I am the youngest. I am the only daughter.
Growing up the only girl amongst two boys certainly had its perks. By the time I came along, my parents were so desperate for a girl they warned me not to ask for details about how they "made sure" I came out female. I'm going to go ahead and believe it means they introduced more sugar and spice into their diet.
Of course, I was able to manipulate my father a lot better than the boys ever could. Since he was a strict disciplinarian, this was an advantage.
(Since I've moved away and he only gets to see me every few months, I can pretty much get whatever I want from him within the first 3 days of visiting home. After those 3 days are over, though, we usually have a huge fight because he feels neglected when I spend time at my friends' houses.)
I probably acquired more small, knick-knacky gifts than my brothers ever did, or ever wanted to. My father loves arts, crafts, jewelry, figurines, and--let's face it--most teenage boys don't.
My parents were also a lot more lenient with me than they were with, well...Julian. He sort of set the bar for bad behaviour. Anything I did paled in comparison.
Where my brothers are concerned, I know there isn't much they're not willing to do to keep me safe. On the other hand, growing up the youngest as well as the only daughter was also a struggle. As little sisters do, I trusted my brothers absolutely. As a result, I drank a lot of bug/dirt/vinegar/more-dirt cocktails.
I clearly didn't realize this picture was being taken.
When I was 5, Daniel convinced me he had to cut my hand off because I had dared to peel some dead, sunburned skin off his back. He led me to the kitchen, where he took out a cutting board and the biggest knife we owned. He had me place my wrist on the board, swung the knife back over his head, and ... told me he was kidding. I still remember bursting into tears. He still remembers the spanking.
Eventually, I grew old enough to start infiltrating Julian's house parties. My over-protective brother would white-knuckle his bottle whenever he saw me talking to one of his friends. One night, he angrily and drunkenly barricaded me in the bathroom with the lights off because he thought his friends were looking at me. No one would let me out; Julian's fists were notorious.
Until I was 17, I was officially known as "Julian's Sister." This annoyed me, but sometimes it came in handy. I can remember tackling some girl on the soccer field and when she picked herself back up, she warned me that she'd see me after the game, intending to teach me a lesson. The word must have spread, because 5 minutes later she ran up to me.
"I didn't realize you were Julian's Sister. We're cool."
And with a sportsman-like pat to my back, she jogged off.
Eventually I moved to Vancouver and thought I had finally reclaimed my birth-name. It was at a house party in the middle of no-where North Van that I was proven wrong. Someone had recognized me as...you guessed it, Julian's Sister. The name Ariana once again forgotten.
The thing that probably freaked them out the most was the thought of my upcoming, drunken, 19th birthday. Dad had called Daniel in Victoria the week before, trying to persuade him to travel to North Van, to "help" me celebrate.
"Dad, we can't afford it. Julian and I are broke."
"Don't worry, I'm paying. Just get over there and keep an eye on your sister."
Minutes later, the call came from Daniel.
"Julian and I thought we might come to Vancouver for your birthday!"
It would be their first visit in over a year. I had a sudden burst of insight.
"Dad's paying for this, isn't he?"
That night, at the bar, I had one brother watching from the table, and one from the edge of the dance floor. After a few songs, they would alternate. One would guard our drinks as the other would dance over, wedging himself between me and whichever guy got too close.
Now that we're all older, I have to put up with them constantly hitting on my friends. If the opposite were to happen, I'm sure they would find a suitable bathroom-prison somewhere.
Preferably not this one.
In the end, there is a workable balance between the perks and the disadvantages to being brought up with older, insanely protective men--just as there is to being brought up Biagi.