“Parents always make their worst mistakes with their oldest children. That's when parents know the least and care the most, so they're more likely to be wrong and also more likely to insist that they're right.”
Orson Scott Card

  I wholeheartedly agree with the above quote. I remember well how intensely concerned I was about every little detail of our firstborn's life. I recall reading child rearing books, medical books on how to treat many childhood ailments and studying our little boy to see if he was coming down with the latest rash that I just read about. On his two year old birthday, we threw a party with forty guests, hired a clown and he had three different birthday cakes. I had several photo albums of pictures of him filled before we ever celebrated that two year old birthday. I couldn't wait to teach him new things....how to say words, how to walk, how to tie his own shoes when he got older. However by the time our third child rolled around, I never even thought to teach him to tie his shoes. And he never learned.

It's true. If you watch my third child tie his shoes even today, he makes two little bunny ears, then makes a little knot and wala....shoes tied. Did I mention that he is twenty-seven years old ? Our daughter in law tells the story of how they were in college and she talks about the first time that she saw him tie his shoes...she was mortified. The point here is that the very same lessons and tasks that we anguish over with our oldest children, we barely give a second thought to with our youngest kids. It is no one's fault, it is just the nature of life.

By the time the younger kiddos arrive on the scene, we are already running after the older ones, trying to wipe jelly off of the counter, put a pony tail in, sign a homework paper, look for a lunch box, and talk on the phone all the same time. Who has time for teaching how to tie one's shoes in the midst of all of that ?

I sure didn't.

Meanwhile, even though our oldest child has 42 completed photo albums, complete with clever captions and beautiful scrap books of all art work that they ever did for the first five years of their life, we are fortunate to have a beat up shoe box somewhere containing a few photos of the third child.

And what about the fourth child ? the fifth child ? They are lucky to still be clothed and fed and drawing breath. Forget about the shoe box.

This truth that we care the most but know the least when raising those oldest offspring can produce interesting results. We are so focused on these poor kids that they can emerge as neurotic adults or extremely stubborn ones. This is because they either experience such pressure to meet all the high standards and attention from being over scutinized their whole lives or they rebel, dig their heels in, and simply say " Forget it, I will do it my way."  Our oldest child chose the latter.....lucky us ! ( ha ha).

My suggestion to my readers who are still young parents with small kids...copy the quote underneath the picture in this article and frame it. Then hang it somewhere in your home where you can read it at least once every day. By doing this, you will be paving an easier road to travel for both you and your oldest kiddos. You might live a bit longer with no ulcers or nervous twitches. Your first born may not have to sit at the OCD table in the lunch room and just might skip and laugh a bit more in life.

And who knows.....your younger children may also reap the benefits of you spreading your energy around. They just might learn how to tie their shoes the right way....before they turn twenty- seven years old ! 

That might be worth it :)