Younger Child Syndrome This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I think that I am coming down with something. Yes, I have definitely developed something, although I seem to have had it my whole life! It is not the dreaded flu, not bronchitis, not a simple, annoying cold. It is a disease much worse than any known to mankind: Younger Child Syndrome, YCS, for short.

It all starts with the two baby books. When my sister and I were born, my parents bought baby books for the both of us. One day I happened to stumble across them, and looked at my sister's. On the first page it said, "Place picture of baby here, mother here and father here." All three pictures were there, neatly pasted on: Mom, Dad, and Nicole. Then I shifted over to my book and discovered I wasn't special enough to get these three pictures. Instead of seeing my parents and me, they forgot to put me in and decided to put just one picture of my mom and my SISTER!

Then I decided to flip through both books, and saw that Nicole's book had significantly more information, more pictures, and more detail of her childhood. I didn't find this fair - my mom wrote down everything that happened to Nicole; she must have done it every day. Every line was filled in; the book practically bulged. In mine, instead of writing day-to-day things, my mom managed to skip a few years. To sum it all up, here is what she wrote in my baby book: "Robyn Sara Stern - Born February 16, 1982 ... At four years old, we made the big move from the apartment in Riverdale to the new house in New City."

Now that Nicole is in college, it seems like my parents are concerned mostly with her. It is understandable; I mean, their little baby went away. I wouldn't be surprised if they started to keep a book of her at college, a second baby book, although some of the pictures would probably be disturbing: instead of happy baby pictures, they would have to paste in telltale pictures of her when she is a little too happy. But I'm sure every parent realizes what her child will do when she has freedom at college. Luckily, my parents have accepted that.

At this point in time, my family still does not realize that YCS is serious. Instead they take it as a joke, and laugh every time I bring up the baby books. I hope that I don't have to live with YCS for the rest of my life. I hope my parents will come out of it, eventually. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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