LAST BORN SYNDROME
The youngest child in the family popularly known as the last born is always one of a kind. While we cannot say for certain if the reason they are always troublemakers is that they are sent down to earth with a big bag full of immaturity and mischief, we are sure that there is one thing they are all blessed with – the unfair ability to get away with everything. It is believed that parents are usually more lenient towards these chosen ones because they would have loosened up considerably after so many years of experience in child-rearing. They seem to share an inclination to let the last child remain a child. These last borns grow up with ambivalence, lauded with attention one minute and joked about the next. They are usually sociable, charming, attention-seeking and people-oriented.
When we have a combination of symptoms or traits like the ones these ambivalent members of the family seem to share, we call it a syndrome. This syndrome, which initially used to be restricted to the last child of the family, has even begun to spread to the other children of the family. The pathophysiology has been explained in the first paragraph, but I should mention that it is still not clearly understood. Researchers over the years have tried and failed to accurately describe this syndrome but fear not, as this is where I come in. I have taken upon myself the daunting task of curating a list of the behaviours you would expect in somebody suffering from last born syndrome:
1. THEY ARE FUN TO BE WITH
The way to identify last-born children is by spending time with them. You would find them to be sociable, fun and often with a good sense of humour. This is because growing up, they were far more likely to rebel against authority, perhaps because knew they would be pardoned with at most a soft pat on the back. Consequently, they grow to become audacious adults, who do not care for rules, so long as they can have fun.
2. MONEY BAG
Last borns are the money bags in every group, be it family or friends. They always have an ample amount of money as they get plenty of gifts from parents, siblings, extended family members, neighbours, and even strangers. Everyone just wants to give them money. They are also known to borrow a lot of money from their older siblings which they never return. They achieve this by putting on a guise of innocence and respect when making their requests. Be wary when they suddenly start using the “brother” or “sister” prefix before your name. It is your money they are after.
3. THEY ARE SPONTANEOUS/DARING
Last borns are more open to new experiences since they would have repeatedly watched their older sibling(s) make mistakes and come back from them. Hence, they learn early that failures or disappointments are not the end, but just the starting point of something better. Consequently, they do not freak out easily and nothing fazes them.
4. THEY HAVE THICK SKIN
It is said that last borns develop thick skin because they are used to getting criticised by their jealous siblings. Hence, they are quick to adapt and can handle their issues adeptly. It also helps that they have advanced conversational skills from playing middleman/reporter between their parents and older siblings.
5. FEWER RESPONSIBILITIES/PROFOUND LAZINESS
An advantage of being the last child in Nigeria is that it comes with lesser responsibilities. The older siblings, especially those who were ‘fortunate’ enough to be born first are the unpaid maids of the home. Their daily tasks range from cooking, cleaning, and washing, to babysitting the younger siblings. They are essentially vice-parents who take charge when the actual parents are away. However, the same cannot be said of last borns. All they do is sit and wait to be served. This trait follows them into adulthood. The belief is that older ones get the work done, and the last born gets the reward – a classical case of monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.
6. THEY HAVE EXCESS CLOTHING
Last borns have the special privilege of being gifted with shoes, bags, and clothes from everyone. They always receive. They never run out of “my sister dash me” wears. Usually, their wardrobes are filled with clothes that they do not even wear. This, of course, does not stop them from going to steal another set. All they do is take.
Despite been known to exhibit the aforementioned symptoms, last borns like to deny their numerous privileges, giving excuses like: their older siblings do not take their opinions seriously, they are always sent on multiple errands, or their parents always compare them to their older siblings. However, pay them no mind; fallacy upon fallacy, all is fallacy.