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Stuck In The Middle

A couple of weeks ago people across the nation celebrated National Middle Child Day.  Usually, I don’t pay much mind to all the many “National” Holidays cause there are just so darn many. I am way too busy trying to remember what day of the week it is to add anything new to the calendar.

But on Wednesday, August 12, I thought that it would be fun to acknowledge National Middle Child day as we have our very own middle child, my “Munchkin” who is definitely worth celebrating.

Almost two years ago he became a middle child when we welcomed our little girl “Bean” into the family. Until then, I had heard all of these horror stories about what having a middle child would mean. According to friends and family, the middle child goes through something called “Middle Child Syndrome”. I was forewarned that my youngest son would become weird, awkward, and be the blacksheep of the family.
Because of all the warnings, I was determined to not let that happen. There was no way I was going to let my baby boy become the forgotten one just because his sister was born. I was determined to give him just as much attention as I did before child number 3.
And then she was born…And I totally understood why “Middle Child Syndrome” becomes a thing.

Parents are all to blame! In my household I am partly to blame. My husband is the other part, but until he realizes it, we will just focus on my shortcomings. He’ll just have to get his own blog to work out his issues.

According to the urban dictionary, middle child syndrome happens because the oldest child is usually the overachiever, the attention hog. The middle child is the less demanding one, that just goes with the flow, making it easy to become the “forgotten one”, and then there’s the baby, which comes with his or her own set of needs that babies require. Well, darn you urban dictionary, it’s all true. Well, partially true. I can’t actually say that my oldest son Papi is an overachiever. Being a pre-teen, he’s simply overly annoying (not on purpose, just by default). But he definitely is and has always been an attention hog. His first words may have been “look at me”. First born, first grandchild, it comes with the territory. Then number two was born and while we were so very excited and blessed to add him to our family, there was definitely a different tone in how I responded to meeting his needs. With the first child, every little cry caught my attention. If a person simply looked at him and caused him to cry, that person was banished and never to return until my baby felt comfortable. With my second son, I got over all of that real quick, cause, ain’t nobody got time for that! While I understood that he too was precious cargo, I also understood at this point in motherhood, that he wasn’t fragile fine china. He was not going to break if I let him cry a bit. I didn’t have to walk around with him strapped on my chest to be considered a good and attentive mother. And while this behavior of mine did not make him “a forgotten child”, it did contribute to him becoming a more “go-with the flow” kid. He learned to entertain himself if I was busy. He learned to be patient until his needs were met and as he became older, he learned to meet some of his own needs much quicker than his older brother did at his age. And then he had his big brother to hang out with so he wasn’t right under me like Papi was for the first 3 years of his life. Fast forward to 2013 when baby girl was born. She is our first girl, the first granddaughter, and the last baby that I plan to have. Plus, she has two big brothers who are giving her anything and everything, which is actually just fueling a little high maintenance monster (but in a cute sort of way).

Yet, with all that said, there is something beautiful to be said about my little middle child.

Something that I think is overlooked when people think of middle children. Middle children have an advantage in their birth order. They are the only people in the family with someone to look up to and someone to look up to them. They naturally become a teacher and a student amongst their siblings. They also tend to pick up some other great traits because of their birth order. My munchkin is the most compassionate and cooperative one out of the bunch. He is also the most observant one. He studies his big brother carefully to see the choices he makes and decides whether he wants to follow suit or make a different choice and he tries very hard to be a great influence for his little sister.
One National Middle Day, I asked him how it feels to be in the middle. He explained to me that it’s hard because he has to do what his big brother tells him to do (not true , but you see what lies his big brother feeds him), and then he has to share with his little sister even when he doesn’t want to (also not true, but he falls for her tears and just gives in to her all the time). He couldn’t see why or how being the middle child was a good thing even worth celebrating. We sat talking about the great things he is able to do, not because he is a middle child, but strictly because he’s just an awesome kid.  By the end of the night, he was grinning from ear to ear as I explained to him that just like an Oreo cookie, a Peanut Butter and Jelly, and a set of bookends, all the good stuff is in the middle. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s my favorite middle child!

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: Do you think that birth order plays a part in the formation of personality? Where do you fall in birth order of your siblings? Are you an only child? What role do you think that played in who you are?