Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"clowns to the left, jokers to the right and here i am, stuck in the middle with you"

before june was born, ben used to give leah a biiiiig hug and jokingly say,

"oh you poor girl, you're now going to be the crazy middle child."

of course, he would say this knowing that

a middle

i always felt proud of being the middle child, the one who didn't ruffle feathers too much, who liked hanging back for the most part.  i actually didn't like a lot of attention, and pretty much loathed a shining spotlight.

so whenever ben would make a jab at my cute little leahpants, i would defend her honor.

"that just means she gets to be the sweet, easy-going kid!  at least she won't end up a spoiled brat like the youngest kids of families do."

{no offense, my sweet baby junealicious....i was only saying this to jab back at your father who is, in fact, the youngest--technically a twin, but treated as the youngest--of his family}

ben, being the spoiled baby that he is, then had to list all of the poor qualities of the middle child.  {of course he had memorized them, as spoiled babies tend to do} i couldn't believe it!  i hadn't heard of all of these negative characteristics before.

so i did what middle children do---and tried to call his bluff.  i google searched "middle child characteristics"  and woah boy!  did i pull up a seriously depressing list.  hold on to your hats.  {for the middle children--my peeps! :  a warning.  you might feel like jumping off of a bridge after reading this.}

"The middle child, unlike the others, is not given much attention. The following are just some characteristics that define middle children. Note that not all of them or maybe even none may be observed in middle children. Middle children have low self-esteem. They need support for anything they do, sometimes talents are wasted when they do not pursue their dreams. Middle children have a feeling of emptiness.They are always lonely and are jealous of others. This is a very broad trait, since it affects every aspect of their lives. They may be a little weird, unfriendly and even worse, psychotic because of this feeling of emptiness. The two traits mentioned above can interact differently with different personalities. For example, an introvert middle child may prove to be more depressed and lonely than the extrovert middle child. There are a lot of possibilities for middle children, but the results are mostly negative."

well, there you have it. 

my favorite part?  "they may be a little weird..."  that one struck me as randomly funny.

and as i was reading these traits, and trying to pick up my shattered ego off of the floor.....who happened to walk by but this lady:

who was wearing a bike helmet on her head, a pair of june's socks on her hands, a big poofy skirt over her pants, her hair in pigtails, and holding in each gloved {socked} hand, a plain noodle from lunch a few minutes earlier, talking to them and singing about how they are friendly snakes.

and i smiled at her and thought to myself,

she is so weird.

then stopped myself.  oh, no!  i've totally created the middle child monster in my own daughter!  this must be corrected before it's too late.  i am going to give my poor, forgotten middle child the attention she deserves, darn it, and talk about her for the rest of this post.

leah is an absolute crack-up.  yes she wears crazy things on her head and hands and feet at pretty much all times of the day.  she sleeps with her hippo on top of her face.  when we drive in the car with the windows down, as soon as we pull up next to another car with windows down, she'll yell out a really loud, "HI FRIENDSTH! WHATCHA DOIN?" 

she could have totally been potty trained a good 6 months ago, but honestly?  i just didn't feel like it.  i like to potty train my kids late, and move them to big-kid beds late too.  {it had nothing to do with me forgetting about her, maybe it was because i need support in everything i do??  because i'm the middle child??} but she announces to me every time she's going #1 or #2.  in public that's a whole lot of fun, especially because i congratulate her each time to encourage her.  it doesn't even phase me anymore.

she laughs when she burps, and has to walk around the room while she prays. 

she is both friendly and shy, it's such a funny combination.  she has no problems with nursery or playing with friends, and has easily gone into situations like that from the first day with no fear.  i love that about her.

we signed her up for a little kid's fitness class to give her something to do, and she loved it.  but when the teacher would talk to her, i noticed she was more quiet than she is at home.  she knows colors, shapes, animals, numbers, letters, all of it. but when she's asked by an adult who isn't someone she's particularly close to...she just smiles at them.

she is extremely talkative, we carry on conversations all day long.  i find i'm having to remind myself that she's only 2, especially when she says things like, "mom, i'd like to share an idea with you!" and then goes on to tell me whatever thoughts are swirling around in her brain.

she has multiple songs and books memorized, long books and she makes the characters use different voices.  she tells me what she dreams about when she wakes up in the morning.  she loves being outside.

she is a master at torturing her brother, and he loves to tattle on her.  one day, i heard some sort of scuffle going on in his bedroom between the two of them, and i heard caleb yell out, "I'M TELLING!" then heard leah quickly follow with, "NO, I'M TELLING!"

and i thought to myself, this should be interesting.

they both came charging up to me, wanting to be heard.  caleb had arrived first, so i told him to go ahead and then it was leah's turn. {always second, in true poor-middle-child-fashion.  wink.}

"MOM, LEAH HIT ME!"  he screeched.

"okay leah, your turn.  what would you like to tell me?"  i asked her, thinking she would defend her honor.

"MOM, I HIT CALEB!!"  she yelled in reply, tattling on herself.  i busted up laughing, so did caleb.  so did leah. 

she is so sweet with june, another thing i'm thankful for.  knock on wood, she is soft and sensitive to her, and always announces to me when she's crying.  over and over and over and over again, until i get the chance to pick june up.

she loves music, and we dance a lot around here.  she spins, points her toes.  she is easily self-entertained.  she has an amazing imagination.  she loves the "little einsteins."

leah is spunky, and fun, and hilarious, and sometimes a little devil of a child, but in a good way.  now i'm going to go and play with her, making up some sort of game together, i'm sure.

my lovely, not-forgotten, middle child,
who is going to achieve whatever the heck you want to in life,
{and i'm sure no matter what, you're going to be awesome.}

i'm going to dance to this song with you today.
and enjoy being right where we are.


Rachel Holloway said...

what a sweet, sweet girl.

I suppose the only solution is to have another--or then will the 2 middle children carry on those hilarious traits? :) lol

You're a great middle child--and I wouldn't change a thing about you!

Rachel Chick said...

Middle children are awesome. And I wouldn't say any of those things fit my Elsie. And she will be a VERY middle child. Some people just try to find reasons to justify themselves, I say. Or maybe therapists make up crap to give people something to feel bad about. :)

Anyway. Your description reminds me so much of my Lilie. Now, second children - I think they definitely have some distinct traits. Smart little observers who love to pester and are a bucket of fun and don't like everyone looking at them. :)

Rachel Chick said...

Also loaded with sass and weirdness.

ClancyPants said...

Middle child, right here. Number three of five. Sometimes some of those things described are true for me. Sometimes some of them run me because I'm still learning how to stop operating in ways that no longer serve me.

Any position we have in our family is challenging because families are challenging. Mortality is challenging. I definitely have some middle child tendencies and I'm definitely capable of tackling them and changing them, bit by bit, lesson by lesson. Lessons we need for our growth are served in many ways, one of which is the position we are in our families and the resulting dynamic.

We all get to choose how we play the cards we're dealt and it's all so beautifully orchestrated.


And, high fives to all the middle children!

Jessica Marie said...

I'm a middle child of 5 and don't believe all the negative descriptions. There are some really positive things about being the middle child:

They can usually read people really well and are people who can see both sides of a situation (like the older and younger siblings.) They are able to get along with almost anything and we don't need to be attention hogs. If the firstborn is the CEO and the youngest is spoiled, then the middle child is the entrepreneur. We generally seem more service oriented.

Famous middle children include Bill Gates, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, the current Dalai Lama, and Warren Buffett.

Sarah and Addison said...

Another middle child right here. Middle of three and certainly weird. Just a note about weirdness--weird people are cool. I think being in the middle fosters imagination and self-reliance, which is obvious from your descriptions of Leah and I know Rachel's Lillie is another example. Stuck in the middle is a great place to be. The older kids look out for you and the younger ones look up to you--best of both worlds. I like being stuck in the middle :)

Nana said...

I love what you wrote! You have wonderful perspective! Now go and be weird with Leah and keep smiling. It's makes everyone wonder what you've been up to!!!