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Richard Glover: Spares to the heir thrive on neglect

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06.09.2019

The youngest sibling in a family, according to a report published this week, is often sleeker and fitter than the first-born child. While I’m with the scientists when it comes to global warming, the importance of vaccines and the need for dental hygiene, I must break ranks on this.

I have had children. I have observed the children of others. The only possible conclusion: standards slip with each additional child.

With the first born, everything must be perfect. They are fed a diet of high-quality vegetables and organically reared meat. The staff, by which I mean the mother and father, are in the kitchen night and day, pausing in their culinary efforts only to read linguistically challenging texts and to perform ethnically diverse folk dances for the child’s amusement.

Photographs are taken, almost constantly, recording events such as First Burp, First Wriggle and What We Took To Be The First Smile But In Retrospect Was Just Colic.

This is clearly a first-born child.Credit:Shutterstock

As the child grows older, a protective, loving and educationally rich system is established in which they are permitted to watch one hour of television each week, providing it’s an Attenborough documentary.

Ballet shoes are purchased. A cello – a cello! – is not considered too great an expense. The first soccer game is witnessed........

© The Age