Third Child Syndrome

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

So, the husband and I have totally succumbed to second child syndrome. Basically, it’s when you put so much energy and effort into the first kid (a.k.a. “the experiment”), that you’re too exhausted to repeat it with the next one. Talk to the local family therapist for further explanation.

This week, I thought it would be fun to take this syndrome a step further (and thereby follow the comedic “rules of three”) with “third child syndrome.” It’s basically the other malady kicked up a notch. Reason I know about it is because I lived it.


Now I admit, I enjoyed my role as the happy accident 7 years after my sister. I was essentially an only child because my siblings were out of the house as I entered my teen years. But by then — let’s face it — my parents were old and tired. So I pretty much had the run of my life. Sure, it could get lonely, but I had friends, the upstairs to myself (with a hall phone whose cord could stretch through my closed door), and fairly liberal rules. Also, my brother and sister became a doctor and lawyer respectively, thus freeing me to be the unconventional one in the family.

Downsides? There were no more family funds for things like, say, private school; my brother went, my sister had the option; I had bubkes. Okay, so that’s a first world problem, and anyway, I enjoyed public school. But I had practically no baby photos. And, of course, there were the unseen things: I often didn’t garner the same respect as my older siblings.

But I think that last one made me very ambitious. I wanted people to take me seriously (note the irony of my profession). I’m sure some of that was my own nature, but still…it made me want to prove myself.


So here’s to all the 3rd, 4th, 5th (etc.) kids out there. We may not have been fed, clothed, or bathed as diligently as the first or second kid…but all that just made us more self-sufficient, right?

And as the cartoonist, I’ll make sure Lisa’s youngest, Noah, fares just as well.