Dear Doctor Diapers
As I write this, my hands are shaking with rage! I simply cannot believe it! My parents are at it again! They already have three children and I’ve just overheard them talking about having another one!
She says, ‘I love being pregnant,’; he says, ‘I’ve always wanted a big family’; they both adore babies.
I didn’t mind when my sister was born, a mere year after I was. I was even enthusiastic. ‘Oh good,’ I thought. ‘A similarly-aged companion.’
But then, on my second birthday, I was presented with another sibling! This time I was not so sanguine. ‘What the hell?’ I remember thinking, as I set about smashing all my presents in fury. ‘Is this going to happen every year?’
Dear Doctor, please tell me … am I being selfish (which is entirely age-appropriate, by the way) or am I truly watching my slice of the pie shrinking with each new baby that gets shoehorned into our modestly-sized family home?
Is there anything I do to stop this? Is there perhaps some sort of legal action I can take, to protect my interests?
Yours in Consternation
Baby Who is Really Not Selfish but Who Fears that His Parents are Over Egging the Family Custard to the Point Where it Will Just Become an Omelette
Are you just being selfish, you ask, or is your slice of the pie indeed shrinking?
Well, first, let me assure you that a parent’s love is nothing like a pie. It is not measurable, and it does not lessen with the addition of each new family member. On the contrary, it will expand to accommodate you all, no matter how large your family grows. Each child born to your doting parents will receive their fair share of love.
Unfortunately, the same is not true of space on the sofa, expensive birthday presents or dessert (which might actually be a pie). You are right to be worried, Custard. New siblings are basically tiny, naked highwaymen, who will one day demand that you stand and deliver your sweets and your toys into their pudgy, grasping hands.
Your parents will not only allow this: they will encourage it! ‘He/she/it is only a baby,’ they’ll tell you. ‘Be nice.’
You ask if there is anything you can do to put a stop to this. The good news, Custard, is that there is. Without going into details inappropriate for one of such tender years, let me just say that if you wear your parents out – and I mean, exhaust them – their desire for another baby, and their ability to produce the same, will completely disappear.
You are at the best possible age to enact this plan: at two, you are highly mobile and utterly without conscience. The havoc that you can wreak is limitless.
So go to it, Custard. Let slip the dogs of war! Turn toy boxes upside down; throw things across the room; get into cupboards, fridges, pantries, and toss their contents in every direction. Do not leave a cushion unflung, a book unripped or a soft foodstuff unsmeared. Turn on taps; find the special place where your mother keeps her make-up; go after the houseplants with the television remote. Hide from your parents and call to them from upstairs, from downstairs, from inside the walls. Bang pots. Sing loudly.
Soon your parents will be too exhausted to even smile at one another, let alone acquire any more babies. And the day that Daddy limps home from the vasectomy clinic will be a glorious one for you, brave little Custard. You will know, then, that you have won, and that your birthright is finally secure.
(If after this you still feel that your birthright is too meagre, you may have to kill your existing siblings, but we can talk about that later, as it becomes necessary).