An ode to the middle child

As our spirited Arley Bob contemplates his first brave steps in the school yard this morning – it has me thinking about all the other ‘middle’ children out there taking this giant leap alongside him.


If those children are anything like our Arley – they, more than anyone – deserve to be celebrated today.


Because if we’re brutally honest, it doesn’t happen very often.


From what I’ve learned in eight years of parenting our three boys and through sharing the privileged journey with many beautiful friends, the middle child syndrome is a real and living thing.


Middle children (I’m looking at you Arley boy) often feel as though they have nothing special that is just ‘theirs’ to cherish. They fit right where their birth order consigns them and at times can feel invisible and left out.


Older children typically get the glory of all of the ‘firsts’ a child accomplishes (hello Dhara). And younger children – well they clearly benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family (you know it Geddy).


By the time our ‘middlies’ lose their first tooth, run their first race or play their first game of footy, the shine has already been buffed back a layer or two courtesy of their older siblings.


And when they’re not being left behind by sibling #1, or harassed by #3, they’re sandwiched right in the middle.


They’re never old enough to hang with the big kids, and they’re called out for acting like babies.


If they’re anything like our ‘middlie’, who at the grand old age of 20 months was kicked out of his cot by his baby brother, they were asked to grow up when they were but babes themselves.


And as little Arley well knows, the middle child syndrome is particularly heavy-handed in same-gender sibling families like ours. Generally speaking, when middle children are of a different gender, they’re treated almost like a firstborn, because they have different characteristics and are involved in many activities that will be ‘firsts’ for a family.


Not so for us.


In just five short years of life, Arley has learned to live in the shadows of a big and little brother whom he adores with every inch of his enormous heart – and he’s totally cool with it.


This joyful, energetic, dogged, loyal, affectionate, bat-shit crazy little boy has already learned that life is not all about him.


But here’s the thing Arley Bob – today, as you morph into a school boy, it is.


You’re more special and unique than you could possibly imagine – and don’t you forget it.


Fly high darling middle child – today and for all the days to come.


xx Lee.