Monday, August 2, 2010

"Get to" and "Have to"

Two-year olds are expected to begin having a relationship with the toilet. No more diapers. No more care-free days. It is time to become responsible, to allow something besides your own imagination control parts of your day.


So, my mother introduced me to the toilet and he and I did NOT get along. How dare he make me stop playing! How dare he make me consider that there are other things to think about besides follow-the-leader! I was very put-out.

And lucky Maria didn’t have to worry about this at all! She was allowed to go right on thinking that the world was her’s to command! And here I sat on something so cold and hard and quite boring.

The person who said being the oldest child was better than being the middle child, or the baby, was an idiot. The reason I have no qualms using such harsh language is because this idiot is assuming that the oldest child actually WANTS to go first. The idiot also assumes that going first is easy and fun and empowering.

How can I disagree with this logic? (If you can call it that.)

Going first means you don’t have ANYONE to talk to about your experience. There is no one around to give you advice. No one is available to sympathize with you, or show compassion for, let’s see…starting school first, going to middle school first, getting your license first, graduating first. These are all very hard things to do when you have no one to show you how to do it.

I’m sure some of you are saying, “What about your parents?”.

I was their first child. I was their guinea pig. I was the “trial-run”. Even getting financial aid for the first time was an ordeal because my parents were learning how to apply for it at the same time I was!

Anyway, here is where I clarify “have to” and “get to”. Those younger than me always said, “Kara gets to go to school and I don’t! Kara gets to drive and I don’t! Kara gets to graduate from the eighth grade and have a special party and I don’t!”

I would like to turn all of those “get tos” into “have tos”, if you don’t mind.

There is also the matter of being a “tough act to follow”. The eighth grade party I mentioned earlier had to be done for Maria. But since we’d already had one, I believe it lost its special glow. (Not for me, mind you. I was very happy to see Maria reach her “rite of passage”.)

But for Maria, I think, sometimes, she was disappointed that reaching her milestones didn’t seem as special. (Even though they were and she better not argue with me!)

So, there I was going through something I found absolutely horrible, and Maria seemed to think it was great. She thought it was so great, that she actually began using the potty herself. At that time, anything I did, she wanted to do. Remember, I was a genius.

Maria was potty trained at ten months. I wasn’t done until I was three.

And so begins a pattern of the first child “having to” do something and the second child “getting to” do it, too. Because waiting was just…OUT OF THE QUESTION.


RJS said...

TOTALLY AGREE! I hated being the oldest--I always wanted an older brother to show me the way. I did not like being first! Thank goodness Marian doesn't seem to mind!

Kara said...

I know! She seems perfectly content! I'm glad someone else agrees with me on this. I have a hard time convincing Kendra and Kristen of this.

kristen said...

I've always felt badly that you had to go first!! I was trying to experience things with you so you would have a partner - sorry the state doesn't allow sisters to just go to school together at the same time.