Before you start groaning and think this is yet another comparison moan I’m about to have, well, you’re right! Moan and groan away but I must have my say in this because I’m reaching the end of my tether being dumped with everything that befalls an eldest child.
I was my parents’ parenting experiment. In fact every first born is their parents experiment in the world of bringing up a child and playing at Mummy and Daddy in real life. Suddenly they’ve been handed this swaddled bundle of joy who is up all night and cries at the slightest thing, needs to be burped, changed and fed at all times and will only reward with a toothless grin when the child deems it fit.
By the time the second child comes, the parents are more relaxed, they don’t jump at the slightest cry and neither do they lack sleep because they know how to show the baby who is boss and sleeping times have to be adhered to.
Look, it’s not our fault we came first; and that also doesn’t mean that you dump all responsibilities onto us as we grow older. ‘You have to look out for your little brother and sister. You’re the eldest.’ So what?! I’m still also your child, Mum and Dad. Does that mean I need less love and attention?
In India it is the norm for the parents to live with the eldest son, or the only son for that matter. I’m not sure who writes these unwritten rules because along the years everything has become distorted, everyone’s living their own lives and getting on with it. Gone are the days when it was obligatory to live with the parents up to a certain age and move in with the entire family just because you’re the eldest and it should rightfully fall on your shoulders.
Also nowadays it doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy. Long before it was assumed that only the blokes will take all responsibility and carry forward the good name of the family. Girls and women are doing just as well if not better than their male siblings.
I’m the eldest and sometimes I wish I was sandwiched in the nonchalant middle or the youngest one. The carefree youngest one, usually spoilt, the pet, the favoured one.
I’m not saying I totally resent my position as the eldest child. My Dad actually favours me a lot more. He may not admit it but I know he has a softer spot for me; maybe it’s because of all the nonsense I’ve been through life, I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’m always grateful for his love and support.
Coming back to whining about the eldest, I really would like to be the youngest for about a week, be pampered and spoilt rotten, have my older siblings carry any responsibilities and take charge of everything while I lead a carefree life.
I also know that within a few hours I’ll probably be resentful of the mollycoddling and wish I was the eldest instead!