Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Moving up from the Kiddie Table

Every time I look at my legs, I marvel at the fact they can walk. It's not that there's anything wrong with them –- it's just that I didn't use them until I was 12 years old, and that was because I finally told my sister to stop carrying me around.

Hello, my name is B.J., and I have a disease called "The Baby." Statistics show that 100% of families with children have one like me. These kids may learn to walk, talk, and think by themselves -- but their families will never acknowledge it.

I tried the denial thing. I went to college. I got a job. I got married. I acted like an adult. My family even cheered me on. Until I wrecked my car, forgot to feed my husband, left the laundry in the washer for 16 days, and –- well –- generally acted like The Baby.

Recently I decided to have my family over for an intervention. I would prove that I wanted to be an adult. I would serve them lunch, show them my well-kept house, and have adult-like conversation. Maybe they would even let me move over from the Kiddie Table.

About an hour into the family meeting, I was proud of how things were going. Our adult conversation ranged from how lovely my house was, to how nice the weather was, to how pregnant my aunt felt.

"You don't happen to have a pregnancy test?" she asked.

I couldn't believe it. This was the most important day of my life. My aunt was asking me for a pregnancy test. She was acknowledging that I was an adult.

"Why yes," I said. "I do. I also have a little cup for you to pee in. I use it all the time for my pregnancy tests."

I opened the cabinet but the cup wasn't there.

"That's strange," I said. "It was right…"

I turned just in time to see it. My sister was holding the pregnancy test cup, sipping root beer from it.

In the words of Dave Barry, "I am not making this up."

I couldn't speak. There was only one thing I could do: laugh.

I laughed so hard I cried. My aunt laughed so hard she cried. My mom laughed so hard she cried.

My sister just cried. And yelled.

"WHAT were you thinking?" she shouted. "WHO would keep a pregnancy test cup with her drinking cups?"

And silently but truly, we all knew the answer: The Baby would.

3 Application questions for writers:

1. Does your place in the birth order affect your writings? (I.E.: I'm the youngest child; I'm the entertainer in the family. Therefore the comedy genre.)

2. What qualities can you add to your characters based on their birth-order?

3. Do you believe any of this birth-order junk?


B.J. Hamrick is a journalist, humorist, and Real Teen Faith Editor-est.


  1. I'm laughing so hard I have tears streaming down my face!!! This is just what I needed after a morning of fraction word problems and the golden proportion. I'll be laughing about this all day!

  2. Oh BJ - I love you! This was SO perfect! I'm still giggling! :) Love it, love it!!

  3. ROFL! That is hilarious. Your poor sister! Poor you!

    I definitely believe in birth order affecting how we turn out. I'm the first born and the only daughter, and my mom left when I was a little girl. As a result, I have a compulsive need to mother everyone. It comes across in my writing too. Even when it's not my first intention, all my stories end up coming around to a central coming-of-age theme (no matter what age my characters are). That moment in life when you realize it's time to grow up -- because first borns always have to grow up too soon.

  4. Bethany - I'm glad my misery could make you feel better. Haha... No for real, thanks for letting me know. It made my day!

    Erynn - Yeah, but I bet you'll never accept a dinner invite at my house. I swear, the cup was completely sanitized and no longer lives in my cabinet!

    Christiana - I know, my poor poor sister. She's thinking about forgiving me one year after the fact.

    I hear ya... I think birth order comes across in my writing too. As the baby, I'm the entertainer and I just want to make everyone laugh. Funny how all that shapes who we are!

  5. I'm a believer in a birth order effect. As the oldest of 4 children, spanning 20yrs, it is very clear to me.

    Each had to find their unique position not already occupied by someone else.

    I became the "goto" guy; the "knowledge bank". Everyone wanted me on their Trivial Pursuit team!

  6. Birth order is definitely a factor in my writing! I'm the oldest and always felt that I had to be the most responsible and help lead my younger siblings. So I try to solve problems, give advice, etc.!