As I shared in my initial post as a Omaha Mom Blogger, my third kid was a surprise. She is now 9 months old, the BEST baby I have had so far, and I cannot imagine life without her. I often tell my MIL that she is “the baby I never knew I wanted.” But having her moved me into some territory that I have never even been in.
Having a Middle Child.
So, I grew up with an older brother and I was the youngest, the baby, who always got her way. My husband had an older sister, too, so he is new to this. Now I am a mom of all girls, and there are three of them (I often count them in public to make sure I have them all.) So this puts me in uncharted territory yet again.
Having a Middle Child.
I often heard other moms talking about “middle child” syndrome. What the heck is that I often wondered, but I never thought about it for too long. I only had two kids, and my brain was too full as it was. I wasn’t going to have another kid….and then it happened.
Having a Middle Child.
I need some help ladies. I feel like I am so focused on this “middle child” syndrome lately that I am not allowing her to grow. I am “forcing” this middle child behavior.
So let me tell you about Charlotte. She is beautiful, sweet, smart, artistic, sensitive, and much to my suprise…shy. This is the opposite of my first child (and me) so I was already in uncharted waters. My family is a social family, we love people, we never meet strangers. This was all okay until she then became the middle kid, and I started to question how I treated her. I then began to focus so much on her being the middle child that I forgot she is #1, just a child #2, she is who she is and #3 I need to chill.
My daughters are two years apart so friends often invite both of them to parties (which I DO appreciate a great deal). Well I(all on my own) decided that Charlotte needs her OWN friends and OWN parties and that her sister does not need to tag along. So I told Charlotte that Sissy was not going to go, that this was HER party and HER friends. I told her, “Won’t this be fun? This is just yours.” She was not too eager about it and then I forced it on her all week. “You get to go by yourself, no sissy, just you, won’t it be fun?” (I kept saying over and over).
Well the day of the party came and all of a sudden, she did not want to go. She was acting quiet. I, of course, get upset and tell her that we RSVP’d, so we have to go. I ask my husband, “What is wrong with her? Who does not want to go to a party? I just do not get it.” When we arrived at the party (the older sister is with us) and I tell her we are going to go in, we had full on MELT DOWN MODE. Tears and cries came as Charlotte exclaimed that she didn’t want to stay. So I did what any mom would, I took her in the bathroom with her screaming and crying to discipline her to tell her that she was going to stay at this party and she was going to have fun dangit. She went to the party still crying.
It then hits me: She never asked to go to the party without her sister; she never asked for this all to herself. I then ask her, “Do you want Sissy to stay?” And she looks at me with those beautiful blue eyes.”Yes mommy.” And then she did a complete 180. She was all smiles, she was laughing, enjoying the party. I was so focused on her not being a middle child that I forgot that she is just a child.
I never asked her what she wanted, I decided this was something she needs. This was awake up call to me that I was the one focused on this NON issue. I vowed to stop even thinking of her as a middle child and remember that she is a child. She is growing, learning, she has her own personality, and she is my Sweet Charlotte.
And then last week she did something amazing. We were all going to get our flu shots, three kids means three. I figured we would go oldest to youngest but Charlotte VOLUNTEERED to go first. “I’ll go first mommy.” In my head I am thinking, “Yeah right.” But then the time comes and there she goes, jumping up on the table and laying down. Yes she cried but she volunteered to go BEFORE her big sister. I do not think I have ever been more proud.
I want to stop looking at her as the middle and look at her as Charlotte. She is shy, she takes longer to warm up to people, she is sensitive. This is not because she is a middle kid. This is who she is. She is also the sweetest of my three and the best Big Sister and Little Sister. I often remind her that she is the only one that gets to be BOTH. This makes her very special.
So you moms dealing with middle kids, we’d love advice on how you choose to place your focus. Any tips on navigating these waters? We would love to hear them!