and their stick is covered in more shit than mine will ever be.

At 17 months old, my first child’s life hit a big bump in the road — a baby-shaped bump. We brought her little sister home from the hospital, and the first thing she did was saunter up to this newborn curiosity and smack the shit out of her, right on the head. Womp! It was a precursor to all that was to come. Though too young to understand the politics of birth order, she knew that her rightful place was now below this shitty baby, but above the dog and cat. She was no longer the center of our lives, she was now a sibling.

Perhaps the most defining characteristic of this unfortunate curse is a loss of the limelight and the effect it has on their personality. Where, they wonder, did the attention go? Why, they ponder, have they been abandoned for a squawking blob that smells of shit and sour milk? At this juncture, the firstborn can go one of two ways as they endeavor to win back the love and attention they’ve lost: They aim for perfection, or they do their best to make everyone’s lives miserable.

Most firstborns will opt for the former, displaying excellent behavior, undertaking tasks and chores to be helpful and trying to please everyone around them. For others, this method seems like a big fucking waste of time and so they choose a more sensational strategy: trying to destroy the baby.

Mothers of these children are fools to leave their babies unattended for more than nine seconds at a time. One firstborn I know was found standing atop of his tiny sibling, bouncing with a gleeful joy as his feet inadvertently performed the Heimlich maneuver on the baby-blob, causing an eruption of spit-up to spew from their mouth and into their wispy baby hair.

Firstborn, 1. Second-born, 0.

My previous discoveries established that the firstborn will eventually grow to resent and therefore avoid the mischievous second-born child, who, quite frankly, can be a real asshole. Due to their nature, most firstborns display impressive control over their actions and emotions, but push them to their limits and look the fuck out. When a firstborn loses control, they become unrecognizable, mutating like a fictional character into a frothing and furious beast.

These displays are often quite alarming for parents, and they realize that, perhaps, they’ve held this poor child to unreasonable standards of maturity and responsibility. They vow to give more attention to the firstborn, but they are so busy mitigating that asshole second-born who, again, the first child steps back into the role of anal perfectionist, spending their time organizing the toy bins and Tupperware drawers, hoping their parents will notice.

Should you have a firstborn who is hellbent on keeping their role as king, they will do anything in their power to sabotage the blob. From asphyxiation to emotional warfare, their strategies are varied and conniving. The only way parents can combat this type of child is to invest in some good anti-anxiety medication and wait it out. They might be waiting for 18 years, but eventually, it will abate. Some of the more desperate parents look longingly at the dog’s shock collar, secretly wondering if it would produce desirable results with this little wanker and their collusive ways, but they soon come to their senses, realizing that they don’t want to go to jail.

When I look at my daughter, my firstborn daughter, I feel a terrible sadness that our special time was cut so short when the blob came along. She has been forced to grow up faster, be more mature, and watch her younger sister get away with murder. There is no way I could have done anything differently, but I wish I’d had more energy to love on her, play with her, and assure her that she was still queen.

At any rate, she has turned out to be a lovely child, and I’m pretty damn sure that the firstborn’s curse will spur her on to take life by the balls and achieve amazing things. She is tenacious, she is full of love, and she will always be my precious first baby.