When there were only two little guys in my life, I would talk to people about potentially having a third child. More than once, people advised me against doing so because then I would create a middle child. I kind of took offense to that as I am a middle child, the third of six.
I never considered being a middle child to be a bad thing. I thought it was cool that I was the only person in my family that had at least one older brother, younger brother, older sister and younger sister. I think I did suffer from ‘middle child syndrome’ to a small extent. My siblings and parents might say it was to a great extent but this is my blog so you get my version. I was a whiny, sensitive kid and I think I did long for attention, but heck, I was one of six kids and I’m not sure that my middle position had anything to do with that. My mother once told me, jokingly, that I should have been an only child because I required so much attention.
Because of the stigma associated with a middle child, I try to be sensitive to Sully’s needs. Any parent who has more than one child comes to the realization that each child is unique and they require different things from you, so you give them what they need. Brady needs a lot of supervision, redirection, someone to challenge him and help him channel his energy. Colin is still a nursling so he needs mommy round the clock. Sully is just easy, he doesn’t need a whole lot. He’s three, so sure, there’s the occasional meltdown because his blue striped shirt isn’t clean or because I cut up his banana the wrong way. For the most part, though, he’s a happy, easy-going guy. Clearly he has gotten his personality from his father.
On Fridays, when I’m off work and Brady’s at school and Colin is taking his morning nap, it’s just me and Sully. Most Fridays I use that time to do housework. Sully will just sit in a room and entertain himself with his two hands being two different characters in a play he creates in his head, or he’ll look at a book, or play on Nick Jr. He never asks for anything nor does he need me to entertain him, but sometimes on Friday, I put the housework aside and I pull him into my lap and read a book with him, or watch a show together, or just have a conversation with him. I cherish those one on one moments with my middle child. He has also become my grocery shopping buddy and he looks forward to saying ‘hi’ to the fishes and lobsters at Meijer, and I look forward to spending an hour with just him and me.
I hope these little things are enough to ward off him feeling neglected or resenting his middle position. I tell him how cool it is that he is the only kid in the family with an older brother and younger brother and I hope he grows up appreciating being squeezed in the middle.