Thinking of dating the baby in the family? Good luck.
My parents wanted four kids. I was the third, and they stopped at me, because, well, I'm a handful, as youngest kids often are.
As a youngest child and the only girl, my life alternated from being looked over to being pretty much stalked by my mom because she's convinced I'm incapable of doing anything on my own other than potentially producing illegitimate children. (Perhaps if she'd taken a break from fawning over my holy First Born Brother, she'd have noticed that I'm really good at things like baking without burning the house down, changing my own tires and taking birth control pills regularly.)
That said, when my boyfriend said recently that I'm "very much the little sister," he was probably referring to the following 11 traits that I developed as being the youngest child. He surely couldn't mean I'm bratty, because, well, I know where he sleeps and I'd destroy him. That said, if you're embarking on a relationship with a youngest child, be aware of the following.
1. We might act out if we're not getting enough attention. Because our firstborn sibling can walk on water, we feel like we may not always measure up to them. So instead of being, say, an aeronautical engineer and pilot, we'll do stand-up comedy and talk shit about mom to strangers. If you're dating us and we feel neglected, we may pick a fight just to get you to talk to us for a while. Obviously, it's not the healthiest (nor the most effective) solution, but it doesn't mean we don't try it occasionally.
2. We're independent and guarded. Because we didn't get a ton of attention as kids, we're accustomed to going at it alone and we're usually perfectly ready to go it alone again at the drop of a hat. Sure, we may like attention from you (we may love it, in fact), but we're guarded enough to protect ourselves and pick up the pieces pretty quickly if you're dumb enough to leave us. (But please don't leave us. Please?)
3. We're used to getting away with murder. As the youngest child, our parents gave a lot more attention to our older siblings. That's been established. The bright side of that for youngest children? While our parents don't really notice our accomplishments as much, they're also less likely to notice that we haven't brought home a math test all semester or that we got a tattoo two years ago. That said, if we do things that aren't necessarily nice to you, we're not used to getting called out on it.
4. We want to be photographed for once, even if we won't admit it. Our parents got camera fatigued by the time we came, so we may ask you to stop for a selfie more often that your middle-child ex. Be flattered and get our good side.
5. We're used to getting what we want. We will do whatever it takes to get it. That includes manipulating you. You will deal.
6. We're used to sitting at the kids table. Even when we're adults. We feel more at home there, because at least toddlers think we're important and capable, even if our parents don't.
7. We're observant and great listeners. We probably didn't get to actually converse in a real way until we were packing for college, so we learn from other people's mistakes and are in tune with our surroundings, including the people within them.
8. We're hilarious. We need to get attention somehow. We'll do it by making jokes. These jokes may not always be appropriate, and they won't always come at appropriate times, but they will be hysterically funny. Unless you're a Salon.com blogger or something, because those people hate anything funny or involving free speech.
9. We're terrified of not being taken seriously. You need to take us seriously, because if not, we will rebel. You won't like us when we're angry.
10. We don't mind if you call us the wrong name. Listen, I have two older brothers and my own mother still calls me Jennifer regularly. We're numb to it. But if you do it in bed, just know that the condition of your testicles may be compromised if it happens more than once.
11. We get away with everything. And we're used to it, because we're adorable. Seriously, we're so adorable. You'll want to pinch our cheeks so much that it's hard for you to stay mad at us when we do things like forget to call, nag you incessantly or stab you in the neck. Really.