Most parents will shake their heads and cluck their tongues at all the mistakes parents make with their first-born children. “Those poor kids. Mom and Dad make all the mistakes with the first one.” No one ever has a comment for how the fourth-borns suffer their own brand of injustice.

I present to you Case Study No. 1: potty training.

Ruby, our first born, was goaded into potty training very early. Her eventual transition into “big girl pants” was the result of great determination on my part, and several bags of chocolate chips. And her progress towards bladder control was greatly celebrated by both her Papa and me.

Pearl, our fourth born, has noticed that while she does her thing in a diaper, everyone else seems to do it in the potty. This does not sit well. She has taken to stripping off her clothing and her diaper, and setting her little bottom onto the potty. And do you know what I say to her? It usually sounds something like this:

(huge sigh of exasperation) “Pearl, will you please stop that?? Please?! Can you just keep on your diaper?? I don’t have time to keep dressing you over and over again!”

It’s a far cry from the celebratory singing and dancing and chocolate chips that Ruby received.

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