Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Open Your Textbooks to the Chapter on Middle Child

Boy-Child#2 is our kid in the middle. Nestled comfortably betwixt (yes! an opportunity to use that word!) Boy-Child#1 and Girl-Child with just over 3+ years on either side of him. If you open your child development textbooks and search for "middle child", his photo will appear just under the heading with the caption "Yeah, this is the kid we were telling you about". And it will be this picture:


He wears this face a lot and usually there are very loud sounds escaping that megaphone open mouth. He is an attention seeker. Let me correct myself. He is an attention must-haver-right-nower. No matter what activity he is involved in he is informing you and the world about it at MAXIMUM VOLUME. He suffers from Look at Me Syndrome. We've also discovered that at times it isn't so much that he's informing us, it's more that he's convincing himself that he enjoys whatever it is he's doing. Some for instances:

Roller coasters: "THIS IS AWESOME!" (ignore thoroughly terrified expression).

Trip to the ocean: "I'M SWIMMING!" (well, he's not drowning)

While he's quick to take credit for his success, as he should, he's just as quick to blame someone or something else when failure occurs. For illustrative purposes:

1. His shirt getting wet when slipping off a rock into the river is the rock's fault. Not that HE slipped off it. No. Just that the rock existed in the first place.

2. Not scoring high enough on Wii Fit. The couch was in his way and it needs to be moved. Not that he was anywhere near the couch.

3. Losing to his big brother on Mario Kart. His big brother was doing that thing called "breathing". Oh, I'm sorry, I stand corrected. Big brother was "talking" which was an absolute distraction from his game controller capabilities.

4. Striking out in his softball game. The pitcher didn't pitch the ball correctly. Do not try to reason with him that if that were the case then he should not have swung at such a poorly executed pitch. He's quick to inform you that he could have done a better job. In fact, he should be pitching to himself.

5. Getting tagged out at first base. Stupid dirt. It was all there and slowing him down. There was that one pebble that held him back otherwise he would have been safe.

6. Not getting the picture he is drawing to come to fruition on the page precisely as he'd envisioned. If he had just used that OTHER pencil then it would certainly have been the most perfect Spongebob ever drawn.

7. He would have been done with his homework if I hadn't asked him how it was coming along. I mean, he was ALMOST DONE, but you know, I distracted him.

8. Losing at the card game "Spoons" because the cushion was not attached properly to his chair. Somehow this prevented him from grabbing the last spoon in the game. Fricken chair.

Needless to say we've had several discussions about what it means to be an individual without having to be the center of attention and also how we have to accept responsibility for our choices and also how sometimes shit just happens -then of course the fine art of explaining the delicate difference of shit just happening [lightning/fire] and making shit happen [match/fire]. For example: Boy-Child#1 is teasing Boy-Child#2 and in frustration, hits Boy-Child#1. His defense is that Boy-Child#1 MADE him do it [with the teasing] because if there'd been no teasing he wouldn't have hit his older brother. We then had to have a talk about making choices and he - ignoring all other options - chose to hit his older brother. Now I know I didn't need to elaborate on that last bit for you but I appreciate you bearing with me so that I could just ...BLAAAGH! Get it out there, as it were. Because after that last talk with him, his retort? "Yabbut he was teasing me! He made me do it"!

Oh, don't mind me. I'll just be over here banging my head against this here wall.

33 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh goodness! You know what? I have one just like him. Mine is five and while not technically the middle child (do I have to have 2 with middle child syndrome since I have 4? Please just say no!) he fits the description to a tee. Everything you said, plus a gigantic dose of nothing ever being enough or up to his expectations. So fun (insert eye rolling here!) Hang in there! I am hanging on for dear life too.

Indy said...

I have middle child who doesn't even have a younger sibling yet. Since he was a baby, we've said he was the middle child. I am the oldest so I am a little biased. But I hear you. It can be a challenge.

hulagirlatheart said...

What do you call it when your only child suffers from the same ailment? And should I assume she did NOT inherit it from her mother? HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW DRESS??!!

JoeinVegas said...

OH, sorry, I have no idea how to counteract that (it was our #1 son like that). But do something, else you will have a teenager full of road rage forcing people off the road. We have enough of those, please stop it early.

laughingatchaos said...

How is my oldest child exhibiting middle child characteristics? As well as oldest and youngest? Is it any wonder he's exhausting? He's a one person sibling group! LOL!
Yeah, you have your hands full with BoyChild#2. What is it with boys? ;)

calicobebop said...

As a middle-child myself, I've been guilty of that rationalization too. Teasing sucks! But so does a fist fight...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Hopefully after another 10 years of your constant and diligent parenting it will begin to sink in.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I think your #2 and my #3 are twins separated at birth. Nothing is ever his fault and he's never to blame but quick to paste it all on his brothers. HOW do you change this? Tell me O Tootsie!

Kristin said...

Your Middle sounds an awful lot like mine...

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

We are trying to teach my 4 year old daughter about taking responsibility for her actions - she's the queen of saying it's someone (or something) else's fault. I'm right there banging my head with you.

fairytalesandmargaritas said...

That last part- the logic/reasoning talk? EVERY SINGLE DAY in my house EVERY DAY!

Allie said...

Sometimes I think I want to have kids. And then there are times that I come back to reality and realize they aren't always cute and quiet and I don't really want them. That's all.

Jennifer H said...

Don't these sweet years just pass by too quickly?

Stop laughing.

The Girl Next Door said...

Having boy/girl twins I have no middle child, but SON makes up for it by being both youngest and middle maybe? He was so "not my fault" until he met his match - in his GIRLFRIEND who instantly says, "I didn't do it" upon doing something wrong! It kills him! Payback is wonderful....I wish you the same.

Angela Williams Duea said...

Ugh...I have a child with that "not my fault" gene also. Drives me crazy. Especially since she could argue the sun down out of the sky.

RC said...

Okay, so I am the middle child... Yes, we find we have to yell louder and more dramatically, in order to get the attention we crave.

As for the part of not taking responsibility, can I just advise you that he'll grow out of it? Just keep working on it with him!

Take care!

HRH said...

You are my yoda. To work in BOTH betwixt and yaabut in the same post.

*standing back studying you intently*

Is it creeping you out yet?

Swirl Girl said...

that's why I stopped at two kids.
Didn't want the middle child syndrome as I thought the "It's hard to be someone's hero" and the "you're the littlest one, so sometimes you just can't" syndromes were bad enough.

PS- is there room for a additional head denting on that thar wall?

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

So what you're saying is that one child is great? :)

The Introvert said...

I married one like that, but he's the youngest by a couple of minutes.

Madge said...

Is it possible that my two boys are really both middle children?

It all sounds too familiar!

While I'm writing this the six year old is saying, mommy look, mommy look, mommy look!

jenontheedge said...

Are you sure you're not describing MY child?

Marmarbug said...

Ah yes the middle child. It is a true syndrome. My brother has it BAD! So does my BIL.
Of course so does my son. But he is an only. Crap.
But seriously the biggest thing for middle kids is the blame factor. It is NEVEr their fault. My brother is 28 and STILL blames everyone but himself for his issues.
Good thing you see it now!!! My mom was in denial for YEARS!

(He is a cutie though!)

TheMama said...

I am an Oldest who maried a Middle. He's grown out of most of the middle-ness. Most.

And my parents were DEEP in denial over my siser's Middleness for YEARS. They're over it now, seeing as how she has not outgrown most of it.

Stu said...

Our first born does not believe that anything is his fault either.

-Stu

CarolG said...

I am a Middle Child. I was deeply fulfilled at about 20 years ago [I was an adult, married] when my older sister and I were traveling with my parents. My sister and I were sitting in the back seat and I got her to scream in frustration just by raising my eyebrows. All I can say is after years of doing the same to me she had it coming. About 25 years later it is still a treasured memory. In other words, yes, you will have to deal with this for a while yet - then again big brother may have truly had that smack coming!

Your Pal Pinki said...

OMG, that's my sister's middle kid. I'm sending her your link. LOL

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I've got one of those too.

Jan said...

My middle child (literally) is not only my only girl, but 21 to boot.

It's not getting any better.

It may never.

Damn.

Bunny Bunster said...

Which is why I quit at one!

Miss Jamie said...

I hope this doesn't sound sexist, especially considering it's coming from an ill-informed source (i.e. I do not have children), but I've noticed that syndrome most often with boy children.

That isn't to say girls don't do it. Hell, I'm pretty sure I STILL slip sometimes. Just sayin'

Karen said...

Um, I'm not sure that's middle child syndrome, 'cause I have one like that and she is NOT a middle child, I don't even HAVE a middle child. How old is he? Because in my house losing her xbox was because mom told her clean her room, I call it 9 year old syndrome.

Bonnie the Boss said...

Sounds a little like my 13 year old. Sheesh! Can I borrow your wall sometime?