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 ;)