The first child born to a set of parents (and two sets of grandparents) is a wonderful and frightening thing. Every squeak, hiccup, stumble, and cry draws an immediate and deeply concerned response from the parental (and grandparental) units.
A soon-born second child elicits nearly the same wonder and fright with each similar action.
The third child? Not so much...
Cases in point: the Colonel's three grandsons -- the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dashes 1, 2, and 3 (H21CC--1, 2, & 3). The Colonel is enjoying the rare priviledge of participating in, and closely observing, the raising of three boys from infancy to..., well..., boyhood. His not-so scientific mind has logged, analyzed, and categorized every aspect of this process, and he is as qualified as any to relate the following findings of fact.
The first child is watched like a hawk. If Dash 1 happens to stumble and bump his head on a piece of furniture, the reaction of his parents and grandparents is similar to that of a mass casualty event...
"Cordon off the area! Remove all hard-edged furniture from the premises!"
"Is that a bruise? Oh no, he'll be scarred for life!"
"You take him to the Emergency Room and I'll go buy a bike helmet to protect his precious soft head."
If Dash 2 stumbles and bumps his head, the reaction is somewhat less frantic, but no less concerned...
"Cordon off the area! Why is that coffee table still in the room?!"
"Is that a bruise? Oh no, Child Protective Services are going to think we are beating him!"
"You take him to the Emergency Room and I'll go buy some bubble wrap for his head."
When Dash 3 stumbles and bumps his head, the reaction of the adults in attendance is entirely different...
"What's he crying about, now?"
"Did he scratch the coffee table?"
"Hey, look at that scratch on his face! Gonna call him 'Scarface!'"
"Ha, ha, ha... Third child."
Another example, just in case a slow Bama fan (the Colonel knows -- redundant) is reading...
A parental unit notices that Dash 1's pacifyer has fallen from his mouth and landed on the floor. Before said parental unit can react, Dash 1 has retrieved said pacifyer and put it back in his mouth.
"Call the Poision Control Center!"
(The Colonel will pause at this juncture to point out that inducing a baby to vomit is a complete waste of effort -- give any baby 15 or 20 seconds and it will regurgitate the entire contents of the last three bottles it has consumed. If you still feel the need to induce a baby to vomit, the easiest way is to put on a clean shirt and hold the baby on your shoulder...)
"Gather up all of his pacifyers and boil them for an hour and a half!"
The reaction to Dash 2 placing a dropped pacifyer back in his face is a little different...
"Give me that, you're gonna get worms!"
"Did you just spit up again? This is a clean shirt!"
"Here, take this pacifyer, the dog just licked it clean."
Dash 3 is allowed much greater freedom of movement than his older brothers. Said freedom of movement includes the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's flower beds...
"Hey, look! He's got a whole wad of dirt in his mouth! Looks like a major league pitcher."
"Gonna be gross when he spits all that up!"
"Hey, do they make dirt-flavored pacifyers?"
"Ha, ha, ha! Third child."
Dash 1's diet is closely monitored.
"No, you can't give the baby ice cream!"
"Okay, just a little taste of ice cream..."
"Man, look at him chow down on that fudge bar!"
"Hey, do they make Rocky Road-flavored pacifyers?"
"Ha, ha, ha! Third child."
Dash 3 completes his first air-breathing revolution around Ol' Sol this week.
Happy Birthday, Joshua Bradley Gregory!
"Hey look, he just took a big swig of coffee from the Colonel's mug!"
"Ha, ha, ha! Third Child."