Updating the parental curse

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

If you've ever had parents, then you've heard of the parental curse. That's when your mother or father, in complete and utter frustration, looks you straight in the eye and says: When you grow up, I hope you have a child that behaves just like you do.

As the mother of several children, however, I have discovered a curse that works much sooner. It is: I hope you have a little brother or sister that behaves just like you do!

Now you might think that's a terrible thing. After all, if you wish for your child to have a younger sibling that acts just like him, aren't you also cursing yourself?

Not really. Mine is an indescribable joy when I hear my nine-year old son complain about his younger brother who mimics his every move.

What a thrill it is for his older sisters who have had to endure his antics. Now he has a younger brother that whines, teases, steals and breaks toys and copycats. In fact, a favorite expression around here is, "Now you know what WE feel like!"

But that's not all. The younger child serves other purposes beyond annoying his older brother. For example, people are really concerned about teenage pregnancies. I say, let them babysit. That alone could make the popularity of abstinence soar.

It would be a most effective method of reducing the birth rate among teenagers if we just outfitted our two-year olds and three-year olds with t-shirts that say, "Just say no!" and then saddled every teen with one for at least two hours every afternoon.

A few diapers to change, several mishaps to clean up, and the general chaos that one of those munchkins can cause would make most teens set their sights on a college education if for no other reason than to delay starting a family.

Just one day with my child would convince any young woman to send her amorous suitor away with an incredulous laugh. "You have GOT to be kidding! Have you met Mrs. Barker's son? No way. I'll WAIT."

Yes, everyone knows MY youngest son. He makes Dennis the Menace look like a saint. A police officer was in our neighborhood the other day and my youngest said hello. The officer responded, 'Oh, I remember you!"

That's not what a mother wants others to hear. Yes, this is my son the streaker who frequently breaks out of the house and makes a run for it, sending us all into hysterics.

I'm absolutely certain that he's a living curse for his older sibs and the poster child for abstinence in the new millennium.

If you don't believe me, I'm looking for a sitter. Just give me a call.