Learning About Birth Order with the Hostettlers….

Yesterday Ryan had a disc golf tournament, so I had the whole day alone with my boys. Somehow, I had a stroke of luck, and on this day a good friend of mine (Lisa) was home with her two boys and not on call for work. Also a stroke of luck was that the sun was shining brightly and the rain kept away for the entire duration of our stay. After much debate on what to do and where to go, we decided to spend the day at her house, as she lives in the country and has lots of room for the boys to just be boys. So, I packed my boys up, made only a few quick stops on the way out of town for gas and juice boxes, and headed out to their house.

It was a perfect day. Lisa and I sat in lounge chairs and soaked up the sun. (Which reminds me,a tip to the wise, ALWAYS shave your legs before you get them sunburned….) The boys were slow to warm up with each other at first. Jake immediately went to work finding a place to plug in his Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), and Ben tried to figure out how to use the slip and slide. Eventually, Lisa’s oldest son, Jadon, was giving Benjamin demonstrations, but somehow Hunter and Benjamin decided instead that driving trucks and tractors along the slip and slide as if it were really a car wash would work better.

Please excuse my feet…. I was lounging… and much too lazy to sit up.

When the heat was starting to get to us, we’d head in the house for a cool beverage and some popcorn, and then we’d head back outdoors again. Jake and Ben learned to play with the dog. (BIG dog, looks mean but is super friendly…. even when you’re throwing rocks at him, oddly.) Lisa’s younger son, Hunter, let the heat and the play get the best of him, and he went down for a nap. At this point, Jadon and Benjamin, who are very similar in age, figured out how to work together, and they played creating a river which lead to a lake in their sand box. Jake even stopped in to help out a few times, though his efforts were thwarted when he kept hitting his head on the playscape, because he was so much taller than the younger boys were.

Notice the real actual lake inside the sand box. Also notice Ben’s vertical smile:)

Eventually, we wrapped the day up with some pizza and Popsicles, which are a favorite of pretty much all kids in general, and I rounded the boys up and headed back for home. I was amazed they both made it all the way home without falling to sleep, though they certainly slept well from a great day of play when it was bedtime. They even slept through some thunder rumbles.

Jadon cruising down the driveway.


While the kids were busy learning social skills with one another, Lisa and I were busy taking note of the truth about raising boys and birth orders. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concepts of birth order, let me give you a quick run down. “Birth Order” is a term to describe the rank that you take with your siblings, and it is believed by experts to have lasting effects on psychological development. If you look at theories developed on such ideas, experts generally break birth order down into rankings like “first born”, “middle child” and “youngest”. Advanced theories take “only children” and “twins” into account also. Their hypothesis is that there are common traits in personality and development among people who share birth order rankings. I will use myself as an example. I am an only child. Here is what one website listed for traits of an only child: (and my thoughts when compared to myself.)

  • Mature faster (yep- have to if there’s not kids around and only adult to keep you company)
  • Get along well with older people (uh-huh, see above)
  • Responsible (generally…because who else can you blame things on without siblings?)
  • Self-Centered (ugh. Sadly.)
  • Perfectionists (relative, I suppose.)
  • Attention seekers (I do blog, don’t I…?)
  • Use adult language (um, I use a LOT of language.. swearing included, I suppose..)
  • Prefer adult company (I did when I was younger. Now it’s optional.)
  • Have difficulty sharing (this is the only one I completely disagree with. I’m better at sharing, it was the only way to get people to play with me…)
So, Lisa and I began noticing similarities in our boys. First of all, we noticed that they had MANY things that all four of them did naturally, like a natural attraction to anything with wheels (You might notice this in all my pictures.) It was an interesting social setting for observation though, because our boys are both about 2-3 year apart from their brothers, but my boys are older than hers. So, though Jadon and Benjamin are just months apart in age, Jadon behaves more like a classic “first born”, and Ben like a “youngest child”. I noticed, for instance, that Jadon immediately took an interest in Jake’s PSP and Ben’s Vsmile (which Ben doesn’t actually play with), while Ben and Hunter could have cared less about those items existing. Jake and Jadon both tended to help Lisa and I out keeping eyes on the younger two. They worked harder to keep us happy. You can Google “birth order” pretty easily and find out these are really common traits among first borns. (You might also learn that there are actually two types of personalties associated with first borns, but rather than one or the other, our boys seem to fit parts of both.) If either Jake or Jadon found themselves bored, they would come running to us, eager to do whatever we were doing. We would both have to redirect them, suggesting that they make friends with one another or continue playing with this or that…

Benjamin and Hunter were much less concerned with Lisa and I. Both of them seemed to be able to entertain themselves more easily with toys and needed less direction. Both seemed to think that our opinions were equal to their own, or lessor, generally, when they disagreed with us completely. We both found ourselves challenging Ben and Hunter. I had to tell Ben, REPEATEDLY to stop spilling his juice on the floor and throwing popcorn down for the dog to eat and drink. He heard me, each of the first 12 times I said to stop,but he didn’t really think my opinion was important until I had to enforce it. I saw Lisa have a similar show down with Hunter regarding playing with her Blackberry Phone. He looked directly at her, acknowledged that he heard her, and disregarded her message until she finally got up and took it from him. These are are also qualities you’d probably find to be shared among youngest children in your Google search of “birth order”.

Hunter on his four wheeler.


So, I think the lesson of the day, which was deeply embedded into a day of fun, sunshine and great company, was that in order to know who you are, you might need to look at your birth order. The good news is, there are both good and bad traits to each and every birth order. If you identify with the traits that you share with others in your birth order that are good, you can learn to use them to your advantage. If you identify with the negative traits, you can learn to work with them or work around them. If you learn about the traits your children share with others in in their birth order, it might be a key to helping you understand why they do the crazy and amazing things that they do.

Thanks to the Hostettlers’ for a wonderful day in the sun!

About Mindy

I am a mother of two boys, a disc golfer, a former derby girl, a sonographer and an aspiring writer. Sometimes words and events replay in my head endlessly until I let them out. I am verbose. I have lots to say all of the time. If there's something you'd like to know, you'd be better off asking.
This entry was posted in Ben, Jake, Life Lessons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning About Birth Order with the Hostettlers….

  1. Pingback: My Cousin Danny (er… um, I mean Dan…) | The Sun and the Moon Brothers

  2. Pingback: To BB, or not to BB? | The Sun and the Moon Brothers

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