The Curse of the Second-Born Child

by Jill Pond
Originally Published: 
A little boy hanging on a tire while having a big smile on his face

In my seven years of motherhood, I’ve seen the gamut of familial combinations. After several years of astute observation, I began to notice that most families have a pattern of personality and birth order. I’m not a psychiatrist or therapist, but my introspective nature allows me to understand the nature of things in a pretty analytical and supremely fancy way. In this particular case study that I’ve been inadvertently conducting over the past seven years, my findings indicate that there is a certain condition that occurs in 94.7% of families. I call it The Curse of the Second-Born Child.

The Curse of the Second-Born Child is nothing to be ashamed of; all it really means is that the child born into this birth order is typically a huge pain in the ass, or perhaps, in extreme cases, a giant fucking asshole. I feel that I have particular expertise on this subject as both I and my very own second-born child are victims of this terrible curse; we are both extreme pains in the ass and have engaged in some serious assholery over the years. You might be wondering if your family will fall prey to this unfortunate condition, or maybe you’re already a victim but in deep denial about the truth of it all.

Here are five indicators that this curse has befallen your unsuspecting family.

1. The second-born child shows a propensity towards mischief. The shenanigans that occur in the life of a second-born range from funny to infuriating. Diaper cream smeared into carpet, walls graffitied by markers, farts in unsuspecting faces … You never know what might be next, and as they age, mischief can take on epic proportions. At the tender age of 13, a second-born I know snuck out of the house, went to the local country club and peed in the large water jugs on the tennis courts. Who knows how many thirsty tennis players drank her urine that next day. What an asshole. I am truly ashamed … of her.

2. The oldest sibling wants nothing to do with the second-born child. The first-born child really gets screwed in these situations, as she is most often the target of a second-born’s tomfoolery. She typically displays great restraint and maturity in her everyday life, but enter the second-born and she mutates into a crazy person. She reaches desperate levels of hysteria as stuff from her room mysteriously disappears; she wails in despair when her asshole sibling teases her relentlessly. She resorts to extreme measures to protect herself from her tidal wave of a sibling; it isn’t a pretty scene for her and she will suffer for a looooong time.

3. Pets run like hell when they see the second-born coming. Docile dogs everywhere tuck tail and flee rather than engage with a second-born child. Even the most starved for attention prefer the company of a thunderstorm to The Cursed One. From mild physical abuse to emotional warfare, no pet is safe from a young child under the influence of this curse. Another second-born I know said they used to dangle their cat from the second story balcony so that the cat would “hug” her as it was pulled to safety. I’m sure that person is very sorry now, but what a fucking asshole.

4. Bedtime for the second-born takes 10-120 minutes longer than it does for everyone else. This is perhaps when the most unspeakable shit goes down in a household possessed by the curse. Parents will be driven to dangerous levels of insanity, anger and hopelessness as they endure an endless loop of battle of the wills. The number of times the second-born climbs out of the crib, comes out of their room or refuses to go to bed, times the level of exhaustion of the parent, equals the level of bad shit that happens. The most even tempered and sweet parent might fantasize about drop-kicking their toddler out of the window like a fucking football. A non-cursing mother might scream out “Go the FUCK to sleep you mother-fuuuuuuker!” as her 4-year-old stares at her with defiance.

5. Stubborn takes on a whole new meaning. If you’ve fallen victim to one of the most classic blunders, engaging in a battle of wills with a second-born child, my heart goes out to you. Most participants will either lose or die. No matter the age, people under the influence of this curse are notoriously stubborn and would prefer to chew off their own arm than give in to their opponent. Battles typically ensue when someone wants a second-born to do something. From brushing teeth to doing homework, should a second-born sense that you have anything at all invested in the outcome of your desire, suit up and prepare for a battle of epic proportions.

The curse of the second-born child typically results in years of struggle and pain-in-the-assery for all involved, but should you or someone you love be affected by this, there is a bright side. A cursed second-born has something special that sets them apart: a heart the size of the sun. She loves with ferocity, washing away the anger she inspired minutes ago with one precious look. Take heart, steel yourselves and expect the unexpected with these gems. They will forever mock your pain, but you will fall fast in love.

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