I valued my time alone.  It gave my mind the time to roam completely free like a free range chicken.  I would wander through the creek while devising all sorts of questions and scenarios and just daydream them along to see how my simulations might work out.  This can have the wonderful effect of allowing one to work through problems in a way that others might not have considered.  It can also be very problematic in school.  The way I looked at it, as in evolution, diversity of styles allows for there to be one individual to push through a problem in a way that might have escaped others.  Or at least that was my thinking. In later years, my teachers may have disagreed.    After a while, when I started to tire of my daydreams, a wonderful thing happened,  my older brothers got home from school!  The house would get so lively and interesting.  This was my typical day at age five.

Everybody would spread out and stake their own claims.  Steve, the oldest was a star at anything sports.  He was extremely competitive and did very well in his sphere.  The second oldest Mark, being a couple of years younger was not going to be able to succeed in this scenario, he had to find his own mountain to climb.  Mark built HAM radios, was a star at chess and was interested in all things science and reptilian.  Chris was enough younger than Steve to not feel like he needed to compete.  He tagged along, and Steve took him under his wing.  While Steve was the star, and flashy, Chris was the quiet understudy.  He did not practice trying to shine, that was futile, but he did patiently practice being good, and good he became.   I, being quite a number of years younger, was all mixed up.  In this place in family dynamics, I was a mix of youngest, only and oldest child.

Family dynamics and birth order are perhaps the most powerful outside influence in making us who we are.   It’s my guess that one of the major reasons is that people tend to want their own area of exploration and excellence.  The dynamics of mixed gender families gets a little muddled with birth order and gender roles competing with each other and complicating things.  Our family of boys seemed to make for a good template of the standard model.