Friday, June 29, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Chris Murray, the lucky winner of Jackie Bouchard's e-book, WHAT THE DOG ATE!  Enjoy, Chris!  And thanks to all who entered!

Yes, I’m the Baby; But Don’t Look at Me That Way
by Jackie Bouchard

When people find out I am the youngest of six children, the phrase most often said is, “So, you’re the baby.” (The second most-often said thing is: “You’re Catholic?” Although I’m proud of my big family and love having so many siblings, I’ve always found it a little embarrassing to have my religion easily pegged by the sheer numbers of us…) 

Anyway, the “You’re the baby” comment generally comes with a look that seems to size up whether I fit the classic Baby profile— an assessment of my rate of spoilage.

Birth order: That’s what I want to talk about today. I’ve always been interested in where people fall in their familial lineup, and I believe there’s some truth to the traits often ascribed to each position. I touch on this in my novel, WHAT THE DOG ATE. The heroine, Maggie, is overly-analytical, responsible and rule-obsessed; she pretty much had to be the eldest child. In contrast, her happy-go-lucky, quit-jobs-and-relationships-on-a-whim brother has “baby” written all over him.
In the novel, I also touch on how their birth order affects their relationships with their mother. (My own mother has a tendency to talk to my eldest sister about things like her will and, the always cheery subject, death. With me, we talk about what we’re reading and funny things the dog did.)

On the other hand, in my current work-in-progress novel, the loner, “I can do it myself!” heroine needed to be an only child.

For a long time I wasn’t sure I fully agreed with the usual stereotypes about birth order placement: namely that the eldest is the most responsible, often an over-achiever; the middle child is often adrift or a people-pleaser, trying to find his/her place in things; and the baby is spoiled and indulged to the point that he/she grows up being the most free-wheeling of the family.

Personally, I consider myself to be uber responsible and a border-line over-achiever. The last words I would use to describe myself would be “free spirit.” I admit I’m a rule-follower, just like Maggie. So, when people give me that Baby-assessment stare, I usually say, “I’m not a typical baby though.” I’m not sure they believe me, and I’m sure my siblings would have something to say on whether I’m spoiled or not. (Luckily they don’t get to write this post!)

Then, about fifteen years ago, I stumbled upon an article by a researcher discussing how your birth-order personality traits will be affected if there is at least four years between siblings. He hypothesized that a baby four years behind the rest becomes a sort of combo-plate of First/Only child traits. That’s it! I thought. This guy has me to a tee! Since I’m six years behind everyone, this explains my responsible/loner self! So, I was right all along—I’m not a typical baby. This also explains my hubby, also the baby, also Mr. Responsibility, also six years behind his brother.

Some researchers dispute the birth order theories, but I think there’s a lot to be said for them. I like to use them in my writing to help me get a feel for who my characters are. What about you? Do you consider your characters’ birth order? Do you think your own personality has been at least somewhat influenced by where you fall in the lineup? I’d love to hear what you think.

Leave a comment below answering one of Jackie's questions about birth order (Where do you fall in your family?  If you're a writer, do you consider birth order with your characters?) and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of WHAT A DOG ATE. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Friday, July 6th, so get your comments in by midnight on Thursday, July 5th.

Many thanks to my writing pal and fellow dog-lover, Jackie Bouchard, for being a part of Authorpalooza today!  May you have great success with WHAT THE DOG ATE!

Book blurb:

The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.

This is how Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, discovers that her husband of seventeen years is cheating on her. All her meticulous life plans are crushed. When he leaves her for the other woman, Maggie and her the-world-is-my-smorgasbord chocolate Lab, Kona, are left to put their lives back together. As Maggie begins to develop a Plan B for her life, she decides to be more like Kona. No, she's not going to sniff crotches and eat everything that isn't nailed down; rather she'll try to approach life with more ball-chasing abandon. Finding herself in situations where she begins to go through her usual over-analysis of the pros and cons, she stops and instead asks herself: What would Kona do? With Kona as her guru, Maggie begins her quest for tail-wagging joy.

WHAT THE DOG ATE is a funny, tender story of mending a broken heart and finding love and a new life right under your nose, with woman's best friend at your side. If you enjoyed Claire Cook's MUST LOVE DOGS or Lolly Winston's GOOD GRIEF, you'll love WHAT THE DOG ATE and be rooting for Maggie and Kona.

Purchase WHAT THE DOG ATE at:

Visit Jackie Bouchard at:


  1. Tracie - thanks so much for letting me join in the 'paloozaing fun!!

  2. DISCLAIMER: I am Jackie's sister (the one older than her by 6 years). Frankly, I was the spoiled baby until she came along and ruined it for me. Not that I'm BITTER about that. Not sure how that has affected my personality - except that I'm BITTER. :)

  3. Jackie, this is a great topic! I'm the oldest of three and I think I'm the stereotypical eldest. Sometimes I just exhaust myself with trying to have my hands in a million places at once. haha

    My husband is the baby of two and this is where the "birthing order" topic throws me off. He's only the baby by 2 years or so and he's definitely not a baby in stereotypical terms. Very much a take-charge kind of man, keep things in control (or at least a tick below chaotic and crazy when I get my hands firmly on the wheel), but he's also relaxed and able to just let things 'be.' If anyone's the spoiled little baby I think it'd be me. lol

    I tend to write characters that generally follow the "birthing order," but sometimes it's fun to mix things up. Like my protagonist in my recent book, Sophie. She's the baby but you'd never know it. She's a self-proclaimed (and evident) control-aholic.

    Thanks for the free book opp and have a great weekend!
    -Savannah Page

  4. I'm Jackie's older sister Jean. .I'm a middle child. Definitely trying to keep peace and please everyone. It's a sickness. And yes....Jackie is crazily responsible while Kathy was our spoiled brat (not any more though.)

  5. great post and the book looks very intriguing. I'm an artist, not a writer, but I was the family baby, a rule breaker, happy go lucky, and my art shows it. Please enter me in this contest:

  6. I'm the youngest of 3 girls. My mom says things she wouldn't normally say to my other sisters we go to movies read she supports my review site and we are bff's now. I'm also kind of the caretaker now that my parents are both sick. My oldest does the "adult stuff" with her. And my middle sister I just don't know.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    <3 Tobi
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  7. I'm the oldest of four, and I'm the one who organizes things and tries to keep it together when everyone else is falling apart!

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. Fun to see where folks fall in the family and if they fit the usual profile! And, yes, my next oldest sister really is bitter about being usurped as The Baby. Very, very bitter. :)


  9. I'm the oldest.