Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Middle

The Middle - not the tv show (which is great by the way) - but I'm talking about middle children.  Right now we don't have a middle child.  We have the "big boys" (John-Paul and Andrew) and "the littles" (Eamon and Maggie).  But when Baby Boo arrives, we will have a definitive middle child. 


And boy oh boy, Eamon is probably the one child of ours that will do poorly in this role.  He already has it hard not being a "big boy" like his older brothers, and instead gets clumped with Maggie all the time.  While the big boys wear uniforms to school, play on various sports teams, can swim without floaties, read books, and are tall enough to go on the cool rides, Eamon is stuck in the group with Maggie that goes to preschool, is too little for sports (except track), needs help swimming, requires books being read to him, and is forced to take naps on the weekend.

He doesn't quite get it, because he's convinced he is one of the boys, and every time he gets left in the dust, he takes it really, really hard.  He also barely ever gets anything new for himself.  He wears hand me down clothes, plays with hand me down toys, and sleeps in one of the old beds that became his when the older boys got a bunk bed.

If I buy someone else in the family a new pair of shoes, or item of clothing that they need, Eamon's eyes will inevitably fill up with tears as he asks, "But what about me?"  I don't know what to do, since I can't buy him a special treat every time somebody else gets something they need.  We try and explain that so-and-so needed the item, and when he needs something, we will provide that too.  But his sad little four-year-old mind just gets wrapped up in the feeling of being left out.  My other kids don't really feel this way, the older boys "get" it, and Maggie is a little too young too care, but Eamon takes it especially hard.

I fear that when number five comes into our family, the middle child syndrome will only makes things worse.  But maybe I am just worrying for no reason (so like me).  Maybe middle children only truly feel like they don't belong when there are three children in the family.  Maybe in a big family, there are a few "middle children" that can bond together. 

I was number 5 of 6 kids, but because my next oldest sister was six years older than me, I felt like an oldest child with my younger sister two years below me.  I paved the way in several new school systems that my older siblings never attended, and nobody knew me just because of my last name.  Yet, when our whole family was together, I was just one of many kids who could sneak by without getting too much attention.  I loved my family position.

Are any of you middle children, or have middle children?  What can I do to help my Little E?  He's such a joy to this mother's heart, and I hate to think of him upset in any way.  Maybe the answer is just to have an even number of children so there is no one middle child ;)


  1. I was the oldest of 3 (and the only girl) and we currently have 3 children (all girls) with 1 on the way (a surprise). We have had a middle child and will soon split things. Felicity has struggled a bit being the middle child. She still wants to be the baby and her older sister is a much louder and more dominant personality than hers. I have noticed she has learned to speak up more though, I think, because it was necessary. But she is also my most sensitive child and so we have tried to be more careful with her.

    What helped with Felicity might also help Eamon. We tried to give her more personal snuggle time or personal play time. We try to give her some special time that she enjoys, just for her. Eamon might like some special time, either with you or daddy, where he isn't grouped with his baby sister. He probably would also like something, anything, he could do with his big brothers without his baby sister. Even if it is only once a week or something, something to make him feel like "one of the boys."

    Eamon is only 2/3 younger than his brothers....surely there are some things they can do as brothers like play on a playset or build blocks/legos or something?

  2. I'm the same as you: #5 of 6 and my sister was 9 years older. All brothers. So we had an older set of siblings who grew up and went away. Then there was the younger set of siblings. He'll start to understand in no time. My sister has a daughter, 4 boys, and another daughter. The boys all have very specific and different activities (lacrosse, chess, irish dancing, wrestling) so they don't feel like the middle child even though they share everything. I think Eamon will be okay in a few years when he has some independence!!!

  3. Oh, he is breaking my heart. Poor little E!!!
    I have no clue about any of this...I was the youngest of TWO. So, no middle children...and of course, I did not HAVE a middle child either.
    Perhaps when he gets a bit older, he will realize that he is just as special.

  4. My K is the middle child and with homeschooling, he gets lost in the shuffle. I really try to make sure that I take time just for him. We go on "dates" and I have ven bought him special school books so that he feels special.

    E is probably having a tough time too because he is the youngest boy and does not feel like he fits in with his brothers. That is soemthing that will change, I am sure over the next couple of years.

  5. This was my biggest concern when I got pregnant with Kam. Makenna {my middle} sounds so much like your Eamon. She's VERY sensitive, takes things personally, and has so many personality traits of a "youngest" {very very, um, shall we say, un-motivated, etc.} Luckily there was enough of an age difference between Makenna and Kam that she seemed more of an older one, and she gets paired with Sierra a lot. Of course, now that we'll be having our 4th I don't worry so much about having a middle {my worries have switched to poor Kam and how she's going to adjust to not being the baby anymore!}. But I'm still careful with Makenna. Or I try to be. I think she will always be the one who needs a little extra.

  6. Peter is a middle child and is still suffering from middle child syndrome-not so much any more. Well he is in a three kid family-with an older brother and younger sister-so I guess that explains a lot :)

    If e has a hard time you could always try and make "the middle" be a special role that only he can do. Maybe make a "middle day" to recognize him or make special things that only the middle child can do-like clean the toilet--jk :)

    OR just have a #6 and problem solved!!

  7. I have the same thing coming up with my Adam! Similar circumstances, except he has two older sisters. I don't think it's anything to worry about. All these things are what make each person unique!

  8. Sounds like E is sensitive so I would definitely try to give him speacial time or make a special date or outing with him. I would also say giving him something brand new every now and then would be good just because hand me downs just aren't fun sometimes. My brother is the middle of 3 and he has always resented not being the oldest or the baby. Being the oldest boy didn't seem to matter. He constantly complained that there are not enough pictures of him, just him. He's either always with me or our younger brother. Middle child syndrom is definitely something to worry about because my brother refuses to speak to me now. Sad, but I can't change him. I like your idea of having many middle kids so they bond together. =)

  9. well he won't be a middle once #6 or #7 or #8 comes along...lol.

    well i have 3 boys. the oldest boy was always the oldest and got special attention from everyone. By the time boy #3 came along everyone was like, ohhhh ANOTHER boy (not me though). By others in our family boy 3 definately always got the shaft. Once the older 2 boys were in school Boy 3 had another year of preschool and was left to be a baby with sofia. It wasn't all bad. They have a special bond that the older 2 boys don't have with sofia. he is kind to her and the girl influence isn't such a bad thing.

    anyway...it was hard on him feeling left out for that one year of preschool but once he started K at the same school with his brother than he was included again and feels more grown-up now.
    I really don't have these thoughts anymore at all although I did last year. He isn't left out anymore now that he is in school like the rest...he is more accpeted by the other 2 now thats he a big school boy.

    so i think you are worrying for nothing. family dynamics change with child. and they will again if you have a 6th and so on and so on...

    as far as things it will never be equal once you have three or more children. someone always gets hand me downs, someone always gets less, so what--thats life. things aren't important.

    i baby the 3rd boy when he needs babying, and i treat him big when he needs to be treated big. i give him special attention when he needs it etc---just as i and i am sure you do already. don't fret. have faith. the more kids the merrier always.


Talk to me...